By the beginning of his professional artistic life in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Victor Pasmore (1908-1998) had quickly established himself as an assured painter of lyrical landscapes, figures and still-life studies.
Nothing, however, suggested the radical change in direction his work was to take in little more than two years after the end of the Second World War. Only in retrospect can we glimpse the first tentative explorations towards more formal concerns of composition that were to lead to his total renunciation of representational art.
Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality focuses on the period from 1930 to 1969, a time that saw the artist’s transformation from one of Britain’s leading figurative painters to one of its foremost exponents of abstract art – what has been described as ‘the most revolutionary event in post-war British art’. A fascinating picture emerges of the years in the late 1940s and early 1950s when landscapes incorporating increasingly suggestive formal structures led to his first fully abstract paintings and collages. These were followed by constructed reliefs made from pre-formed industrial materials.
Exhibitions of Pasmore’s work since his death in 1998 have considered various aspects of his artistic and teaching practice. This is the first to focus on this most memorable period in his artistic trajectory and to re-evaluate the part played by his figurative art within that narrative.
A lavishly illustrated book published by Lund Humphries in association with the Djanogly Gallery accompanies the exhibition. The insights provided by three leading experts on Pasmore’s work throw new light on a critical turning point in the career of one of this country’s most significant twentieth-century artists.
The exhibition has been curated by Anne Goodchild with Neil Walker.