Surprisingly, little has been written about the Still Life paintings of Joash Woodrow. They form a group of some of the beautiful and lyrical pictures produced by the artist created throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
The following excerpt was written by Nicholas Usherwood and Christopher Wood for the Joash Woodrow Monograph published in 2004.
“Somewhere towards the end of this period Joash, still using the same broad brushstrokes and flattened pictorial space used in the landscapes, also seems to have started a series of luminous, semi-abstract still-life’s. In these works he seems more concerned with the actual surface quality of the paintings and, while still using the same kind of sackcloth sewn together as a support, he starts exploring, in an almost playful manner, the dynamics of composition and materials to produce some startlingly original works. \ for example, is extraordinary for the sheer range of devices Joash employed to apply paint; as well as a wide number of specialist and commercially available brushes, he improvises with scrapers, squeegee’s and uses the handles of his brushes to scrape through the congealing paint. In this picture too, he drops raw, dry pigment to mimicking the icing sugar dusted on the cake in the centre right of the painting before scratching through the paint to give an indication of how it was decorated. What makes this painting so particularly interesting is the dynamic balance he achieves between the naturalistic linear perspective of the table, the blue knives, the plate on which the cake sits and even the jug at the back of the table, which all follow the normal rules of perspective, while the left-hand side of the composition and the bowl of fruit at the back are completely flattened, their shapes abstracted for the purpose of its overall design. The juxtaposition of different spaces within one painting is not, of course, unique in modern art but it is, nevertheless, used with a very considerable power of expression and visual sophistication of a kind that is not that common in British art of the post-war period.”