John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace.

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Date: Autumn 2021
From: Art and Christianity(Issue 107)
Publisher: ACE Trust
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,089 words
Lexile Measure: 1580L

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Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne 18 May--26 September 2021

It is a little ironic that an exhibition of an artist, designated as being a countryman, (1) had to be postponed for a year because of a pandemic that provoked in many of us a turn to nature and a desire to be in the countryside. (2) The artist here is the untutored John Nash (1893-1977), whose singular accomplishment as a schoolboy was the winning of the Botany prize, and the exhibition is 'The Landscape of Love and Solace'. Although the Towner is an unremarkable building architecturally, it won the best museum of the year award from the Art Fund in 2020. And this exhibition, jointly curated by Sara Cooper, the Head of Collections at Towner, and Andy Friend, the author of the substantial biography of John Nash that accompanies this exhibition, is a visual cornucopia. It occupied four spacious rooms and displayed the full range of John Nash's extensive oeuvre, from cartoon sketches, watercolours, wood engraving, oil painting, to nature and plant book illustrations.

On entering the exhibition space, the viewer is faced with a quotation: 'The artist's main business is to train his eye to see, then to probe, and then to train his hand to work in sympathy with his eye. I have made a habit of looking, of really seeing.' (3) It echoed an earlier pioneer of the return to nature, the author of Walden, Henry David Thoreau, who said that the natural world invites us to look and to look until we see what is there to be seen. This is familiar territory in both religious and artistic discourse;...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676632976