Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979), Winter Stage, 1936, oil on canvas, 59.1 x 155.6 cm, Tate.
The eye is broadened and deepened by gazing on a silence like this. In Welsh there are two words for silence, ‘distawrwydd’ for neutral silence and ‘gosteg’ for the silence in which something is about to happen. It is this latter silence – conditional, expectant, open silence – that we see on display here. The stage seems to move as our eyes glide over it. The harmony of muted colours allows the various interiors and exteriors to shift in and out of each other. But the sense of possibility makes it a painting in four dimensions. DH