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Edward Burra At Pallant House Gallery

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:00 pm
by nikki akinjinmi
I meant to mention the Edward Burra exhibition at Pallant House a while ago. The watercolours are huge and fresh. I was reminded the painter Grosz at times, and sometimes Goya. It's worth taking a look - it's in Chichester - and tickets are half price (£3.75 for adults) on Tuesdays. The paintings are just beautiful looking.

http://pallant.org.uk/whats-on

Re: Edward Burra At Pallant House Gallery

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:28 am
by will vine
Chichester strikes again. Must SOTW town of the year.

Re: Edward Burra At Pallant House Gallery

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:48 pm
by garth cartwright
Indeed, Will, indeed. To prove this Rob Hall and I headed down on Sunday - a beautiful drive through Surrey countryside - to check the Burra exhibition. I've seen a few of his works over the decades at the Tate but never more than a handful at one time. This exhibit covers his life's work very thoroughly. Burra was obviously something of a voyeur - enjoying observing dancers, prostitutes, black men, jazz musicians etc - while never engaging at all with them: his works convey no emotion, no engagement, in a sense they are something like a photograph, observant and witty and mordant. And very grotesque - he had certainly studied German expressionism and saw his subjects in a rather cruel, mocking light. Which is not a criticism, just an observation on how he painted and Room 1 is full of very impressive works from the 1920s. The 30s saw him trying to document the carnage he noted underway in Spain during the Civil War. These, for me, are his weakest works - although his technique remains very impressive he shifts here into illustration and the paintings don't as a whole work. There was still a sense of malevolence in his work and the strongest painting in Room 2 is a vase of flowers that gives off an incredible toxic charge. Unable to travel due to WW2 he began concentrating on country landscapes yet he made sure humans, vehicles and such were in them. Room 3 covers these and they are looser, fresher, than the Civil War paintings. Burra seemed to enjoy trying to document the land and loosened up his painting style. Room 4 has some latter works, again largely focusing on landscape and Burra was getting almost into a transcendent style here reminiscent of much English landscape ptg of the early 20th C. There are also sketches and portraits he did at the theatre and opera earlier in his life. He was for the most part an incredibly tight painter, an absolute master of water colour, a man with a droll eye for humans and the land, not one with a wide emotional range - no love, no sensuality, not even much anger (war allows just another meditation on the sexy banality of evil) - but he was an English original, an expressionist who painted beautifully while rarely expressing anything beyond a certain glee for those with the beautiful bodies his arthritic one could never be. Good show, good painter, somehow Burra fits Chichester's nervous, English provincial town energies well.

Re: Edward Burra At Pallant House Gallery

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:18 am
by David Flower
Chichester nervous? Not a description I recognise! We were down again for the weekend and yesterday agreed to rendezvous at the gallery to see the Burra exhibition. Sunday's always good in the town as almost everywhere is open but the crowds are small. While the family walked down to town I drove the 20 minutes north to fetch my mother from her care home. 20 minutes normally but West Dean to Singleton was solid blocked for a mile by most of Sussex headed for the Christmas Fair at the Weald and Downland museum fields. As sitting in traffic is as bad a waste of time as waiting for buses, I K-turned out of there and took a rather long detour up the Uppark House road, over the Downs and round through Treyford, Didling, Bepton to rejoin the road at Cocking. No rock stars spotted but I'm sure they were lurking.
At which point I realised I'd left my phone behind so no way to communicate lateness to family who were possibly at the gallery. Adrift in the analogue world I collected mother, steerbundled her into the front seat and headed back for Chi. Managed to park outside the gallery thanks to disabled badge, leaving mother in car I went in to see if anyone was there. Should I fetch wheelchair and go back and get mother, or see if the others were in the gallery first? Opted for checking upstairs and found them 3/4 the way round the exhibition. With 15 minutes to go before our table at Cafe Rouge was due, I decided it was all too complicated and better to just all meet up at the Cafe shortly. Small children slow you up, but there's nothing compared to an infirm disabled and very slow parent. You just have to relax into rare patience. A long way to say that I got my phone back, had a very good lunch and missed the exhibition!

Re: Edward Burra At Pallant House Gallery

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:09 pm
by EleanorT
I managed to get to this a week ago and loved all of it. I have such admiration for artists that manage to capture so many characters frozen for a moment in a crowded room. It gets me excited just like photography sometimes does, and some of his work is indeed wonderfully photographic, but rarely entirely. I love the way he exaggerated perspective in portraying a tall thin man in Harlem (the tall, thin people in the background are tiny by comparison), the way the blank, rather cartoon-like faces in his bar scenes are reminiscent of Goya. I love the graphic power of the image of the motorcycling couple in the exhaust fumes of the truck in a long line of hill-walking trucks. There is so much to look at in each of his pictures. Not so much to listen to if you take the time to sit and watch the video of him late in life shuffling about between empty bottles and dirty dishes! Not sure if he was always so monosyllabic or whether it was just the wrong interviewer for him!

The café was seething. We did well to chance upon St Martin's Tearooms - no nervousness there - just cosiness, calm and delicious food!