Sutherland, Graham OM
Sutherland's early works include landscapes with surrealistic overtones. Throughout his career, the artist developed an interest in natural forms, such as tree roots and thorn bushes, which he often depicted in his paintings. In 'Standing Form Against a Hedge', the tall hedge plants create a backdrop for an organic sculpture, visible in the centre. These types of 'standing forms' appeared in Sutherland's paintings since 1949 and were inspired by the sight of human figures standing in a room or set against a hedge. The artist explained that they were substitutes for human forms, employed as a means of capturing the essence of a person: 'My Standing Forms, to me, are monuments and presences. But why use these forms instead of human figures? Because, at the moment, I find it necessary to catch the taste, the quality, the essence of the presence of the human figure (…) by a substitution. Again, at the moment, I find that I can make these qualities more real to myself in this way. I find these organic forms best for my purpose. They themselves are emotionally modified from the natural prototype. They give me a sense of the shock of surprise which direct evocation could not do.'
Graham Sutherland was born in 1903 in Streatham near London. He studied art at Goldsmith's School of Art in London (1921-25), where he quickly became a highly skilled etcher. Between 1940 and 1945, Sutherland was employed as an official war painter during the Second World War, depicting bomb damage and industry.
- Artwork Details: 134.6 x 116.8cm
- Material description: oil on canvas
- Credit line: © Estate of Graham Sutherland
- Theme: Figurative
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: AC 188