Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre presents William Crozier: The Edge of the Landscape

Departure from the Island, 1993, Oil on canvas. Courtesy Flowers, London.

WEST Cork Arts Centre is proud to present a major retrospective of the art of William Crozier (1930-2011), opening on Friday 14th July, at 7pm. Best-known in Ireland for the lyrical landscapes he made close to his home in West Cork from the mid-1980s, this exhibition presents these familiar works against a backdrop of his early work inspired by the Existentialist movement and the anxieties of the post-war period.

The exhibition will be shown sequentially across two venues: with Crozier’s later works from 1985 showing at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, from 15 July to 31 August, and his earlier works shown at IMMA: Irish Museum of Modern Art, from 12 October 2017 to 8 April 2018. Both exhibitions are curated by Seán Kissane (Curator, Exhibitions, IMMA).

William Crozier was fifteen years old when WWII came to an end. He was too young to be conscripted, but old enough to be deeply scarred by its effects. Crozier began to exhibit in the early 1950s and his bleak views of the British landscape, seen in works like Essex Landscape (1959), are imbued with a darkness and pessimism that is immediately apparent.

Crozier’s time spent in Paris, and his encounter with the Existential writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, gave a voice to this malaise, and became a touchstone for the work he would make over the next fifty years. In the early 60s the human figure enters the work, but it is often interred in the blasted landscape or, later in the 70s it is flayed and skeletal. William Crozier turned to landscape painting at a time when Neo-Expressionism was dominating artistic discourse, a gesture typical of an artist who consistently sought an individual vision and artistic path.

Crozier’s connections to European painting and writers single him out as a unique voice. His quotation of Existentialism, and his expressionist style create very potent images – yet few of these seminal works have been seen in major exhibitions. This exhibition hopes to address that gap and reposition Crozier as an important post-war painter.

A major publication edited by Katharine Crouan and Seán Kissane, and designed by Peter Maybury, accompanies the exhibition with texts by Mark Hudson, Katharine Crouan, Seán Kissane, Riann Coulter, Enrique Juncosa, and Sarah Turner. Everyone is welcome to attend the opening of the exhibition on Friday 14th July, as Seán Kissane (Curator, IMMA), hosts an illustrated talk at 6pm, and the exhibition will be officially opened by Sarah Glennie (Director, IMMA) at 7pm. For more details, visit www.westcorkartscentre.com