Monday, 2 July 2012
Norah Pearse: Splash!
If the British are not depressed by the rain, they are alarmed by the sea. Splash by the Exmouth artist, Norah Pearse, has both elements but transformed for comic effect. The falling wave and the puddles of sea-water are obviously literal in an arch comic-book fashion. It seems very thirties the way she tries and gets away with it, all with the intention of capturing one of those insouciant pastimes the British go in for along the sea-front. I have done it many times. She has taken the gusto of the Grosvenor School and subtracted the modernist artistry. This is Recording Britain for the fun of it and not as part of a commission.
This little linocut also records another of my homes. I used to have a flat no more than two ot three hundred metres from this sea-wall. I couldn't see the Channel because of the houses in the way but the sails of yachts would slip by surprisingly close. (The sea comes right in at that point - hence the splashes).
It's a shame I couldn't find a better image for Of tigers, watched by children. It is very hard to judge it by this hopeless monitor image. Pearse trained at Exeter School of Art before going on to teach, but so far as I can make out only began to make her handful of colour woodcuts and colour linocuts when she reached her late forties. But you can see here, the emphasis is on leisure and that she has learned the lessons of the Grosvenor School and taken a look at popular activities and dumped genre. This is what I like about her. She shows us the places she knows and likes but doesn't over-emphasise them. I also like her sense of humour, and her sense of irony, and the way she plays off the raw against the tame.