Works by top post-war artists coming to free exhibition in Norwich

Nan Reid, Fish and Chip Shop in Chelsea, 1952, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Estate of the artist. Nan Reid, Fish and Chip Shop in Chelsea, 1952, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Estate of the artist.

Friday, August 8, 2014
8:34 AM

An exhibition exploring the original age of austerity will bring works by some of Britain’s most significant post-war artists to Norwich, thanks to a group of students.

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Victor Pasmore, Rectangular Motif, Black and Olive, 1950, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Estate of Victor Pasmore. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014.Victor Pasmore, Rectangular Motif, Black and Olive, 1950, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Estate of Victor Pasmore. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014.

Afteryears: Reflections on British Art 1946-52 will include some of the earliest works held by the Arts Council when it opens at the Norwich University of the Arts next week.

The show, which is free to enter, will include work by work-famous artists including Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Eduardo Paolozzi and Victor Pasmore, as well as revealing the forgotten contributions of younger and less familiar names.

Laura Dennis, one of the students on the MA Curation course which devised the show, said: “Afteryears will examine a period now largely forgotten, but that witnessed dramatic social and political change.

“Did art of the time reflect the growing sense of optimism and renewal symbolised by the formation of the Welfare State and the Festival of Britain, or did the aftermath of war leave an altogether different legacy?”

The exhibition will look at how art reflected the physical and psychological impact of the war, reminding us that in this time of victory and peace many people in Britain were living in cities that had been devastated by the Blitz.

Everyday life will be shown through images that reflect a time of full employment and the birth of the NHS, as well as both romanticised and realistic depictions of domesticity.

Alongside this, a series of works will also show how rural life and the landscape were idealised by artists, the subject offering both a conceptual and physical escape from the difficulties of the time.

The period also saw progressively heated debates around abstraction and figuration, culminating in a public outcry over works of art created for the Festival of Britain.

The exhibition is open at the gallery on St Georges Street from Tuesday, August 12, until Saturday, September 13, from 12pm to 5pm (closed Sunday and Monday).

NUA will also screen Ken Loach’s Spirit of ‘45 at Cinema City, Norwich, at 3pm on Saturday, August 16. Tickets, at £8, are available from the Gallery during exhibition opening hours, or email gallery@nua.ac.uk or visit http://www.nua.ac.uk/visit/thegallery/afteryears

Do you have an arts story? Email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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