Paul Nash Exhibition at Tate Art Gallery

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The Menin Road 1918-1919

This was the best picture I could get taken from my guide book. This was prominently displayed in the exhibition being one of his best known WW1 paintings. A very big painting and naturally surrounded by people, so no chance I could photograph the real thing, and nor should I.

This painting was commissioned by the Ministry of Information, and was destined for inclusion in a Hall of Remembrance, which was never built. Today it is part of the Imperial War Museum’s collection

His style is starting to alter. He has become fascinated by geometric shapes, which will take him down the road to cubism and abstraction

However, to start at the beginning, we drove into London yesterday in the driving rain. Fortunately you can still park just outside the Tate which was useful considering the weather

The first section dealt with his early work and his comparatively comfortable existence in Iver Heath, where he paints in the garden and starts to show his predilection for landscape, which was to govern his painting throughout his life.

WW1 transformed him and his painting. He described himself as a messenger bringing back word from the men fighting to those who wanted the war to continue. This time a ravaged landscape witnessing a violent emotional experience. The Menin Road which I have shown is the best example of this in my opinion

After the war, places took on an importance for him. He lived at one time in Dymchurch on the Sussex coast, where he painted the sea defences again demonstrating his interest in geometric shapes and becoming ever more cubist. He was also influenced by de Chirico, after visiting an exhibition in 1928, and his paintings started to show lonely places and tell mysterious narratives through isolated objects.

He also at this time became interested in interiors and in still life. These paintings again showed him exploring cubist ideas, with their dependence on geometric shapes. A painting called “Dead Spring” painted in 1929 best illustrates this and I am sorry that I don’t have a copy of this one

He went on to explore the life of the inanimate object, conveying on them human personages. Working closely with fellow artist Eileen Agar, on the Dorset coast, they both used found objects in their work,  both in paintings and in collage.

He became closely involved with Surrealists, and produced work like “Landscape from a Dream” which I can showdscf3496

Some of this was cropped to get it into the frame, but here on the Dorset coast, the hawk is looking at itself in the mirror and also watching itself flying

Then came WW2, and Nash was made an official war artist. He was equally terrified of and fascinated by bombers.He talked about the “sky was upon us all like a huge hawk hovering, threatening”. He was inspired by the imagery of crashed German bombers in the landscape, like sculpture, and also at the Cowley Dump where these parts were brought. He drew upon his surrealist ideas when he painted Totes Meer or Dead Sea, where the twisted mass of crashed planes metamorphosed into waves of a metal sea.

This painting I can show and it is probably the one we all think of,when we think of Paul Nashtotes-meer

By now his health is suffering. He returns to landscape painting. In 1946 he succumbs to pneumonia and heart strain, and can no longer stand at his easel. Severely depressed he dies at Boscombe near Bournemouth at the age of 57. He is buried at Langley Marsh

 

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Paul Nash and the Turner Prize Finalists

Hoping to go to the Tate Britain Art gallery tomorrow, weather and circumstances permitting to see amongst other things , the Paul Nash exhibition

Paul Nash, known as a war artist covering both world wars, not as a documentary reporter, but with his own surrealist style, was also a superb landscape artist in his own right

In fact an artist of many facets

I shall look forward to writing about him and his work when i have learned more myself

Art and Empire: Following on from my post in February

Moslem Burial Ground

The Muslim Burial Ground near Woking built by the War Office in 1917 and restored beautifully in 2014 in time for the Centenary

If you read my post in February about the exhibition at the Tate Art Gallery, London, entitled Art and Empire, much of which had to do with India including the contribution of the Indian Army during World War 1, then you will remember that I finished with the story of the Muslim Burial Ground where Muslim soldiers who died of wounds in local hospitals, were interred.

There were 28 service personnel buried there from both world wars. Their remains were moved to the Brookwood War Graves in 1968, since when, the area within the walls was left barren. With the restoration, this area has now been turned into a Garden Of Remembrance, and includes a stone tablet with the names of the 28 fallen, inscribed on it.

Finally I have been again to look at it, and have taken some pictures so that I can conclude this post. It really is a very tranquil and, I think, sacred place

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The new plaque by the main entrance of the Muslim War Cemetery-Peace Garden. Let us hope the sentiment comes true

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This is the tablet commemorating the 28 service personnel who lost their lives in both world wars. You will need your zoom to read the names, I am afraid. This was as close as I could get

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Looking back towards the main gate, with the pool, landscaping and new trees. The water is being pumped round continuously, giving that delightful trickling sound. Certainly a place for meditation, and perhaps a prayer for peace. Not easy when there is an atrocity every day

I am still working on the painting of Shere Village and Church, which I would hope to finish within the next week or so