ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Wyndham Lewis
Wyndham Lewis (1882 - 1957) was an English painter and one of the key names associated with the Vorticist movement. He was also a prolific writer and the editor of BLAST magazine, a fleeting Vorticist publication. Vorticism was a kind of amalgamation of Cubism and Futurism (make of that what you will). But Lewis was also linked to the Camden Town Group and the Bloomsbury Group’s Omega Workshops.
Despite not being a particularly big household name in British art, Lewis should be considered as a pretty important figure in both avant-garde art and writing. The Tate collection holds a fair few works by Lewis, so head there if you’re interested in this kind of expressive, dynamic style.
Wyndham Lewis, 1939, Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound was an American poet and critic, who wrote for English Vorticist Wyndham Lewis’s short-lived literary magazine BLAST that ran from 1914 to 1915. Throughout his career, he worked for substantially long periods in London, Italy and the United States, and briefly in Paris.
Wyndham Lewis, 1912-13, Planners: Happy Day
From the Tate:
Between 1911 and 1913 Lewis experimented with Cubism. However, when he later recalled the process by which he made this work, he used language similar to that used by the artist Wassily Kandinsky. He wrote ‘The way those things were done…is that a mental-emotive impulse is let loose upon a lot of blocks and lines of various dimensions, and encouraged to push them around and to arrange them as it will.’ Kandinsky exhibited in London during the years 1909-13. His abstract style must have appealed to avant-garde artists such as Lewis.
The Crowd by Wyndham Lewis, c.1915
Workshop by Wyndham Lewis, c.1914. This is an example of the Vorticist movement, co-founded by British artist Wyndham Lewis. Similar to Cubism and Futurism, Vorticism involves bold, angular linework which creates strong movements in the visual images such as in Workshop.