Galleries - September 2014

Epstein and Gaudier-Breszka than Moore and Hepworth. Often comparatively small in scale it nonetheless exudes a monumental sense of humanist calm and reconciliation through often the most troubled of times. Very different sensibilities are apparent in two mixed shows at Austin/Desmond and Whitford ; the former, 'A Fine Line', looking at the work of 28European and British artists working in the post- war period in Constructivist, Minimalist and Concrete spheres, the latter 'Pop and Abstraction', exploring the explosion of artistic creativity in the post-war London scene. Concrete and Constructivist art had a strong if often under-appreciated following in the UK and artists like Anthony Hill, Malcolm Hughes, Kenneth Martin and Gillian Wise stand up well to their European counterparts such as Max Bill, Henry Stazewski and Victor Vasarely. At Whitford meanwhile the likes of Caro, Paolozzi, Clive Barker, Gerald Laing and Peter Sedgley go off at all sorts of vivid, exploratory tangents. Next, a reminder that if you are in St Ives for the Festival (see page 11) do go and look round the Sandra Blow RA studio spaces. An increasingly important figure in post-war British art, paintings and prints by her are also at The Exchange, Penzance, presented by Jonathan Grimble/Sandra Blow Estate , until October 4. Langdon Coburn I wonder? (see page 32) Meanwhile down in Bristol at the Royal West of England Academy , distinguished painter and academic Paul Gough has curated two beautifully conceived exhibitions on war themes. The first, 'Brothers in Art' which reunites (for the first time?) the work of John and Paul Nash as Official War Artists in both wars and as landscape artists in peacetime; the second, 'Shock and Awe: Contemporary Artists at War and Peace', which looks at the work of contemporary artists recently exposed to war on the front line in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. With 40 major pieces from public sources the Nash brothers show is profoundly touching, the work of the still woefully underrated John a revelation while 'Shock and Awe', with Tim Shaw and Paul Gough himself among the company, a fine platform for the artists' profound acts of remembrance. Back in London again, pride of place perhaps goes to Redfern 's comprehensive reappraisal of the seriously undervalued post-war Modernist stonecarver George Kennethson. With a substantial essay by Richard Cork, Kennethson emerges as a very distinct figure. Born in 1910 his sensibility is defined by the Great War (he became a pacifist in the Second) to the extent that he wanted his art “to communicate life”, and it is shaped more by 12 GALLERIES SEPTEMBER 2014 The combination of the 20/21 British Art Fair (see p 40) and the First World War anniversary has brought about an exceptional crop of exhibitions, both in London and beyond, exploring the still often revelatory richness and sheer quality of much 20th C. British art. For example Osborne Samuel 's museum quality survey of CRW Nevinson's prints, which has been timed to coincide not only with the commemoration of the beginning of a war whose newly mechanised horrors he did so much to bring home visually to the British public, but also with the publication of Dr Jonathan Black's complete catalogue raisonné of them (Lund Humphries). Nevinson was a prolific printmaker – some 148 prints, etchings, drypoints, mezzotints and lithographs between 1916 and 1948– and this illuminating show includes the majority of them – many for sale but the rarer ones borrowed from private collections. If the eye-catchers are those from the Great War that so shaped his early career – “some of the most poignant images of war in printmaking history” as Gordon Samuel observes – his visit to New York in 1919 for his hugely successful show there provided a powerful stimulus to his perhaps now less familiar post-war output, in particular his often dizzily vertiginous New York citscapes. Did he meet/know the work of Max Weber and Alvin WAR MINIMALISM, POP Nicholas Usherwood on Modern British