Paul Nash Surrealism

September 13, 2015
Printed after the original oil
Paul NashPart Blake, component Tolkien, all England ... Landscape for the Vernal Equinox (1943) by Paul Nash. Photograph: Royal Range

The spirits of British poets and ­Romantic painters flit like moonbeams through fairy woodlands in this completely ­disarming exhibition. Paul Nash ­(1889-1946) painted the battlefields of both 20th-century world wars, and ­combined the ideas of this ­surrealist activity with a native experience for ­landscape. A great deal for the basic details: Dulwich ­champions him with a passion that warms the heart.

The curator's clever choice is to show Nash's paintings outside chronology, which frees us from a prosaic trawl and enthusiastically attracts awareness of their strengths. Straight away, you are in a distinctive, coated globe this is certainly component William Blake, component JRR Tolkien and all The united kingdomt. Red suns increase over chalk hills, grey breakers hit seaside defences. The landscapes of Kent keep recurring, and unfamiliar views of London and, like a bass note increase to a ­sinister orgasm, the mudscapes of this very first world war as well as the skeletal remains of ­Luftwaffe airplanes shot down in Battle of Britain.

Surrealism ended up being usually the one avant-garde action of early 20th century to which Uk designers took naturally. Its contemporary freedoms permitted Nash to paint their dreams, and mix-up homely landscapes with personal misconception in a way similar to Dalì's ­mythologising of Catalonia.

However even if Nash takes ­surrealist photographs, his ­sensibility is as ­knotted as an English oak. Most importantly, their visions allow you to think about the ­nestled English village scenes painted by Blake's 19th-century ­disciple ­Samuel Palmer. It's a cliche that ­British ­Romantic art ended up being constantly based on meticulous ­observation: it had been pure internal revelation for Blake, for Palmer – as well as for Nash.

In the last space, the root note of war gets louder while you face Totes Meer (1940-41), a "dead sea" of German plane whose wings crash like metal waves regarding the English countryside. It really is like they have been consumed to the timeless downland to become a new fairytale inside work of art, whose compassion for the adversary, given its day, is remarkable and impressive.

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