Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes
29 June – 15 September 2013
An exhibition of landscape paintings by Graham Sutherland, who brought the surreal to the British countryside.
A neo-Romantic inspired by the pastoral subjects of Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland’s haunting paintings captured the rugged beauty of the countryside and the oppressive forces of creeping industrialisation upon it.
For much of the 1930s he chose to paint the Pembrokeshire landscape, attempting to express 'the intellectual and emotional' essence of the place. By using dramatic shifts in light, unnaturalistic colouring and animal skulls, he would transform the countryside into a bleak, primordial world in which man and nature were at odds with one another.
This exhibition explores Sutherland’s surreal transformation of the natural forms he chanced upon, creating extraordinary paintings in the process.
Estuary (1946) was one of the last paintings the artist made before fleeing the sulphurous realities of post-war Britain for the sunny environs of South of France. His palette is already changing from the tempestuous greys and ochres of the Welsh countryside for the scorching yellows of the Riviera.
It stands in contrast to the earlier ‘Horned Forms’, painted during the war in 1944 and transforms an arid landscape into a deadly place in which trees and animals become steely killing machines, a mutated response to an evil world.