John Bratby, Kitchen Interior, 1955-6 (Copyright the estate of John Bratby/Bridgeman Art Gallery)
Ana McNay reviews the exhibiton Uproar! The first 50 years of The London Group 1913-1963 at the Ben Uri Museum and Gallery, London, on view through March 2, 2014.
McNay writes that the exhibition "celebrates the first 50 years of the group –which still exists today... In 50 works by 50 artists, it moves through these 50 years, encompassing a variety of styles and movements, including the Camden Town Group roots; the controversy of the early (particularly the first world war) years; the Bloomsbury domination of the 20s; the continual strong showing of Jewish and women artists; its official war artists; some avant-garde sculptors; and the contribution of specific artistic groups, ranging from the Vorticists to the Surrealists, Abstract-Creationists and the Euston Road School. The exhibition overall is a riot of colour, content and style, displaying some of the greatest British art of the early 20th century."
The exhibition, McKenzie writes, "seeks to re-evaluate the work of Duncan Grant (1885-1978) and Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) and their relationship with the avant-garde... Indeed, the Bloomsbury artists' lives were as complex and dramatic as the period itself, with the insecurity and complexity of wartime, changed partnerships, love affairs, and personal tragedy. The period and artists have both been done a great service by the new exhibition."
Alexander writes: "This sprawling but beautifully coherent show features the work of 77 member artists, spanning several generations and comprising a broad range of approaches to abstraction... one is inevitably taken by the variety and depth of the ongoing investigations. One can sense the 75 year tradition, a seasoning and a blooming -- a way of seeing, thinking, living that in many ways is no less radical now than in 1936."
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