Herculaneum Oil Tanks and Foreshore

WAG 10713


Bisson's avant-garde interest in Surrealism was already well developed before the major Surrealism exhibition in London in 1936. His use of Surrealist and abstract elements was a result of his study of art journals and visits to Parisien galleries, as well as his observation of young, leading British artists who expressed the contemporary spirit in their work. This is a semi-abstract variation of Bisson’s watercolour ‘Dingle Foreshore’ (WAG 10715), also in the Walker Art Gallery's collection. This image appears almost psychedelic due to the wavy shapes and lines which seem in perpetual motion. The meandering line separating the shore from the river suggests a template for the compositional pattern, turning this image into a study of movement and colour. The dark colour of the sky and the turbulent flow of the river echoed beneath seem to signal an impending storm, in stark contrast to the sunny atmosphere of ‘Dingle Foreshore’. This work was exhibited as part of the 'Roderick Bisson' exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 1987.