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  • Writer's pictureSarah Moncrieff

Where would I be without…

- David Bomberg -

What an extraordinary show the exhibition of David Bombergs’ paintings is, now at The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. Not just because of Bomberg’s superb work but because I was overwhelmed with sadness that this artist didn’t get the recognition he deserved during his lifetime.

His life tells the tale of one so familiar with artists, their success or otherwise in the hands of a few, with set ideas of their own, that can make or break you. Bomberg was commissioned as a war artist during the Second World War (having experienced war first-hand himself in the trenches during the First World War) but his works were largely rejected. Here Bomberg’s “The Bomb Store” 1943 demonstrates his ability to convey a complex space with economy of mark.

Bomberg’s legacy lives on and I find as an artist that bold shapes, colours and line appeal to me and I like to extract from a chaotic scene some sense of order. I work with colour, form and texture to achieve a balance between the solid and the delicate as seen in my painting of “Engines on the production line” from my visit to the Mini/BMW plant, Oxford.

Reading about him at the exhibition, his wife urged him not to take on teaching, fearing it would mean he had less time to paint, which it inevitably did. However, his teaching gained a reputation and Bomberg’s influence is apparent in the work of his former pupils Leon Kossof and Frank Auerbach, masters of expressionist painting.

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Feb 23, 2018

Sarah, it is fascinating to see the very clear influence of David Bomberg on your own work. The boldness and economy of line in his and your paintings is very evident. (And one I find very hard to emulate!). Without David Bomberg (and hence Leon Kossof and Frank Auerbach) you would indeed have been a different artist. Our lives and tastes are undoubtedly influenced by people whose work we admired in our formative years. The fact that such a man failed to receive his due recognition must be especially poignant for you.

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