Graham Sutherland | An Unfinished World
The Setting Sun, 1944 (gouache and watercolour on paper), 23 cm x 28.3 cm by Sutherland, Graham (1903-80) courtesy of the British Council © Estate of Graham Sutherland
Presenting over eighty works on paper throughout the galleries at Modern Art Oxford,
the exhibition concentrates on Sutherland’s early Welsh landscapes from the 1930s,
works created during his time as official WWII war artist, and after his return to
Pembrokeshire in the 1970s.
George Shaw presents these works through the lens of a contemporary painter,
describing them as ‘a lament to the passing and changing landscape, a monument to
the earth itself’. The exhibition shows us Sutherland as an artist as much rooted in the
past as in the world before him – a world forever unfinished.
The exhibition is accompanied by An Unfinished World - a fully illustrated catalogue
with commissioned texts by George Shaw, Brian Catling, Rachel Flynn and Alexandra
Harris. The catalogue sheds new light on Sutherland’s work, presenting published
illustrations of many works for the first time, and a re-appreciation of Sutherland’s
practice from the perspective of contemporary artists and writers.
Graham Sutherland (b. 1903, London, d. 1980), painter of imaginative landscapes, still
life, figure pieces and portraits, abandoned a railway engineering apprenticeship after a
year and studied at Goldsmiths College School of Art 1920–5, where he specialised in
engraving and etching. Formative influences on his early work were Blake, Samuel
Palmer, Turner, Paul Nash and Henry Moore. He exhibited at the N.E.A.C. 1929–33 and
with the London Group from 1932 (member 1936–7), experimenting with painting in oils
from 1930 until, in 1935, the year after his first visit to Pembrokeshire, he decided to
become a painter. As an Official War Artist 1941–4, Sutherland painted scenes of bomb
devastation and of work in mines and foundries. He also painted the portrait of
Somerset Maugham in 1949, the first of a series, which includes Lord Beaverbrook, Sir
Winston Churchill and othe rs. He completed the designs for the Coventry Cathedral
tapestry, ‘Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph’, between 1954 and 1957 (installed 1962). He
also designed posters, ceramics, book illustrations, and ballet costumes and décor for
‘The Wanderer’ in 1940. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1960.
George Shaw (b. 1966, Coventry, currently lives and works in North Devon) grew up in
Tile Hill, a post-war housing estate on the south side of Coventry. He gained a BA from
Sheffield Polytechnic in 1992 and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1998.
His solo exhibitions include: George Shaw: I woz ere, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum,
Coventry (2011), The Sly and Unseen Day, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art,
Gateshead and South London Gallery (2011), Looking for Baz, Shaz, Gaz and Daz, VOID,
Derry (2010), Woodsman, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2009), The End of the World,
Galerie Hussenot, Paris (2008), Poets Day, Centre d’Art, Contemporain, Geneva (2006),
Ash Wednesday, Wilkinson Gallery (2005) and What I Did This Summer, Ikon Gallery,
Birmingham (2003). George Shaw is one of four artists shortlisted for the Turner Prize
2011. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at BALTIC Centre for
Contemporary Art, Gateshead, opening on Friday 21 October 2011. The winner will be
announced at BALTIC on 5 December 2011.
Gallery opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday 10am – 5pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am – 10pm (galleries until 7pm)
Sunday 12pm – 5pm