Inspired as a young artist by Cézanne and Picasso, Blair Hughes-Stanton imagined he could spend a lifetime painting bathers and couples in haystacks. This exhibition, displayed in the gallery that was was once his house and studio, charts his life and loves over five decades.
Known to conoscenti for his fine wood-engravings for private press books, he has received less attention for the personal work done on his own account. One reason perhaps is that he was reticent about showing such work and having to talk about it. While he might not have been in any way coy himself, it is a different matter exposing your personal desires and celebrations to more prudish scrutiny. In 1928 he had seen his friend and hero, DH Lawrence’s exhibition raided by the police, but that work was different, deliberately shocking, and worse, appallingly painted.
Even now in a different century it is difficult often to guage where the boundaries of “taste and decency” lie or come to a consensus about the issues around “the male gaze”. While there is in most of his work an undeniable erotic charge, it cannot be classed as erotic art. The figure is the starting point for expressing something universal and timeless, firmly rooted though the subject might be in the present. The women are identifiably different as he moved through three marriages, but not to the degree of portraiture, especially of course in the phases when he experimented with levels of abstraction. A modernist from the start, his style, although clearly always his own, changed roughly in line with prevailing fashions through the decades.
Independent wood-engravings, drawings, paintings in oil and watercolour, monotypes and lino-engravings have been selected to show Blair Hughes-Stanton’s devotion to the human figure, his celebration of couples and coupling, with the inevitable offspring, and the importance of such love in the circle of human life.
- Open on Saturdays, 10 am - 5 pm or by appointment.
These images are a selection of the works available at the Gallery Please contact the gallery for further information