Galleries magazine - page 47

SarahAdams, that quite
indefatigable painter of the
Cornishcoastline, is of a
generation of artists who is
drawn to live and paint in
Cornwall. The reasons have little
to do with what we think are the
obvious ones – principally
abstraction and light – that so
preoccupied the classic
Modernist generation of Lanyon,
Heron, Frost et al.
For Adams, who came back to
Cornwall some 11 years ago, the
initial fascination was withrock
and cave formations, not as a
means to abstraction but, in an
almost Ruskinian sense, as awe
inspiring, individual visual things
in themselves. It is a fascination
that has never deserted her and
has led her into alarming physical
dangers as, making her studies
first hand, she often dices with
tides, waves and vertigo.
The artistic risk though is being
visually repetitive, but it is one she
surmounts easily enoughthrough
her artistic curiosity. The latest
pieces shown at
The Maas
Gallery
this month reveal a
growing interest in colour
alongside that of structure. These
caves hum with resonant tones –
inky, purply blues, rusty pinks,
yellowy greens – engaging the
eye and imagination and 'making'
the picture.
Nicholas Usherwood
NOVEMBER 2016 GALLERIES
47
One of the remarkable sculptors
who grew up in the wake of, and
reacted strongly to, Henry
Moore's dominance – Armitage,
Butler, Chadwick, Clarke and
Frink among them – George
Fullard has remained somewhat
apart from them too. His work
reflects some increasingly
eccentric and idiosyncratic
tendencies which never fitted the
dominating narrative that art
historians have subsequently
constructed for this period.
Thus, despite several major
shows in the 1990s, his work has
remained obstinately on the
sidelines since his early death in
1973. It will be interesting to see
therefore whether Michael Bird's
new book on him, the outcome of
extensive digging into the Fullard
archives, and the exhibition at
Gallery Pangolin
, will finally
show Fullard as one of the most
original sculptors of his time.
His art followed a fascinating
trajectory, one always shaped by
the experience of war. First it was
in the terrifying blitz of his native
Sheffield in 1940 when he was 17,
and subsequently as a severely
wounded tank officer in the desert
and, from the expressively
modelled running and walking
figures of the 1950s via the
disturbing, surrealistic
assemblages of the 1960s, to the
witty large scale reliefs on more
maritime themes that he was
pursuing at his death – violence,
terror and the human experience
are never far below the surface.
Entitled 'Beneath the surface', this
large, five-year retrospective of
Christopher P Wood's painting at
Dean Clough, Halifax, covers a
prolific period in this original
artist's 30-year career, one in
which major technical and stylistic
upheavals have often been
accompanied by quite radical
shifts in subject matter also.
Opening with the visionary
landscapes, lyrical and ecstatic in
character, that had become his
'signature' style over the previous
decade, Wood felt the
overwhelming need to open up
new paths into his imaginative
unconsciousness and, for 18
months or more, completely
abandoned oil painting for
collage. 'Raiding his plan chests'
was how he lightheartedly put the
process but, it proved a
constructive way of exploring and
re-assessing 'beneath' the public
artistic persona, the ambiguous
'surface' of the show's title.
It has also involved a very
thoroughgoing exploration of the
nature of the actual surfaces he
was employing in his practice
and, moving on from collage,
Wood also started painting on
etched zinc before finally
returning to work on canvas a
year or two back.
Here is an artist at the height of
his emotional powers, brave and
willing to change things around,
to experiment, as part of an
urgently felt need to dig deeper
into the richness of his
unconscious.
CODA
from left
G
eorge Fullard
‘Near and Far’ Gallery Pangolin
Sarah Adams ‘Labyrinth’ The Maas Gallery
Christopher P Wood ‘Landmark’ Dean Clough
C
hristopher P Wood
George Fullard
Sarah Adams
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