Victor Pasmore at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
The GAC has lent an oil painting by Victor Pasmore (1908–1998) to the exhibition Victor Pasmore: Towards A New Reality at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester from 11 March to 11 June 2017.
This exhibition of Pasmore's work focuses on the period from 1930 to 1969, a time when the artist changed from being a figurative painter to become one of Britain's leading abstract artists.
Development in Green and Indigo No 2 (1965) is a large abstract vertical work painted in oil on a piece of wood, in which an area of muted green hovers above an organic blue form painted thinly so that the woodgrain is exposed. A rippling cream coloured line separates the two areas. Although it is tempting to read this painting as a landscape – the sea, grass and a pathway perhaps – Pasmore's vertical format, use of a small black rectangular shape, as well as further dark lines around the edge of the painting, suggest that he is keen to disrupt such a reading.
Before 1939, Pasmore's painting style was almost entirely figurative, yet his interest in abstraction grew after seeing the influential Picasso / Matisse exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1945. From 1948 he decided to make a fresh start with his own work, focusing on abstract compositions. Many of his works were variations on line and point motifs, constructed in deliberate emulation of abstract musical compositions. During the 1960s and 1970s he started to forge a link between abstract art and Surrealism, partly by introducing a certain amount of symbolic content in his work. His compositions are intended to instil a sense of movement, development and harmony in the spectator akin to the experience of listening to a piece of music.
Victor Pasmore was born in Chelsham, Surrey, in 1908. While attending evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, together with the artists William Coldstream, Claude Rogers and Graham Bell he founded the Euston Road School in 1937. The artists associated with the school aimed to develop an objective method of painting everyday subjects.
In 1960 Pasmore's work was selected for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, thus marking the beginning of his participation in many international exhibitions. In 1961 he gave up teaching for full-time studio work and executed many commissions for mural decorations. In 1966 he acquired a house in Malta. An exhibition of his work was held in 1975 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta. Although he did not attribute this change of scenery having a specific influence on his work, it is evident that the colours he used became brighter perhaps in response to his new surroundings. Pasmore died at his house in Gudja, Malta in 1998.
Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality
Pallant House Gallery
9 North Pallant
Telephone: +44 (0)1243 774557
This exhibition previously toured to the Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham