Art of the Machine Age (Modern British Abstraction 1956 – 2017)

28th September – 14th November 2017


The taste for Modern British Art has grown considerably over the past decade. There are certain forms and characteristics which place this genre firmly in the British landscape, however artists of the late 1940’s and 1950’s bridge a cultural division between two distinct periods of art history.

In the pre war era compositions remain predominantly classical, referring to the figure, the landscape, and other Victorian themes; even Picasso with his experimental lust chose subjects which were more or less classical.

The post war era brings a noticeable change. Artists seem to awaken from a pastoral sleep, into the fuel consuming world of the machine age, the monstrous hardware of WW2 wiping Victorian sentiment from their memories. Abstract Expressionism appears to be an authentic response to the realities of a new, noisier, and perhaps more unkind world.

Knight Webb Gallery presents Art of the Machine Age as an extension of our contemporary art program. Early paintings by Alan Davie, Adrian Heath, and William Gear hang alongside recent abstract works by contemporary artists, whose visions resonate with the melancholic optimism of post war Britain.

This is Knight Webb Gallery’s first exhibition of period artworks; however, we have been building modern collections behind the scenes for many years. Our relationships with collectors around the world allow us to locate outstanding artworks, which have not yet circulated through the secondary market and auction houses.