Wednesday, 25 March 2015

British Surrealism Opened Up - Jeffrey Sherwin

Jeffrey Sherwin                 Photo:  Richard Wilcocks
Charlotte Gray writes:
Headingley library was packed out last night for Jeffrey Sherwin’s talk introducing his new book: British Surrealism Opened Up. Having had surrealism pop up in my studies before, but never having encountered the British side of the movement, I was interested to find out more.

What struck me about Jeffrey’s delivery was the honesty with which he talked about art. He wasn’t apprehensive about admitting that he wasn’t an art historian, but just a man lucky enough to have been friends with artists and who had collected their work. For a newcomer to the concept of British surrealism, this honesty allowed for an engaging talk on a subject that could have been quite intimidating.

He said that what appealed to him about specifically British surrealist art was the placing of everyday elements of British life in a new and interesting context, which immediately intrigued me. He then went on to show photographs of several works that made up his collection and showcased this turning of the familiar on its head.

As well as providing a background to the art itself, Jeffrey made room in his talk for unexpected anecdotes about well-known artists. As a former Leeds City Councillor and leading figure in the building of the Henry Moore Institute, he had delightfully Yorkshire-based stories to tell about Moore himself. He also turned out to be quite an authority on the history of Salvador Dali’s moustache!

British Surrealism Opened Up was an altogether enjoyable evening that inspired me to find out more about the art of the British Surrealist movement. Framed by jokes, anecdotes, and plenty of pictures, the talk introduced a book that looks set to be an enjoyable and accessible way in to a fascinating group of artists.

Audience comments:

A most informative and amusing lecture – clearly explained especially as Dr. Sherwin has had direct contact with many of the artists. Please may we have another talk on surrealism next year?

A fascinating account of a unique private collection – a collection of extremely rare British surrealist painters. It was very interesting that Jeffrey took a shine to the quaintness of surreal paintings and sculptures at the very start of that particular art movement. As he says, he would not be able to afford his own collection today.

Informative, very passionate and enthusiastic when discussing white male surrealists. Doug was vey good, very professional and dealt with Jeffrey well.

Informative, delivered in an entertaining manner. The lecture was accompanied by excellent slides of works of art and of artists.

A pleasant wander through a collection and its raison d’être.

A unique and personal view of surrealism by a collector. Most interesting.

An excellent idea to have an expert lecture on an aspect of art – makes a change from the many artistic performances. Much appreciated.

Great to hear all the stories behind the art especially the sordid ones.

A very entertaining evening – what a remarkable man and collector. Learned a lot! Thanks.

Very engaging and entertaining delivery. Worthwhile experience.

A most enjoyable presentation. Easy on the eye and the ear.

Excellent talk. Interesting, informative and amusing. Learned a lot.

A wonderful talk, Jeffrey. Thanks.

Interesting, witty, a real character. Loved it!

Informative, witty, entertaining.

Very enjoyable evening.

Great stories!




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