Monday, November 28, 2016

British Masters - We Are Making a New World (Episode One)

As I began to watch this one I thought, this is awfully depressing to be watching on such a gloomy day but I ended up getting a lot out of it. This deals mostly with how war affected the British artists and how it shaped their views and their work and how it in turn helped shape the world around them.
The first thing I thought was, this really makes me feel like I'm not doing enough with my own work. My paintings don't really depict any of the hardships that people are going through today. Should artists be more mindful to include current social situations into their work? Personally I think some artists just have a better voice for those sorts of things. Photographers and videographers definitely have an upper hand on this topic these days.
Second thing that struck me was the artist Nevinson. I actually liked his work that they showed but his story was funny, it reminded me of some people I know, lying about their reality in order to get a wee bit of attention. For Nevinson it worked, but man, doesn't it get to be tiresome to lie all of the time?
Last thing I thought was interesting about the work they showed, it wasn't realistic. It was mostly work about the war, depicted in a way to evoke emotion, not something that was meant to be historically accurate. I think it's impossible to be historically accurate about war. Each side has their version of the story and then the people who witness it and aren't involved, they all have their own way of looking at it.
The title of the show, We Are Making a New World, is true in so many ways. The war created a new world and the artists were also creating a new world of their own.


  1. Whew! Great find! Agree with all your comments. My favorite section was the one on Stanley Spencer. My British painting teacher was mad for his work and though he featured Spencer in our art history class it was without any context of the other British artists or this movement. Consequently, it seemed apropos of nothing. Looked up some of the others and geez, it's great stuff. Somehow the standard art history tracks ignore the UK and give the impression art went from France to America between 1850 and 1950. If you're lucky they might include a Ben Nicholson sculpture or Francis Bacon's pope, but that's about it.
    Also showed me that film and photography overtook painting by the time you get to WW II. The painting about WW I is much more powerful formally and more personal and poignant emotionally. I'm going to watch the other episodes!

    1. Yea, after watching this I felt even more ripped off by my art history education. We never covered this stuff and it's not only relevant to history it's decent work.