Douglas Portway (1922-1993)

Artwork by Douglas Portway

Portrait with Birds (SOLD)


Mixed Media, 1979


63 x 45 cm
Abstract with Green T (SOLD)


Mixed Media on Paper,1968


53cm x 33cm

Born Douglas Owen Portway, 22 September 1922 in Johannesburg
Died 1993, UK

Dr. J.P. Hodin, art historian and critic, and author of Portway’s biography, commented: Portway’s style cannot be defined on the whole as exclusively Abstract Expressionism, for this term always includes the notion of aggression and dynamism, but rather as abstract poeticism, the poetic approach being the primary approach to the comprehension of the miracle of Being.Its source is inspiration not reasoning, 
its method is condensation not representation, its goal is the essence not the variable, that is to say absolute beauty.

Philosophically influenced by Zen Buddhism, Portway wrote:
For me, abstract art is not a break with art – it is merely a continuation of the best aspects of art in a condensed, concentrated form. In consciousness all things which exist do so in an inevitable juxta-position with their opposites. It is consciousness itself which separates – with consciousness there is no separation. Separation is tension. In a situation of equal tension the opposites may exist in a condition of equilibrium.

He concludes that a work of art should attempt to reconcile these opposites: A striving towards a ‘Completeness’ by the fusion of opposites – male and female, life and death, intuition and reason (the circle and the square).

A similarly styled work, titled ‘White Screen’ (1970-1), is in the Tate Collection.