EDWARD MIDDLEDITCH: Abstract Landscape

3 April - 3 May 2024
James Hyman Gallery is delighted to present Edward Middleditch. Abstract Landscape which includes major paintings and meticulous drawings which explore his obsessive observations of nature and the landscape.

One of the leading Modern British Artists of the last fifty years, Edward Middleditch first gained prominence in the mid 1950s as a `kitchen-sink' painter, along with John Bratby, Derrick Greaves and Jack Smith.  Although celebrated for their bold, matter of fact presentation of prosaic subjects that were often urban and domestic, Middleditch was at heart a painter of the rural landscape and of nature, which he increasingly abstracted and stylised.


The selected works celebrate the epic weight of a massive hillside in Spain; the immense detail of a field of corn or beans in Suffolk; and the lightness of the sun dancing on a pool of water in a neighbour's garden or darting through the foliage of his own apple trees. Trees across a landscape are created by masking or by stencilling shapes and corn is depicted by rubbing away charcoal to provide a glimmering presence.  


In Edward Middleditch's Garden Landscape (1969) a rhythmic row of trees stretches endlessly across the picture plane and a series of flowers expands before our gaze. The effect is at once highly ordered, exquisitely patterned and serenely classical. It is also highly decorative and deeply artificial. The flowers derive from a Persian carpet or kilim, whilst the trees come from the toy Lego of the artist's daughter Emily. 


For all the critical discussion of a landscape tradition, Middleditch's was a peculiarly individual response. Whilst it is true that Nature was at the heart of his work - indeed people are virtually absent and urban scenes are a rarity - it was merely a starting point for pictures that became ever more personal, formal and abstract.