Friday 7 August 2015

Weekend Review: Ravilious Exhibition

Dunno how many of you are London-based (we make no capital-centric assumptions here, oh no!) but if you are, or are able to get to the wonderful Dulwich Picture Gallery before 31st, then I strongly recommend "the first major exhibition to survey watercolours by celebrated British artist Eric Ravilious".

Ravilious was bimbling along as a fine graphic artist of modest repute when at the start of WW2 he was appointed a War Artist.  Of no obvious martial inclination, he nevertheless accepted this challenge with gusto - in his own oblique way - and hurled himself into  headquarters, dockyards, and fully operational destroyers, submarines, convoys, aircraft ... ultimately to his untimely death on active service off Iceland in 1942.

'RNAS Sick Bay, Dundee' (detail)
His style sometimes breaks out into classic inter-war 'travel poster' mode, but is mainly characterised by an extremely tight, craftsmanlike watercolour discipline, with very pronounced and strongly-executed approaches to rendering large blocks of surface, be they acres of glittering ocean, miles of threatening skies, or simple square yards of soft furnishings.   I have to believe the Hockney of the last two decades has been strongly influenced by Ravilious.

'No.1 Map Corridor' (detail)
I've picked wartime stuff here but it's of tremendously varied and sometimes quirky subject matter - go google images for lots more (and some of the best, I can't find online).  Boldly confident, crisply executed, though almost always of the lightest touch, and almost all of it excellent.


1 comment:

Blue Eyes said...

Dulwich? London-centric?