Paul Nash and the Uncanny Landscape: an exhibition curated by John Stezaker

York Art Gallery

20 October 2017 – 15 April 2018

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John Stezaker joins the list of contemporary artists who have been invited to curate recent shows, his talent for collage finding him side by side with Paul Nash.

Paul Nash, Winter Sea, 1925-1937

John Stezaker knows a few things about uncanny landscapes. The British collage artist is not averse to splicing a panorama into a studio portrait. It’s a trademark move to juxtapose, say, the golden age of Hollywood with vintage magazine shots of the natural world. Faces reveal their affinity with caves, eyes with waterfalls, and so on.

In York, however, the latest juxtaposition is to display work by this surrealist-with-a-scalpel alongside that of British modernist Paul Nash. Nash was more interested in burial mounds and standing stones than faces, and thanks to his animistic scenes of rural England, he too came to be known as a surrealist.

So, Nash and Stezaker share common ground, even if it's not clear whether the earlier painter ever stepped back to curate his own work.

Stezaker does so here, and the results should be enthralling. Along with paintings, visitors can expect prints, drawings and photographs by sometime war artist Nash, together with work by his associated contemporaries. The three-part show concludes with a selection of collages by Stezaker, who may be the foremost heir to Nash's pastoral sensibility and modernist ideals.

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