Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Leon Underwood at The Pallant Gallery

This above is Leon Underwood (1890-1975). I confess I had never heard his name before yesterday when R and I swept into Chichester on a sunny bank-holiday afternoon and, on a whim, decided to see what was on at the always brilliant Pallant Gallery. 

In the past we have seen exceptional exhibitions here of work by the likes of Keith Vaughan and Edward Burra. The gallery specialises in British Twentieth Century artists and has an extremely impressive permanent collection as well as these wonderful temporary ones. 

It turns out I should have heard of Leon Underwood: quite a remarkable chap by all accounts. He was a printmaker and painter, a sculptor, teacher and expert in African tribal art. Despite a very large and impressive body of work, it is possible that his greatest achievement was in his role as teacher: having set up his own art school he taught the likes of Gertrude Hermes, Eileen Agar, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Blair Hughes-Stanton, to name a few. This exhibition really enables the viewer to see how deep that influence must have been in the fields of printmaking and sculpture in particular. The curators at the Pallant never fail. Every one of the exhibitions I have attended there have been the kind where you actually want to read every word of the wall text and feel like you are being introduced to a new friend in the process. If you are able: visit!

Leon Underwood. Figure and Rhythm is on at The Pallant Gallery in Chichester until 14th June

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