Monday, 9 March 2015

Paradise Regained

A Paradise Lost: The Neo-Romantic Imagination in Britain 1935-55
David Mellor
Lund Humphries, 1987

This fascinating catalogue from an exhibition at the Barbican, London, was the first to re-examine the Neo-Romantic movement, which dominated British art in the post-war years. It's interesting to see which artists have sustained a recognised profile, and which have disappeared into the margins. Mellor draws together many interesting themes, not least an early connection between surrealism, science fiction and pagan myth in the work of Graham Sutherland.

It is also enlightening to see the work of Gerald Wilde, a decidedly non-conformist painter who saw himself in the novel The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Carey and took on the persona of the fictional artist Gully Jimson.

The film adaptation, starring Alec Guinness (to whom Wilde bore a strange resemblance), is second only to Hancock's The Rebel in the canon of essential British art films. Wilde is sadly almost forgotten now. The few works available online show an energy and vision that would suggest an exhibition of his paintings is long overdue.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Early Steadman

A Little Treasury of Limericks Fair and Foul
John Letts
Illustrated by Ralph Steadman
London, Pan, 1971