Oli, when looking for inspiration for this season’s collection landed on the lauded abstract landscape painter and sculptor Ben Nicholson OM. Having frequently referenced artworks in the past Oli’s decision to work with the paintings of Ben Nicholson marks an austere shift in Oli’s thinking, focusing on simplicity of shape and the relationship of colour to form with detailing becoming softer and more focused than in previous seasons.
Married for a period to the revered British artist Barbara Hepworth and a contemporary of the likes of Henry Moore and Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson’s work is inspired as much by abstraction as it is by the English landscape and in particular the seascapes of St. Ives, Cornwall where the Tate Gallery currently holds important examples of his work.
After a period of time when his pallete comprised of soft greens, pinks and yellows Nicholson turned to making white wood reliefs returning to colour later in life. In 1937 he sat, with Naum Gabo, as the co-editor of the single edition (and seminal) journal Circle that argued the merits of constructivism as a socially engaged practice. An avid believer in the publics’ entitlement to the enjoyment of abstract art himself, he created Nicholson’s Wall in the garden of Sutton Place in Surrey, a large white wall in which geometric reliefs are sculpted. Nicholson however is best known for his cubist inspired impressions of the Cornish seaside where the vivid pallet both picks out and clashes with abstracted forms of the English countryside and his total abstractions in which earthy shades sit under pale blues, pinks and yellows.
Oli has emphasised the simplicity of form and the vibrant colour pallete throughout this collection with such highlights as the Coram Jacket in Rockham Green and the Panel Tri Tee in Oatmeal/Yellow/Ice Blue jersey showing off the best of his creative approach to other spheres of influence.