This exhibition provides an overview of the fascinating work Nicholson produced during his life, showing how he assimilated and combined a variety of elements, including traditional English art, avant-garde movements from continental Europe and English naive art, to create his own original style of painting.
Although Nicholson focused on landscape and still life, his paintings were not intended to reproduce nature literally. He used delicate color and seductive line to create semi-abstract forms or purely geometric forms that express the hidden essence of the landscape or still-life subject. Nicholson went beyond the influence of his father, the well-known painter, William Nicholson, and developed an idiom that was influenced by Picasso and Braque's Cubism, Mondrian's Neo-Plasticism and his discovery of the naive but forceful painting of the fisherman, Alfred Wallis.
With his wife, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and the others, he jointly formed Unit One to promote abstract art in England, and this association had an important effect on the direction of his painting. The reliefs that he made before and after the Second War were particularly significant in determining the character of his work, and they represent a peak in the development of abstract art, and achievement that must be considered in any discussion of twentieth-century painting. All of Nicholson's works, with their limpid color and captivating line, moving back and forth between semi-representational and abstract art, leave a strong impression on the viewer. This exhibition is a selection of major works from each period of his life, presenting the fluctuations and high points of his career from the beginning to the later years. Including approximately ninety works from collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan as sell as Nicholson's native Britain.
A bi-lingual (English/Japanese) catalogue, with an essay by Jeremy Lewison, was published to accompany the show. No ISBN number.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.