New Art New Nature, Irish and International Art 1945-2014
10 October 2014 – 10 January 2016
Free to all
Exploring nature as a compelling force for artistic production over the last 70 years.
Matisse travelled to Tahiti and the South Pacific in 1930 where he was overawed by the abundant natural beauty. Speaking of the trip he said: 'From the first, the enchantments of the sky there, the sea, the fish and the coral in the lagoons, plunged me into the inaction of total ecstasy'.
Fifteen years later immobilised by ill health, Matisse decided to recreate his memories of the tropics within his Paris apartment. Producing cut-outs inspired by the island landscapes, he stuck his designs directly onto his bedroom wall. Oceania textiles, on display here, is one of the material pieces that resulted from this project – the artist hope it would create a sense of the limitless freedom he had experienced when swimming in the South Seas. It is used as the starting point for this exhibition exploring the intimate connection artists have with nature in the modern age.
Also included is The Four Seasons Mural which William Scott designed for Altnagelvin Hospital. An abstract composition, it was made based on translations of the cyclical rhythms of the seasons. Meanwhile a video installation by Willie Doherty that was shot in the Murcia region of Spain explores nature as a powerful and overwhelming presence.
The exhibition features a new acquisition by Tyrone artist William McKeown. Untitled (2008) is a poetic evocation of the joyousness the artist experienced when looking at a light drenched early morning sky, and was acquired with Art Fund support.
It is joined by a series of atmospheric watercolours presented to the Ulster Museum by the William McKeown estate in memory of his important contribution to Irish art.