In 1966 Victor and Wendy Pasmore discovered a derelict farmhouse on the picturesque island of Malta and following extensive renovations they made it home for the rest of their lives. This move coincided with a major shift in Victor Pasmore’s working process as he once again turned to painting, abandoning the relief constructions of the previous decade.
The influence of Malta’s landscape and Pasmore’s change of environment on this new phase of work has been much discussed and certainly something that the artist himself initially refuted, however, he did comment that, 'what perhaps is relevant to my new paintings in Malta is that the close and constant proximity of the ancient, mythological and Neolithic past has reinforced my orientation from the physics of art to its biological and psychological content' (J. Reichardt, Pasmore in Malta: Some Questions Posed by Jasia Reichardt, Art International, 20 March 1972, pp. 50-53).
It was this “psychological content” that Pasmore increasingly looked to explore as he took the pure abstraction from his constructions and developed symbols and metaphors as part of this abstraction.
The present work was painted in 1986 and exhibited in Pasmore’s show at the Marlborough Gallery of the same year. In the exhibition catalogue he explains how he had explored this form of symbolism within these new paintings.
'Throughout its history the imagery of painting has been derived from 'what it is not’. Namely the objects and effects of the visual world. Only during the process of painting and representing these objects has the pictorial image become something else; that is to say 'what it actually is’, an independent thing with it own image. But now, in our century, the reverse condition has evolved by which we can start with 'what the painting is’ and finish as something else – a symbol of 'what it is not’, a thing of the spirit' (V. Pasmore, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Victor Pasmore, London, Marlborough Fine Art, February - March 1986).