Whilst visiting York, I went to see this exhibition, although the subject matter was not directly related to my current practice, I considered the methods of curation and ways work was displayed. I always find the curation of exhibitions at York Art Gallery very effective, but this particular curation by the contemporary artist John Stezaker suited the exhibition perfectly.
In this exhibition the first room contains a private collection of ephemera, letters, photographs, drawings and paintings collected by friends of Paul Nash, displayed alongside his early works. This collection focuses on exploring the way Nash represented the everyday landscapes using an estranged sense of reality, influenced by the post war period. Along with this, there are some works by John Nash, the brother of Paul Nash.
The main room of the exhibition contains a collection of some of the best known works of Nash, for example Winter Sea, alongside works by other British Surrealists. As well as Paul Nash’s works (and a room of John Stezaker’s), other artwork included in the exhibition was by John Nash, Stanley Spencer, Edward Burra, William Townsend, Henry Lamb, Sydney Carline, Tristram Hillier and Cecil Collins.
The final room contains photographic collages by John Stezaker, which have been influenced by Nash. Photographs have been cropped and spliced together, layered with postcards of landscapes on top of black and white film stars, or portraits. Some of the layered images subtly connect, yet the shapes and colours of others juxtapose the original image, creating a dramatic contrast. The original purpose of the photographs and postcards are lost. Personally, I am drawn to the ephemeral nature of the materials, and the way they are now persevered under a glass display frame. I am also interested in the themes of appropriation and use of vintage photographs within Stezaker’s works. I also appreciated the choice of items and ephemeral displayed alongside the artworks as this helped to give a more personal insight into the life and works of Nash. Since I am working with personal elements such as family photos it might be interesting to consider displaying the original negatives along with my work.