Graham Sutherland

An Unfinished World

10.12.2011 — 18.03.2012

Modern Art Oxford

Curated by George Shaw

Modern Art Oxford presents a collection of works on paper by British artist, Graham Sutherland. Curated by 2011 Turner Prize nominee, George Shaw, An Unfinished World is a reflective exploration of the lesser-known work of one of the most compelling artists of his generation.

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.

Far from traditional studies of landscape and environment, these works not only depict but also exude a world that is as dark as it is magical, as elusive as it is recognisable. Strangely bereft of human life, the works navigate the real and imagined; where country lanes loop into each other, horizon lines fold into foregrounds, and nothing is as it seems.

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’. He adds, ‘the exhibition shows us Sutherland as an artist as much rooted in the past as in the world before him – a world forever unfinished’. 

An Unfinished World brings together for the first time over eighty rarely seen works on paper from public and private collections across the UK. 

An Unfinished World – the publication to accompany the exhibition includes an introduction by Michael Stanley and texts by George Shaw, Brian Catling, Rachel Flynn and Alexandra Harris. Find out more here.

Exhibition supported by:

Bonhams

Graham Sutherland Exhibition Circle

Don't miss the short film by John Rolfe playing in the Basement, featuring interviews with George Shaw in the galleries at Modern Art Oxford and his thoughts on some of the works in the Graham Sutherland exhibition. Free, just drop in.

 

Graham Sutherland

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 others. 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

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 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.

 

Family Resource

A family resource pack including a trail and practical activities is available to help you explore the Graham Sutherland: An Unfinished World exhibition together. Pick up the free resource from the Front Desk or Modern Art Trolley at weekends, or download a copy from the Additional Resources section.

 

Graham Sutherland, Dark Hill - Landscape with Hedges and Fields, 1940. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery © Estate of Graham Sutherland

Graham Sutherland, Dark Hill - Landscape with Hedges and Fields, 1940. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery © Estate of Graham Sutherland

Event Dates

  • Curated by George Shaw 10.12.2011 — 18.03.2012

    CURRENT EXHIBITION - ENDS SUNDAY 18 MARCH. Modern Art Oxford presents an extensive collection of works on paper by British artist, Graham Sutherland. Curated by 2011 Turner Prize nominee, George Shaw, An Unfinished World is a reflective exploration of the lesser-known work of one of the most compelling artists of his generation.

  • George Shaw in conversation with David Fraser Jenkins 13.12.2011 at 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

    Tuesday, 6pm, £5 / £4 concessions, free to Friends, booking essential. George Shaw is joined byart historian and curator David Fraser Jenkins. As a young curator at The National of Museum Wales in the 1970s, Jenkins worked with Graham Sutherland to establish the Picton Gallery. His most recent exhibitions include 'Paul Nash: The Elements' at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2010, and the forthcoming 'John Piper: The Mountains of Wales' at National Museum Wales in February 2012.

    BOOK TICKETS

    George Shaw & David Fraser Jenkins Talk: Full Price Ticket — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

    George Shaw & David Fraser Jenkins Talk: Concessionary Ticket* — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

    George Shaw & David Fraser Jenkins Talk: Friends Ticket* — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

  • Lunchtime Tours 14.12.2011 — 14.03.2012

    Every Wednesday, 1pm. Free, just turn up. Join members of the Modern Art Oxford team for a tour of 'An Unfinished World'.

  • Simon Martin: Graham Sutherland and the Poetry of Landscape 20.01.2012 at 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

    Friday, 6pm, £5 / £4 concessions, booking essential. Simon Martin, Head of Curatorial Services at Pallant House Gallery, explores the close relationship between Graham Sutherland’s interest in the imagery of artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer, and his own depictions of the landscape that fused modernist abstraction and a poetic sense of place.

    BOOK TICKETS

    Simon Martin Talk: Full Price Ticket — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

    Simon Martin Talk: Concessionary & Friends Ticket* — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

  • Exhibition Tour 26.01.2012 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

    Thursday, 6-7pm (moved from 18 January). Free for Friends, £3 Guests (non-Friends). Booking essential on 01865 813800. Join Simon Grant, writer, art historian and Editor of TATE ETC Magazine, for a tour of 'Graham Sutherland: An Unfinished World'.

  • Exhibition Tour 09.02.2012 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

    Thursday, 6pm. Free, just turn up. Clare Woods is an artist producing large-scale paintings, combining landscape and figurative detail with distortion and abstraction. A major solo exhibition of Woods' paintings was staged recently at The Hepworth Wakefield. Her work was included in 'The Dark Monarch: Magic and Modernity in British Art', Tate St Ives, 2009.

  • Exhibition Tour 18.02.2012 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Saturday, 3pm. Free, just turn up. Colin Harrison is Curator of British Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He has a particular interest in the influence of Samuel Palmer on the Neo-Romantics, including Graham Sutherland.

  • George Shaw, Alexandra Harris and Michael Bracewell 23.02.2012 at 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

    Thursday, 6pm, £5 / £4 concessions, free to Friends, booking essential. George Shaw discusses Sutherland’s work with the writer Alexandra Harris, and the critic and cultural commentator Michael Bracewell. Harris’ acclaimed book 'Romantic Moderns' (2010) reconsiders Englishness, the arts and modernist culture in the interwar years. Bracewell is the author of six novels and three works of non-fiction, including his study of Englishness in popular culture, 'England Is Mine', 1997.

    BOOK TICKETS

    George Shaw, Alexandra Harris, Michael Bracewell Talk: Full Price Ticket — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

    George Shaw, Alexandra Harris, Michael Bracewell Talk: Concessionary Ticket* — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

    George Shaw, Alexandra Harris, Michael Bracewell Talk: Friends Ticket* — TICKET SALES CLOSED!

  • Exhibition Tour 03.03.2012 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Saturday, 3pm. Free, just turn up. Rachel Flynn is an AHRC-funded doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol and National Museum Wales, where she is currently researching the Graham Sutherland collection and archive.

Event Support & Sponsors

Bonhams

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