Archive for category Author: Paul Gough

Zawn: Walking West Penwith/Cliff-edge painting by Paul Lewin || Paul Gough

Helpfully, the back cover blurb provides an explanation of the enigmatic title. “Zawn: a coastal inlet in a cliff face, with steep or rocky sides. Often the result of a roof-collapse in a littoral cave.”

This is useful to know, as it defines the content of this beautifully illustrated book, which exudes a sumptuous feel in spite of its relative slimness and soft cover.

The paintings themselves, some already existing, others produced especially for the book, are a superb evocation of coastal landscapes and of the weather that inevitably assaults a West-facing peninsula. I haven’t traced the chronology on a map, but there is a sense of a journey, as opposed to randomly-selected landmarks and that sits well with the idea of a coastal path.

The text is an account at once of the book, of Paul Lewin’s working methods and of the creative process as a whole. Whether you feel you need it, or whether these three things sit altogether comfortably together, is a matter of personal taste. Although what Paul Gough writes is firmly grounded in the work it accompanies, there is still a slight disconnect due to the tendency to expand and generalise. You might feel, though, that it adds to, rather than detracts from, the book’s appeal.

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Brothers In Arms – John & Paul Nash and the aftermath of the Great War || Paul Gough

Paul Nash is one of the great names to have come out of the First World War, while his brother worked more quietly and almost in obscurity. In spite of this, they came together in exhibitions and occasionally shared a studio. To consider them together is entirely right.

There has been some danger of the celebration (is that the right word or the right ethos?) of the Great War becoming hagiographic and samey. There have, however, been not a few interesting re-appraisals of the period and this is one of them.

Looking at this, it’s hard not to conclude that Paul was generally the better artist, although John has a strong sense of design and colour and his best images can be striking, combining a strong sense of the Twentieth Century English landscape with a Modernist approach that is less defined and maybe even less self-conscious than that of his brother.

The work of Paul Nash has been covered extensively; that of John less so. By bringing the two together, this book places a focus on a corner of English painting during a period of crisis and change in both this country and the world. As well as a good selection of illustrations by both artists, the text provides a thorough account of the lives and work of both men.

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