I was familiar with Paul Nash’s wartime paintings and some of the landscapes. His war paintings are unforgettable, the WW1 pictures with their decapitated trees especially affecting. However, I hadn’t realised how much he got involved in surrealism, and how effectively. In the 1930s he and other British artists got to know surrealists (e.g. Andre Breton, di Chirico) from Europe and exhibited together. The exhibition included some surrealist works by contemporaries, and others such as Ben Nicholson. He worked closely with British artist Eileen Agar too. She did some intriguing work with found objects which were on display.
Nash’s woodcuts are striking too – this is a medium that suits him. I did like the landscapes from the 1920s, the later rather more ‘mystic’ ones less so (but I am allergic to mysticism).
Knowing some of Nash’s work, I enjoyed seeing such a full retrospective, placing him in context with the art of his time. He was more involved in getting contemporary work shown in public than I had realised. His love of southern English landscape, especially trees, persisted throughout his career. HIs vision was powerful but I did become aware of the absence of people in his work.