This optimistic image, with its unmistakable emblem of spring in the yellow ochre flower, is typical of Hilton’s unquenchable spirit. Rose Hilton, his second wife, told a story of having to prevent Roger from going out into the freezing garden in the last weeks of his life in order to see the new spring flowers breaking through. The rest of the image is built around a pair of active pointed forms, a little like prongs or legs, which had been part of Hilton’s lexicon of shapes at least since Flying Tamarisk of 1959, and probably find their origin among the sharpened wedges of the early 1950s. The painting’s dynamic is essentially organic, relating to growth and movement, earthy but liberated. Geometric shapes, such as oval and rectangle, are modified and re-directed into a dialogue of containment and openness, very like the unstoppable drive of nature. As Hilton wrote: ‘Abstraction in itself is nothing. It is only a step towards a new sort of figuration … one which is more true.’
We are very grateful to Andrew Lambirth for preparing this catalogue entry.