Sir Terry Frost was a British artist whose vibrant geometric abstractions engage with the ways in which human vision perceives colors and shapes. Following his encounter with painter Adrian Heath at a prison camp during World War II, he studied at the Camberwell School of Art with artists such as Ben Nicholson and William Coldstream, soon establishing himself as a central figure among British abstract painters.
Sun Up is a particularly significant work within Frost’s larger oeuvre, as it conveys the theme of the sun that Frost repeatedly revisited within his paintings over the years. In the painting, however, he is concerned specifically with the phenomenon of “black sun”–the paradoxical perception of darkness that is caused when looking directly into its blinding brightness. As such, the painting is composed with a simple color palette of yellow and black, centered around a black circle that is surrounded by a deeper shade of yellow emanating from it. Rather than render it realistically into the image of a sun, however, Frost creates an impression of the experience of looking into it, prompting the human mind to conjure up associations of images.