Gillian Ayres OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) was one of the most significant abstract painters to emerge in London during the postwar period. A disciple and vanguard of the taschist style, a non-geometric abstract style that developed in postwar Europe, Ayres was inspired by abstract expressionist art in the United States and painted in a lyrical, gestural style that stood in contrast to the hard-edge forms of her contemporaries. Ayres’s career attests to her experimental spirit, as she switched from oil to acrylic paints for much of the 1960s and early 1970s—creating textured surfaces—only to later return to oil. In recent years, the artist has experimented with woodcuts, creating ebullient works evocative of Henri Matisse. Never didactic, her oeuvre illustrates an artist constantly experimenting with the possibilities of paint. “My paintings are about painting, about shape and color, not telling stories,” Ayres has said.