Abstract Landscape at the Whitworth, review: The natural world

Emma Sumner

The Whitworth’s latest exhibition is small, but perfectly formed.

The importance of the collections cared for by our smaller regional galleries can often be overlooked by the ‘must-see’ draw of works in our national galleries, allowing the great art on our doorstep to slip under the radar.  In the Whitworth’s most recently opened collection display, which is on show until 10 January 2016, curators have sieved through the gallery’s internationally important trove of over 55,000 works to uncover some of the best examples of 1950s and 1960s British abstract art, which takes its inspiration from the natural landscape.

The textiles add another dimension to the overall exhibition

An intimate exhibition that allows you to explore a selection of works by artists including Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Victor Pasmore, it’s a unique interpretation of the world around us.  Some of the exhibitions highlights include works by Gillian Ayres, whose sensuous scribbles make perfect sense of the natural balance of the British landscape, as well as Patrick Procktor’s painting, Single Figure in a Landscape in which the natural world appears to merge with the domestic around a solitary central figure in an exploration between landscape and the body.

It also mustn’t be forgotten that the Whitworth houses an important and extensive collection of textiles.  For this exhibition, pieces from the collection demonstrating the relationship between the work of designers of this period and the exhibition’s selected artworks have been incorporated in the display.  These are mostly furnishing textiles, including examples by designers such as William Scott; the textiles add another dimension to the overall exhibition demonstrating the designers’ reinvention of nature for the domestic interior.

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