Harold Barling Town 1924 - 1990
- Harold Barling Town
- Stretch #1
- signed and dated '68 lower right; signed and dated '68 and '69 on the reverse
- oil on canvas
Town began the paintings known as the Stretch series in the late 1960s and they ran into the early 1970s, for some five years or more. Like many ideas that Town explored, this was a simple one that his imagination was able to twist, turn, alter, expand, shrink, explode, and present in myriad different and compelling ways.
The origin of the shape in Town's work is obscure, but he had from the earliest days been fascinated by pendant shapes, like a sword of Damocles in a threatening mood, or simply a heavy form suspended by a thin stem or string. The form shows up in very early etchings (Love Under a Pear Tree) and in the paintings of the 1950s; it is quite evident in the colossal 1958 mural (10 by 37 feet – 3.05 by 11.29 metres) he painted for the Robert Saunders Hydro Plant at Cornwall, which inaugurated the St. Lawrence Seaway.
This particular painting shows a startling variation on the theme, and one that also used a colour (yellow) that Town particularly favoured for some of the best works in this series. The elegance and clarity of the image has both enduring qualities, but at the same time it speaks eloquently of its time.