This joyous still life, painted in the early 1950s, represents the period of Redpath’s work when she achieved a satisfying balance between structure and exuberance. It is at the point when she moves beyond the lessons she had learnt from her distinguished predecessors The Scottish Colourists – where their compositions had been considered and deliberate hers had become intuitive and dynamic. She had always been a natural colourist herself. This she attributed to the influence of her father who had been a designer of tweed - ‘I do with a spot of red or yellow in a harmony of grey what my father did in his tweeds’. A comment particularly apt to the present painting.
By the time that this still life was painted Redpath’s reputation was established both in Edinburgh and London and the fact that the board is painted on both sides would be due to natural thrift or impatience rather than necessity. When she had returned from living in France for fourteen years with her husband and three young sons in 1934 they were very poor and many of her best paintings are double-sided because of her lack of materials. In this instance it would be more of a case of Redpath, deciding on the floral composition, not having the patience to wait to acquire a fresh board. Although unsigned the reverse side stands on its own as a finished composition.
Patrick BournePosted in
The Analysing Cubism exhibition is proving a significant success at the New Galleries of IMMA. Not only is it promoting the Irish adaptation and implementation of Cubsim, it champions the work of the Irish women artists of the early 20th Century and places them in the context of European Modernism. Cubism was a watershed artistic movement which allowed Irish artists express the 20th Century Irish ideals within these new parameters that in turn opened the door to new modernist styles allowing Ireland gain membership to the European Avant Guarde of the contemporary period. Cubism provided the perfect vehicle for this Irish expression at a time when artistic expression had previously been expressedley conservative.
The exhibition clearly maps the Irish artists' contribution to the movement and their development within it. It exhibits Ireland's first generational artists May Guinness and Mary Swanzy, the second of whom introduced the popular Orphism to Irish art, and focuses on second generational Irish Cubist utilisers such as Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone.
The exhibition aptly follows the development of the style within Irish art by tracing the developmental stages and including other advocates of the style, including Irish artists Father Jack O'Hanlon and Norah McGuinness as well as their English counterparts Paul Egestorff and Elizabeth Rivers.
Included in the exhibition is Decoration of 1923 by Jellett. This was the first Cubist painting exhibited publicly in Ireland and is, thus, a somewhat historic piece of significant momentum. The importance of Cubism as a movement cannot be stressed enough. The advances of these Cubist artists created a new platform for the ideals of early 20th Century Ireland to be conveyed. The works of Hone and Jellett, overtly spiritual yet abstract, married the ideals of conservative Ireland to the contemporary European art movement so that for a period Ireland was very much part of the international Avant Guarde.
Additionally, the exhibition celebrates the contribution of Ireland's women artists within this movement, not for the sake of their sex but their artistic ability.
The exhibition was widely accessible and covers a historic time in Ireland's art history. The gallery rooms are laid out in a clear and logical way which makes the motivation behind each room clear and coherent to the viewer. Aside from the artists aforementioned, the exhibition includes works by European artists such as Georges Braque, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris and the father of cubism himself, Pablo Picasso.
An impressive exhibition in its own right and a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternnoon. This exhibition has something for everyone.
For more information visit the IMMA website;