Wednesday Jan 25, 2017
Paul Nash's Writings on Art had been reserved for me at the Art Library, part of Leeds Central Library. My head was still full of images and phrases from my trip to London last week to see the Paul Nash retrospective at Tate Britain (as well as The Radical Eye, Sir Elton John's collection of modernist photography at Tate Modern).
Both exhibitions served to expand my notion of modernism. I felt my own vision refreshed. This short photo-essay is a record of my journey into Leeds city centre, to visit the Art Library to read more by and about Paul Nash.... and then when I had exhausted that resource, to Waterstones, to look for more enlightenment.
[For any photo grid, click on any image to see it expanded]
With Paul Nash's Writings on Art under my arm, I headed for Waterstone's. Isn't it amazing that they offer tables, and comfy chairs and almost complete quiet? And I chatted to one of the staff, who had been happy to be given an artist challenge.
"What better life could there be -- to work in the open air, to go hunting far afield over the wild country, to get my living out of the land as much as my ancestors ever had done." (Paul Nash)
For more than a decade I have had a preoccupation with a clump of trees locally known as the Billing (Rawdon, Leeds). Only recently I discovered that Paul Nash discovered his vocation as a landscape artist when, in September 1912, he started to draw his own clumps (the Wittenham Clumps, Oxfordshire).
"There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relationship of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analysed." (Paul Nash)
Another strange co-incidence, Nash's painting in the Durban Art Gallery, which I visited as a child. I feel he still has much to teach me.
Writing in Country Life, May 21, 1938, in an article on "Unseen Landscapes", Nash wrote:
"The landscapes I have in mind are not part of the unseen world in a psychic sense, nor are they part of the Unconscious. They belong to the world that lies, visibly about us. They are unseen merely because they are not perceived; only in that way can they be regarded as 'invisible'." (Paul Nash)