13 October 2017 – 8 April 2018, Main Galleries, IMMA
IMMA is delighted to present William Crozier, The Edge of the Landscape. This is the first major presentation of Crozier’s work in Ireland since the retrospective held at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork and the RHA, Dublin in 1991. Best-known in Ireland for the lyrical landscapes made close to his home in West Cork from the mid-1980s, this exhibition of 30 works presents William Crozier’s early work, inspired by the Existentialist movement and the anxieties of the post-war period.
For Crozier the landscape was the source of his visceral paintings. Instinctive, animated brush strokes convey the primitive energy he unearthed in the natural world. This is evident in both the lyrical landscapes of his West-Cork work, and the ravaged landscapes of this earlier period; symbolising the torment and fear of the post-war condition at the heart of existentialism.
In the introduction to Crozier’s 1961 solo exhibition, critic G. M. Butcher wrote; “if there is one thing that Crozier wishes to get across in all his painting, it is a mood of fear, anxiety, unease. This is his personal reaction to the world as it is – where savagery is only just beneath the surface.”
Commenting on the exhibition Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA said; “William Crozier turned to landscape painting at a time when Abstraction was dominating artistic discourse, a gesture typical of an artist who consistently sought an individual vision and artistic path. His connections to European painting and writers single him out as a unique voice. His quotation of Existentialism, and his expressionist style create very potent images – yet few of these seminal works have been seen in major exhibitions. This exhibition hopes to address that gap and reposition Crozier as an essential post-war painter.”
The Edge of the Landscape is curated by Seán Kissane at two separate locations. The first part of the exhibition was presented at the West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen from 15 July to 31 August 2017 and the second part opens in IMMA on Friday 13 October 2017.
As we enter the second year of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project it is timely to offer a presentation of another artist who, like Lucian Freud, was a central part of the post-war London art scene, but who was also a much-loved Irish painter. Our broader programme regularly explores the very close cultural links between Ireland and Britain, and Crozier is a prime example of an artist who straddled both territories throughout his career. He began to exhibit in London in the late 1950s and was a central part of the Soho scene that included Freud and Francis Bacon.
The Edge of the Landscape is presented in association with West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen and is supported by the Crozier Circle:
Mareta & Conor Doyle
Celtic Ross Hotel
Kelly’s Resort Hotel
And Anonymous Supporters
Admission is free.
About the Artist
William Crozier (1930 – 2011) was born in Glasgow where he would later attend the Glasgow School of Art. His paternal family were Irish, from Co Antrim and as a child he often visited his grandparents at their home in Ballinderry. As a teenager he hitchhiked all around the country and developed a love of Ireland that would remain with him throughout his life. Immediately on leaving art college he travelled to post-war Paris where he absorbed the Existential writings of Sartre and de Beauvoir that became central to his practice as an artist. London was Crozier’s main base where he moved in the same circles in Soho as Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.
In 1953 he moved to Dublin with his family and made a living painting theatre sets. At the time he made few connections to visual artists but became friends with some of the greatest writers of the time: Anthony Cronin, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien. These writers, particularly Kavanagh, shaped Crozier’s thinking about Ireland and influenced how he saw and represented the landscape in his work. Crozier maintained contact with these writers throughout the 60s and Cronin invited him to spend some time with him near Malaga, which inspired a large body of new work inspired by the landscape of heat and vines. Around this time he began to teach at Winchester School of Art. Crozier’s relationship with Ireland deepened when he adopted Irish citizenship in 1973 and finally bought a home in West Cork in 1983. This began a hugely productive period of work as he grappled with the powerful landscape there. He would go on to produce some of the most iconic works of the Irish landscape made in the latter half of the twentieth century. William Crozier was an elected member of Aosdána as well as honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and represented both Ireland and the UK internationally in numerous museum collections including Tate, London; Imperial War Museum, London; National Museum in Gdansk, Poland; and the National Gallery of Ireland.
Associated Talks and Events
Curators Talk & Exhibition Preview
Thurs 12 Oct, 6pm / Lecture Room
Seán Kissane, Curator, Exhibitions, IMMA, introduces the retrospective of William Crozier. Kissane considers the darker impetus behind Crozier’s early works that continued throughout Crozier’s career. Admission is free but tickets must be booked in advance, book now
Curator’s Lunchtime Talk / William Crozier: The Edge of the Landscape – Drop In
Friday 19 January 2018, 1.15pm / Meeting Point, IMMA Main Reception
Join Seán Kissane for a gallery walk through of William Crozier: The Edge of the Landscape where a selection of artworks and key exhibition themes will be explored in the galleries. Spaces are limited.
Lecture / Sarah Victoria Turner
Savagery, just beneath the surface: William Crozier’s early work
Wednesday 14 March 2018, 6.30pm, Johnston Suite, IMMA
William Crozier’s early work bursts across the canvas with an intensity of purpose and a raw energy, capturing something of the fear, anxieties, and also the ambitions, of the post-war period. Returning to the London art world into which Crozier arrived in 1957, this talk will situate Crozier’s painting within the artistic and intellectual circles which shaped Crozier and his early work. Crozier was not part of any one group, rather his early career was shaped by a diverse and international constellation of characters and relationships. By following Crozier to London in the 1950s and early ‘60s –a journey which takes us via Glasgow, Paris, Dublin, Folkstone and Essex – we can map something of a more expansive history of post-war painting and connections to the work of other artists such as Lucian Freud and Frank Bowling.
Lecture / Dr Sarah Victoria Turner
Date to be confirmed
Dr Sarah Victoria Turner is Deputy Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London. She is also Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Sarah’s research interests encompass many aspects of British art from 1850 to 1950 and she has published her work in exhibition catalogues, academic publications and online. In 2018, she will co-curate a major exhibition with Mark Hallett at the Royal Academy in London to mark 250 years of the Academy’s Summer Exhibitions. She is co-editor of the multi-award winning British Art Studies, an open-access online journal.
The Edge of the Landscape is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with texts by Riann Coulter, Curator at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studios, County Down, Katharine Crouan, art historian and former Head of Winchester School of Art and wife of the late William Crozier, Mark Hudson, writer, journalist, and critic for The Telegraph, Enrique Juncosa, poet and former Director, IMMA, Seán Kissane, Curator, Exhibitions, IMMA and Dr Sarah Turner, Deputy Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre. Available from the IMMA Shop €30.00.
An edition by William Crozier Untitled, Kilcoe Strand is presented by IMMA in association with the Artist’s Estate and The Graphic Studio, Dublin on the occasion of William Crozier: The Edge of the Landscape. Photo-intaglio on archival etching paper, Untitled, Kilcoe Strand is a Limited edition of 120, each stamped and signed by the William Crozier Estate. Price: Unframed: 38.5 x 30.5 cm – €95, Framed 42.5 x 34.5 cm – €145.
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