Saturday, 7 April 2012

Paule Vezelay

Paule Vezelay at Tate Modern. Paule Vezelay was a British-born artist who worked in Paris from 1926 till 1939. She changed her name from Marjorie Watson-Williams to Paule Vezelay in order to obscure both her nationality and her gender. The adoption of Vezelay was in homage to the romanesque church in Vezelay and Paule had an androgunous resonance in the era of the liberated 'garconne' . She was one of the first British artists to embark on a lifelong exploration and development of abstraction.

"I was producing pure abstract art from 1928" she claimed retrospectively, but there was a surrealist interlude which was very important to her work and it is something that I wish to explore in the future.

Construction: Grey Lines on Pink, 1938.

This painting is based on what she saw as the most basic artistic language: curved and straight lines. It shows how these simple forms can suggest both movement and space.

Curves and Circles, 1930.

The rounded forms and calligraphic markings give the impression of floating in an atmospheric, cloudy space.

The Tate held a retrospective of Paul Vezelay in 1983, but even so, I had not heard of her before. The first time I saw any of her pictures was last month when I discovered the blog Down by the Dougie, who posted on Vezelay on 24 Feb. I have been following this blog ever since.