“What I have done is not the process of abstraction from nature but a method of constructing from within.”

Victor Pasmore, 1908 – 1998
Projective image in White, Black and Umber, 1970, projective painting, paint on wood, 82 x 82cm (with frame), 40.5 x 40.5 x 13cm (without frame).

“Did not the naturalist tradition use perspective in order to produce an illusion of space and solidity? This suggested that the surface format of painting could not provide the conditions necessary for complete independence unless combined with sculpture or architecture. In response to this, therefore, I continued with development or relief projection.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Transformation of Naturalist Art and The Independence of Painting’, Constructions and Graphics: 1926-1979, 1980.

“I just had a plywood board. I had it in the Academy this year… The Bird, the harmony of opposites. Something that will kill the bird. It’s a threat. The bird will never escape.”

Cathy Courtney, ‘Artists’ Books: Victor Pasmore Talks’, Art Monthly, n.191, November 1995.
The Fall of Icarus, 1992—1995, signed, oil, spray paint and pencil on board, 305 x 137cm (with frame), 240 x 112cm (without frame).
The Eye and the Symbol, 1990, signed, oil and gravure on board, 81.5 x 81.5cm.

“Once independent, a painting becomes the sole visual object so that its content becomes totally immanent in its form and image, a condition which renders its meaning essentially potential. Emerging in anonymity, therefore, the new painting can become a sign or symbol of infinite extension, directly finding its place in the eye and mind of the spectator.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘Images of Colour’, 1983.

“Abstract work will be unable to find its most powerful form in the surface-bound medium of painting alone. Because of its inherent nature, abstract painting cannot revert to conceptual illusionism. Consequently it is confined to a two-dimensional format. The abstract painter therefore, inevitably finds his path of development blocked. But the cause of this blockage is not the idea of abstraction itself, but the physical limitation of pictorial material.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘What is Abstract Art?’, The Sunday Times, 5 February 1961.
Green and Indigo, 1969, oil on curved board, tape, 122 x 51cm.
Untitled, No date, signed, spray paint on plywood, 105.5 x 105.5cm.

“Colour expresses something in itself. To start with one’s palette is quite different from following nature mechanically.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘What is Abstract Art?’, The Sunday Times, 5 February 1961.

“In the past, religious painting provided a link between sensibility and the mystery of God, but now the link is with Nature.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Artist’s Eye’, 1990.
Two Faces of the Turning World, 1990, signed, charcoal on canvas, plywood on panel, 137 x 200cm (with frame), 125 x 187cm (without frame).
The Morning Star. The Birth of Psyche: Blue Symphony, 1982, signed, paint on canvas, 124 x 236cm (with frame), 106 x 218cm (without frame).

“In contrast to the measurable world of the Renaissance and classical science, the modern world presents a process of opposing forces, evolutionary developments and ambiguous relationships. Attempts to rationalise this in philosophy have been echoed in the abstract, conceptual and ambiguous imagery of modern art.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Artist’s Eye’, 1990.

“The artist makes a concrete object and gives it individuality. He creates a harmony parallel to that of nature and develops it according to a new and original logic.”


Victor Pasmore, The Sunday Times (UK), 5 February 1961.
A Harmony of Opposing Forces, 1962, signed, projective painting, oil on wood and hardboard, 155 x 155 x 21cm.
Linear Symmetry in Five Movements, 1969—1977, signed, oil on panel, tape, 154 x 154cm.

“I have tried to compose as music is composed, with formal elements which, in themselves, have no descriptive qualities at all.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Artist Speaks’, Art News and Review 2, 24 February 1951.

“Fragmentation enabled the painter to symbolise the relativity of perception as well as the new multi-dimensional concept of space, but it did so at the expense of the objects represented… abstract art demanded the complete autonomy of painting as an independent object analogous to music.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Artist’s Eye’, 1990.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1974—1975, signed, spray paint on hardboard, 40.5 x 245cm.
Linear Symphony No.3, 1972—1978, signed, relief, paint and gravure on board, 122 x 122cm.

“If we take a sheet of paper and scribble on it vigorously we become involved in the process of bringing into being something concrete and visible which was not there before… What mattered initially was not what our scribble would represent, but what it might become.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Space Within’, 1969.

“A change in attitude to a given content can alter its image as radically as a change in the content itself. It was inevitable, therefore, that the implications of modern scientific development would affect the imagery of naturalist art as drastically as they altered the concepts of natural philosophy.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Transformation of Naturalist and Humanist Art and The Independence of Painting’, 1977.
Linear Symphony in Four Movements No.1, 1963—1973, signed, paint, charcoal, gravure on board, 51.5 x 141cm.
Space, Life and Time, 1991, oil and spray paint on canvas, 180.3 x 187.6cm. 

“What I have done is not the process of abstraction from nature but a method of constructing from within.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Artist Speaks’, BBC, aired on 15 August 1950.

“Only during the process of painting and representing objects of the visual world has the pictorial image become something else; that is to say, ‘what it actually is,’ an independent thing with its own image. But now, in our century, the reverse condition has evolved by which we can start with ‘what the painting is’ and finish with something else – a symbol of ‘what it is not,’ a thing of the spirit.”

Victor Pasmore, ‘The Ambiguous Art’, 1986.
Untitled (from the Blue Symphony series) (detail), 1982—1986, paint on board, 122 x 183cm.