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Natural Focus - A show in collaboration with

We've collaborated with to take a look at works in our collection that our works that focus on nature.

As the New Year is well and truly underway, we would like to take a moment to appreciate the natural world. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the year ahead. Taking some time to step back, look up from screens, find some quiet and look at the world around us, really helps to rebalance perspectives.

“Enjoyment of the landscape is a thrill.” - David Hockney

We explore the vibrant views of East Yorkshire with David Hockney’s series of images from Midsummer: East Yorkshire, originally presented by the artist as a series of 36 watercolours in 2004. He explains that though East Yorkshire appears to be home to lots of uninteresting little hills, they are unique; by glaciers rather than rivers which make them quite unusual.

Hockney worked in pre-mixed colour so he could work as fast as possible, and didn’t allow himself the comfort of any underdrawing in pencil. The result has a refreshingly vivid beauty.

“Nature is a mere pretext for a decorative composition, plus sentiment. It suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art.” - Georges Braque

Our Braque pieces are mainly focused on birds and agriculture from the 1950s and 60s. The bird symbol provides both a poignant reflection on a life's work that concentrated on the artists's theoretical preoccupation with space and movement in space; but can also perhaps be read as an intense enquiry into the impending release of the spirit from its mortal bounds.

Read the full exploration of Braque's bird motif here.

"Great art picks up where nature ends.”- Marc Chagall

Through nature, Chagall depicts his unique creative perspective, infused with magic realism. We see this through his exuberance, use of colour and exceptional draftsmanship. We see a variety of colour, often not matching nature’s reality, from pale blue hues to bold reds and greens. He is a master of brushwork, using black line in such a way that while creating movement and detail he maintains a surreal serenity to his works.

Calder's natural focus is even wider than the landscapes. He wants to emulate the spaciousness of the universe and the things suspended within it. In our collection he focuses on specific things such as vegetables and flowers. It's as if he regards them as being their own little universes, especially, ‘L’Onion’, 1966, which resembles a planet. He uses bold colour on white backgrounds to ensure this sense of space is maintained. It’s easy to see the correlation between this approach and his infamous mobiles.

See the full show here and start to see the world through these artists eyes.

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