I haven’t worked out quite when I’ll manage to get to Chichester to see this exhibition but I’m really looking forward to the time I do. An entire exhibition dedicated to watercolour is a rare treat – especially when it’s by one of the most technically gifted exponents of watercolour ever to wield a brush. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of all his work but any artist that chooses to work almost exclusively in watercolour, and whose choice of subject matter includes the seedy, the bizarre and the beautiful, is well worth spending some time with. Also, as most of the works that make up this exhibition are from private collections it’s unlikely that such an extensive collection of Burra’s work will be gathered under one roof again anytime soon.
The exhibition seems to be heralding a re-appraisal of Burra’s work and indeed life, which is great as he seemed reluctant to say or reveal much about himself at all during his own lifetime. I came across a couple of videos that shed only a glimmer of light but make interesting viewing nevertheless. The first is Andrew Graham Dixon previewing the exhibition on the BBC Culture Show which briefly shows an excerpt of one the artist’s few tv interviews that, not unlike his paintings, makes for strangely uncomfortable viewing:
The second is a Tate video that was produced for their major Watercolour exhibition that features Jon Snow speaking in particular about the works of Edward Burra.
I remember Burra’s landscape Valley and River, Northumberland 1972 from the major Tate Watercolour exhibition and it was truly remarkable. I think it’s the landscape paintings that he completed towards to the end of his life that I’m most looking forward to seeing close up. I’ve included a few links below for anyone interested in seeing some of the images that feature in the exhibition, together with a few reviews of the exhibition. I’ll try to pick out my own highlights from the exhibition once I’ve had the opportunity to see it in its entirety.