Saturday, 21 January 2017

Paul Nash at Tate Britain

Having read reviews of this exhibition in October last year, I was determined not to miss it. The exhibition takes up about 9 rooms in Tate Britain and is wonderfully laid out with plentiful notes in each room.
The first room is taken up with Nash's wonderfully observed Downland landscapes, his use of watercolours and ink to depict trees is delightful. This early work is in great contrast to his paintings during and after the First World war when trees become roughly broken and landscapes torn apart. He stayed in Marlborough on holiday in the 1930s, and visited Avebury, becoming fascinated by the stones which were featured in several of his paintings.
A long term asthma sufferer, he died aged 57 in 1946, at the end of the Second World War.
It wasn't possible to take photos in the exhibition, but here are a few assorted things I photographed:
 I was fascinated by the newly pruned trees outside Tate Britain seen above, I then photographed the banners outside, advertising the exhibitions, but they can't be read, so I won't include them!
After going round the Nash exhibition, we looked at the arresting Antony Gormley sculptures in lead and plaster, entitled 'Three Ways: Mould, Hole and Passage 1981-2. They are among the first where he used his own body to create the sculptures. Described here:

 From there we walked around the chronologically arranged permanent collection, and I photographed some things which gave especial pleasure:
 Above George Stubbs 'Mares and Foals in a River Landscape' 1763-8 is gorgeous.
This painting below is 'St. Eulalia' by Jaohn William Waterhouse, quite strikingly unusual.St Eulalia was martyred in 304AD for refusing to make sacrifices to the Roman gods, she was only 12 years old when she was killed by horrific means. The painting was first exhibited in 1885.
I also love the romanticism in The Lady of Shallot' also by Waterhouse
 At the end of the room where the Waterhouses are displayed is the wonderful Eric Gill sculpture 'Ecstasy' executed in 1910. Gill apparently did not exhibit this work, but sold it in 1912 to Edward Warren who already owned a version of Rodin's 'The Kiss'
 Finally I was attracted to this Stanley Spencer painting of The Woolshop
 It was painted on a visit to Stonehouse.
The Paul Nash exhibition runs until 5 March and the David Hockney exhibition opens on 9 February.

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