Paul Nash

Landscape of Bleached Objects

Landscape of Bleached Objects by Paul Nash

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In the 1930s Nash was the instigator of the short-lived Unit One, a group that brought together abstract and surrealist tendencies in British art. For Nash, surrealism meant 'the release of imprisoned thoughts, of poetry and fantasy' and these ideas manifested themselves in his interest in found objects including curiously-shaped stones, fragments of wood and bark, weird skeletons of leaves, fungi and shells. His repertoire of images was augmented by the countless photographs he made of natural objects and his fascination with the 'wonderful and disquieting' ancient stone circles and megaliths of south-west England. This painting is from a series in which he began 'to contemplate the personal beauty of stone and leaf, bark and shell and to exalt them to be the principals of imaginary happenings'. Nash has dramatically increased the scale of two found objects, situating them in a barren, perhaps seaside, landscape. These contrasting organic forms, one resembling a standing stone and the other a phallic form, cast a combined shadow which embraces two egg-like shapes. Nash was as interested in the formal qualities of these objects as he was in any 'meaning' that they may carry and was especially resistant to Freudian interpretations of his works. He is said to have stepped back from a newly-completed painting and said to his wife, 'Jam for the psycho-boys, don't you think?'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
Landscape of Bleached Objects
Artist/creator
Production date
circa 1934
Medium
oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
620 x 747 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
M1994/7
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
On display

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