Picasso at Red Barn Gallery in Belfast. The 14th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Exhibition runs from 2nd May to 19th May 2013. Echoes from History. Artist: Gerry Gleason.
I have selected the period 1933-1946 from the vast body of Picasso’s work. This period for me covers the turbulent times that took place in the 20th century world history and in Picasso’s own complex private life. I feel that both of these forces fed into Picasso’s work of that period. The Wall Street Crash had occurred in Oct of 1929 with the collapse of stocks and shares and the smaller banks did not have the funds to cope with the huge demand for withdrawals. The world economies were plunged into what would be called the great depression the effects which would last for a decade. During this period the world experienced the rise of extreme political forces. Where as in the past Picasso had been at the forefront of many of modern art’s experimental endeavours such as cubism, I feel he turned his attentions in this period to world events that were unfolding around him. We start to see this unease increase in the Vollard Suite particularly the Minotaur sequence. Art Historians have suggested that he was galvanised by the outbreak of the Spanish civil war 1936-1939 in his native country. Having been commissioned to produce a work for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition of 1937 by the Spanish Republican Government, he brought all his experience and energies to bear after the aerial bombing of Gernika on 26th April 1937 and created that great masterpiece Guernica. I have always felt drawn to the work of that period, particularly the working studies for Guernica which take you on the journey of how a work of that magnitude is brought to life. During the N Ireland Troubles I would often turn to the work of Picasso, Beckmann, Moore and Bacon as touchstones in my own work during that period. So this exhibition is a tribute to that great artist Picasso, a life force I turned to in times of need.