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27th Oct, 2021

New exhibition explores the great outdoors

THE GREAT outdoors is explored through landscape paintings, sketches and photographs in a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

The Life Behind The Landscape features more than 60 pieces from the Rugby Collection and focuses on the relationship between people and place, from John Minton’s Mediterranean landscapes to LS Lowry’s iconic depictions of industrial Manchester.

The exhibition captures the spirit of adventure which whisked British artists away on trips to Europe to embrace trends such as impressionism and cubism, and explores the impact of economic and political change on the art of landscape, with artists turning to urban environments for inspiration.

The Life Behind The Landscape also reveals the personal relationship between artist and place, with Ceylon – now Sri Lanka – and Africa’s vivid, tropical colours having a lasting impact on the work of John Napper following a visit as a war artist during the Second World War.

In contrast, Graham Sutherland found endless inspiration closer to home, with the Pembrokeshire coast fuelling his series of surreal, organic landscapes with which he forged his reputation.

Sarah Holdaway, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s senior visual arts officer, said: “We have all become increasingly aware of the importance of outside space and travel during the pandemic, and many of us have been denied the chance to visit places we have special connections with, places which we return to time and again.

“The works featured in The Life Behind The Landscape celebrate the deep connections people forge with place, unique relationships which produce unique depictions of our world.”

The Rugby Collection of modern British contemporary art was established by the council in 1946 and now has more than 200 pieces, including works by Walter Sickert, Prunella Clough and Lucy Jones.

Rugby Borough Council’s leisure and wellbeing spokesman Coun Howard Roberts said: “The annual Rugby Collection exhibition features works by many of the most influential contemporary British artists of the 20th and 21st century.

“After being forced to hold online exhibitions in 2020, we’re delighted to welcome the collection back to our Art Gallery for a piece of summer escapism.”

The Life Behind The Landscape runs at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum until Saturday September 4.

Visit for more information about exhibitions and events at the Art Gallery and Museum.

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