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Land, Sea, and Sky | Paul Nash in Oxford
Oxford Festival of the Arts

In Summer 2024, Land, Sea, and Sky  will draw on the holdings of the Ashmolean Museum, the Tate archives, a number of Oxford colleges and private collections, seeking to bring the work of renowned British surrealist painter and war artist Paul Nash to a new generation of viewers – shedding light on the Oxfordshire locations that inspired his work and the Oxonian women who supported him. This project is in collaboration with Oxford Festival of the Arts and a team of curators, writers, researchers and art historians from across the country.

From the 11th May - 9th June​.

Gallery open 11am-4pm on weekends and 4pm-7pm on Thursday & Friday.

Paul Nash Poster.jpg




Paul Nash Events Schedule:

The exhibition will be open for half an hour before and after each of the events linked to it. Entry is free, however booking for talks is suggested.

How to See Wars? Artistic Interventions into the Landscapes of Power - Aida Hozić (book here)

Wednesday 15th May, 6:30pm, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College 

Wars are ubiquitous in the everyday lives of people who imagine themselves living in peace. Yet, it is easy not to see them, even if they are constantly in the news. In this lecture, guided by works of Paul Nash and others, Aida, Hozić, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Florida, whose research is situated at the intersections of feminist political economy, cultural studies, and international security, proposes that to see wars, we must look sideways, elsewhere, and outside of the frame of the visuals served to us daily. 

Out of Chaos - A Documentary: 'Why in the height of a world war, should there be this terrific interest in painting?' (1944) (no booking required)

Wednesday 22nd May, 6-8pm, The Allen & Overy Room, Pembroke College (run time 27 mins, on loop)

Acclaimed documentary director Jill Craigie's enlightening account of the role of art in WWII is something of a filmic mural. From Henry Moore's drawings of the London Underground during bombing raids to Stanley Spencer's evocative shipbuilding panels, via Evelyn Dunbar's depiction of land girls, all the big names in the 1940s art world make an appearance in this film. Paul Nash is shown at work in Oxford's Cowley Dump, making sketches for his WWII masterpiece 'Totes Meer'.

Dave McKean in conversation with David Boyd Haycock (book here)

Wednesday 29th May, 6:30pm, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College 

Dave McKean is an internationally renowned graphic artist, musician, and filmmaker whose work includes his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on The Sandman, and with Grant Morrison on the Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum.

In 2016 he wrote and illustrated Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, as part of the Imperial War Museum's commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. Tonight, Dave will be in conversation with Oxford-based art historian, author, curator, and lecturer David Boyd Haycock, talking about his work and the recent publication ofThalamus, a majestic 2-volume retrospective collection of his art.

Paul Nash Curatorial panel discussion - Christopher Baines, Michelle Castelletti, Jan Cox, David Boyd Haycock, Ian Holgate, Peter Vass (book here)

Wednesday 5th June, 6:30pm, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College 

Join the curatorial team for an informal discussion on the work of Paul Nash, and how this fits within his whole output and within Oxfordshire.

A very British Surrealist? The Enduring Legacy of Paul Nash - Will Gompertz in conversation with Myroslava Hartmond (book here)

Sunday 9th June, 6pm, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College 

Paul Nash's enduring legacy as Britain's foremost Surrealist is inextricably linked to his experience of the two World Wars. His evocative visions, such as 'Totes Meer' (Dead Sea) of 1941, inspired by aircraft wreckage at the Cowley Dumps in East Oxford, translated the prosaic ugliness of wartime into an unmistakable poetic language that conveyed his love for the English landscape.

2024 marks 100 years since André Breton advocated for 'pure psychic automatism' in his first Surrealist Manifesto and made a case for dreams as a worthy subject in art. In an unstable world torn asunder by war, the rise of totalitarianism, and sweeping social and economic change, Surrealism became the vehicle of expressing the anxiety, rage, and conflicted desires felt by leading artists of the movement, including Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Ithell Colquhoun, and Paul Nash.

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