Monday, 2 January 2017

Paul Nash at Tate Britain

This is a major retrospective of Nash's work covering early to late pieces; war to surrealism to the English countryside. Whilst, yes, there are some stunning and groundbreaking, if you will pardon the pun, paintings of the First World War, and some of the stylised trees and landscapes are particularly appealing, I left underwhelmed.

The war subjects apart, I think this is a question of originality. Nash was trying too hard and unsuccesfully, mid-career, to be a surrealist. It is also one of colour palette. There was just too much brown, grey, and sludgy green in this period of work. I like subtle. I like Fallow and Ball. But, I'd rather see paintings with more technicolour. The dreariness started to make me feel depressed and it was already a doldrum day at the slow turning of the year.

His poems are not up to much either, I'm afraid, and I quickly gave up bothering to read them, nicely calligraphied though they were.

Also, and this is not the first time I have noticed this, could someone in the Tate's maintenance department please oil the squeaky door that sounds like a spitfire going overhead every time it is opened?

Go if you are a fan, perhaps not otherwise. Disappointing.

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