Towner Art Gallery is delighted to announce Ous, a major new commission by international contemporary artist Becky Beasley responding to the gallery’s major collection of works by Eric Ravilious and its forthcoming exhibition, Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, English Artist Designers: 1922 to 1942. In her first work on this scale, Beasley takes Ravilious’ watercolour, The Bedstead (1939) as her starting point in a digressive, spatial deconstruction of the painting that melds the domestic with the pastoral across the six rooms of Towner’s first floor gallery.
The Bedstead depicts a room in a guesthouse in Le Havre in which Ravilious was confined during inclement weather prior to the outbreak of World War II, and which was later destroyed in a bombing raid. Beasley transforms the structures, colours, motifs and surfaces of the room’s interior into distinctive elements that reflect her interest in flatness, light, abstraction, nature and the everyday. Ous explores gardens, weather, domestic interiors, and human presence and absence across a series of installations that present cyanotype prints on vintage French bed linens, ‘shrapnel’ patterns in walls, linoleum floor designs, textile and furniture sculptures, photographs and found objects.
Becky Beasley is known for works investigating the relationships between photography and objects, the body and interiority in a way that is highly subjective and developed through deep immersion in the thoughts and methods of other artists and writers. In 2014 she was nominated for the Contemporary Art Society Award, was shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2009-11 and exhibits regularly in the UK and internationally.
Beasley’s exhibition coincides with the opening at the end of May of Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, English Artist Designers: 1922 to 1942, a major exhibition bringing to life one of the most widely influential artist designer networks of the twentieth century.Focusing on Eric Ravilious and his personal and professional relationships with Paul Nash, John Nash, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman, Tirzah Garwood, Edward Bawden, Thomas Hennell, Douglas Percy Bliss, Peggy Angus, Helen Binyon and Diana Low, the show also marks the 75th anniversary of the artist’s tragic death in Iceland during the Second World War. It comprises over 400 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, engravings, books, ceramics, wallpapers, textiles and other ephemera by practitioners who embraced both fine art and design.