Thursday, 13 March 2014


Letter to Jim Ede

The exhibition examines the artistic relationship between Ben Nicholson and Winifred Nicholson  as well as their collaborations with artists; Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and William Staite Murray.  

This interaction and collaboration allowed for extraordinary experimentation within a shared dialogue. The collaborative conversation creates an aesthetic harmony as Ben Nicholson becomes free from form, process and progresses to complete abstraction in the 1930s. The flatness of embedded colour in the 30s adds to Nicholson’s disappearance of reality towards a movement to minimalistic tendencies.

A strong cubist link is absorbed within the Nicholson’s change in practice upon visiting Paris in the 1920s, where they saw works by artists such as Pablo Picasso. Both of the Nicholson’s connection of ideas and thoughts through geometric abstraction and the communication of line creates a sense of fragility. The gradation of colour into mute compositions infused with a poeticism of a cold warmth emanating from a refracted luminosity creates linear lyrical lines.

There is a reductive simplicity in the shadow formed lines and contours of Ben Nicholson’s White Relief, 1935. Within the defined space set by a monochromatic monotone wash exists a linear narrative described by both positive and negative space. The seemingly overlapping edges of reduction frame a composition set in a surface of subtle textures.

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the correspondence between the Nicholson’s and Alfred Wallis with Jim Ede which illustrate the artist’s essence and perception of visual movement across shapes in space to evolve their practices.

"All artists are unique and can only unite as complementaries not as similarities" -
Winifred Nicholson

Ben Nicholson (1925) Jamaique, [Oil on board]

The exhibition ART & LIFE: 1920-1931 - BEN NICHOLSON, WINIFRED NICHOLSON, CHRISTOPHER WOOD, ALFRED WALLIS & WILLIAM STAITE MURRAY – runs from the 15th February – 11th May 2014.

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