Went to the Tate Britain last Saturday with the Diploma group from Oxford and had a great study day. For information for those that think the Tate is a long way from the transport network try Pimlico on the Victoria Line and a short walk to the new entrance. We spent the day looking at British Art between the Wars including paintings by David Bomberg, Stanley Spencer, Adrian Wallis, Francis Bacon, Ben Nicholson and others and sculpture by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Epstein. There was too much to report on for this post but one picture took everyone’s eye.
Green Tree Form: Interior of Woods (1940) by Graham Sutherland was inspired by a tree fallen across a grassy bank with its roots exposed. The resulting surreal part figurative part abstract was mesmerising for the spectator in front of it. Is it a sea monster? is it a distorted humanoid figure? The stuff of nightmares. Writing about his process, Sutherland stated, ‘The prototype in nature has got to be seen through the terms of art. A metamorphosis has got to take place.’ There were more Graham Sutherland paintings to be seen at the Tate and all over the UK. He painted surreal landscapes, underground mining views and some very special war paintings, as well as famously the 80th Birthday portrait of Winston Churchill.
Not many feet away from the Sutherland is Pelagos (1946) which I could not resist reporting on , being a ‘new’ fan of Barbara Hepworth.
This single piece of work encapsulates all that represents Hepworth; the carved natural material, the interior space, the taut strings. Although clearly abstract the work is inspired by the two sides of St Ives Bay and the tension between Hepworth and the sea.
Cannot wait to go to Tate Britain again