Victor Pasmore, Spiral Motif in Green, Violet, Blue and Gold: The Coast of the Inland Sea, 1950, oil on canvas, Tate. Purchased 1953 © Tate
In the late 1940s British artist Victor Pasmore (1908–1998), then one of Britain’s leading figurative painters, reinvented himself as one of the foremost exponents of abstract art. This major exhibition focuses for the first time on this radical change of direction in the artist’s career, later described by art historian Herbert Read as ‘the most revolutionary event in post-war British art’. Through 50 works the exhibition explores the progression of Pasmore’s work between the 1930s and mid-1960s, and his experimentation towards a new pictorial language and representation of reality.
Quickly established in the late 1930s and early 1940s as a painter of lyrical landscapes, figures and still-life studies, and working under the private patronage of Kenneth Clark, then Director of the National Gallery, Pasmore was devoted to his art and teaching at the Euston Road School. From the artist’s own writings and those of his contemporaries and critics a fascinating picture emerges of the years from the late 1940s to the early 1950s when landscapes incorporating increasingly suggestive formal structures led to his first fully abstract paintings and thereafter to a series of authoritative collages, spiral paintings, and constructed reliefs made from pre-formed industrial materials.
Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality is curated by independent curator Anne Goodchild with Neil Walker, Head of Visual Arts Programming at Djanogly Gallery. The exhibition tours from the Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham and is a partnership project between the Djanogly Gallery and Pallant House Gallery.
An illustrated book published by Lund Humphries in association with the Djanogly Gallery accompanies the exhibition, including essays by Anne Goodchild, Alastair Grieve and Elena Crippa.