Sunday, April 09, 2017

Three threads (part 2)

Victor Pasmore: The Quiet River:The Thames at Chiswick (image from here)
Before the actual visit, the first of the three exhibitions at Pallant House which drew my interest was the Victor Pasmore, especially as it focuses particularly on his development into abstraction.  I first encountered The Quiet River in the Tate gallery in 1968, and bought a postcard which I have still.  It had a profound effect on me, both emotional and intellectual.  I enjoyed..., enjoy that abstracting of elements within sight, such as is also seen in The Gardens of Hammersmith 2 (below, image from here).
I also enjoy his much later wholly abstract work, which I have always believed was a progression from the kind of works pictured above.  Despite Pasmore's claim that his abstract work is purely abstract and not an abstraction of something, I still find visual connections.
Quiet is the Island (not in the exhibition; image from here)
Development in Green and Indigo 2 (image from here)
The exception is in his three dimensional work, the sculptural pieces with wood and Perspex - which excite interest but not pleasure for me. 
Abstract in White, Black, Brown, and Lilac (image from here - where there is a review of the exhibition)
Those I do see as a kind of intellectual exercise in composition, placement, shape, shadow, form, etc. - which could be said of the work like the two pieces pictured here immediately above the abstract if they were seen without any knowledge of the earlier paintings, I suppose.  But with that knowledge, that acquaintance informs and engages a more personal relationship, I find.
The time I spent scrutinising and pondering Pasmore's approach to his abstract pieces had led me to see them increasingly reaching for a kind of graphic purity - distancing them from emotion.
I found it a fascinating, thought-provoking exhibition, but I found myself needing to revisit The Quiet Thames before I left, and immediately on exiting the temporary exhibition space into part of the permanent collection was drawn by the emotional pull of a huge Michael Andrews painting - coincidentally also of the Thames.
Michael Andrews: Thames Painting, The Estuary (image from here, the recent exhibition at the Gagosian gallery in London from which it had just that day been returned and rehung)


  1. The Thames at Chiswick is a stunning piece of work and one I have not seen before. The Michael Andrews exhibition was on my list of things to see when we last were in London but we did too much and failed to get to the Gagosian: it's one of those regrets that will stay with me for a while. Overall, a great exhibition and no wonder you enjoyed it, Olga.

    1. The Quiet River is well worth seeking out next time you are at Tate Britain - once it goes back home. I too would have like to see the Michael Andrews exhibition at the Gagosian, and was delighted when I saw that there is a catalogue - and then I saw the price! I shall content myself with the great painting I saw in Chichester. Luckily I have seen a few of his paintings for real over the years.
      The number of goodies at the Pallant was indeed most enjoyable.