Leon Underwood: Figure and RhythmLeon Underwood: Figure and Rhythm

Rhythm and Materials

In 1932 Leon Underwood curated the ground-breaking exhibition 'Sculpture Considered Apart from Time and Place' at the Sydney Burney Gallery in London. It presented the work of modern artists including Moore, Hepworth, Gertrude Hermes, John Skeaping, Amedeo Modigliani, Edgar Degas, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Underwood alongside dancing Shivas from India, masks from Africa, Aztec figures, Gothic Madonnas and Buddhas from China. Underwood sought to express what he called 'sculptural consciousness' linking all periods. He wrote of the 'rhythm of materials' and his belief that a sculptor should work with materials that could express either static of dynamic qualities. He produced a number of bronzes on themes of music and dance asserting that 'the nature of metal - a fluid in the veins of the earth - demands a more dynamic disposition in space'.

Underwood's Brook Green School remained open until 1939, and during the 1930s he developed his increasingly expressive life drawings of the figure in movement. In the 1930s he ceased painting in oils, instead producing colour linocuts, in which the figures are often delineated with white relief lines, akin to the chased lines in his bronzes of this period.