Saw this today and …wow! Just wow!
The past couple of weeks has seen a growing interest in Paul Nash’s work on my part. I was delighted to discover today that Tate Britain will be holding an extensive retrospective of his work late next year.
I’ve just finished a really good exploration of both Nash brothers by Paul Gough: Brothers in Arms John and Paul Nash and the aftermath of the Great War. My interest in Nash stems from his World War I works, but I have been looking at this work from World War II:
Nash was asthmatic and suffered with his health following WWI, but this did not stop him from wishing to play his part in the second conflict of his lifetime and he was appointed to the Air Ministry.
Living in Oxford, Nash spent a lot of time exploring the surrounding areas and he came across a military dump of wrecked enemy aircraft. In the Gough book, he quoted at length what Nash said about this sight, and Nash’s words are just as moving as the painting itself:
“The thing looked to me suddenly, like a great inundating sea. You might feel – under certain influences – a moonlight night for instance – this is a vast tide moving across the fields, the breakers rearing up and crashing on the plain. And then, no: nothing moves, it is not water or even ice, it is something static and dead. It is metal piled up, wreckage. It is hundreds and hundreds of flying creatures which invaded these shores. By moonlight, this waning moon, one could swear they began to move and twist and turn as they did in the air. A sort of rigor mortis? No, they are quite dead and still. The only moving creature is the white owl flying low over the bodies of the other predatory creatures, raking the shadows for rats and voles.”The paleness of this painting is haunting and quite beautiful, despite the subject matter.
This Tate Shot gives more detail on a stunning piece of work.
In addition to the exhibitions, I’m also looking to visit smaller galleries in search of a certain number of artists I am interested in: Christopher Nevinson, David Bomberg, Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer.Leamington Spa Gallery was my first attempt – they have a Spencer and a Nevinson in their collection. It would be easy to call them to find out if they are on display, but that takes the fun out of this odyssey. So, on the way back from Bedford, I stopped off at the Royal Pump Rooms.
STRIKE 1-no Nevinson or Spencer, which was a shame…
but there was a lovely Vanessa Bell called ‘A Venetian Window’ from 1926:
This was sumptuous in terms of colouring but it was hidden away a little. The card said “her paintings tend to be beautifully composed and often contemplative” and I think this is a perfect example of that. There is something about a window that gives so many artists the opportunity to reveal a perect world and this is no exception.
STRIKE 2: New Walk Art Gallery, Leicester.
Decided to contact this gallery prior to a visit I have planned for next week. There are two Nevinsons in their collection, Oxford on the Cherwell and One Summer’s Day:
Alas, They are not on display either, so today was a make or break situation in Coventry.
Herbert Museum and Art Gallery has a number of paintings that I would love to see, so would today be more successful…?
One room-and several moments of smiles, sighs and ‘yes!’ moments. Amongst others, there was a lovely Nevinson, a fabulous Nash, a melancholic Lowry and the most gorgeous Bomberg that will get its own post shortly!
The joy of going along with uncertainty of whether or not I will see a certain work of art outweighs the disappointment of the work not being out. Think the next few weeks will be a lot of fun -will she, won’t she?
Took a trip down the M5 to Bristol and spent an enjoyable time at this exhibition. As I have nothing better to do with my time, I wrote about some of the more interesting pieces.
Oh yes, and if anyone is in the Bristol area – visit the Bear Pit for some fantastic Mexican street food at Bearitos!