The landscape art of Paul Nash (1889-1946) encompasses both modernist impulses and a traditional rural life.
Spring Landscape, 1930 c.
Though today he is most appreciated for his modernist and surrealist tendencies, Nash's naturalistic landscape work has a tautness of design and occasionally a twist in its tail that distinguish it from the more staid output of contemporary landscapists like Gilbert Spencer and his brother John Nash. Unlike conventionally bucolic views of southern England, evoking this plane or that hill as static, topographical entities, Nash often gave his paintings the sense of something happening. A bird flies across the wood, branches sway in the breeze, trees stand watch on a hill, water trickles down a path. In an encounter with this art, the viewer discovers something with its own pulse - a living place which is at once mediated and constructed by Nash's picture.