Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Twentieth Century British Art, 1962, no.74;
London, Serpentine Gallery, Recalling the Fifties: British Painting & Sculpture 1950-1960, 1985 (catalogue untraced);
London, Osborne Samuel, Nine Abstract Artists Revisited, March – April 2005, no.14, illustrated in colour in the exhibition catalogue.
During 1955 and into 1956, Heath’s paintings began to gradually move away from the more geometrically-based systems that had underpinned his earlier work, and we can see them taking on a more organic structure. Complicated networks of curving lines, usually in a single colour (in the present painting it is a vibrant oxygenated blood red) separate areas of richly surfaced colour, somewhat akin to the leading in stained-glass windows, and they frequently exhibit a sense of spiral movement around a single central point. Whilst the spiral was a form that had been important to the constructivist movement of the early 1950s, derived in many cases from the natural observations of the zoologist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, whose 1917 book, On Growth and Form, was a key text for Heath and his circle, in these paintings Heath appears to be more concerned with the dynamic qualities of these vortex-like forms that their theoretical possibilities. This more instinctive and perhaps less pre-meditated approach to his art might well be linked to his period of teaching at Corsham Court where he had begun to work part-time in 1956. The home of the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham had been a base for many of the artists associated with St.Ives, including Frost, Scott, and Wynter, and Heath’s period there overlapped with that of Peter Lanyon. Whilst it is a matter of speculation to try to establish exactly from where these new elements in his painting derived, it is tempting to see his increasing contact with the painterly influence of St.Ives as perhaps partly responsible.
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