One of Richard's most important wartime works imbued with Surrealist imaginings, poetic line and analogy, it was shown at Leger gallery in 1942 and echoes the themes in the Tate's Blossom,1940. The term blossom indicates the rather cynical description of the shape left by aerial bombardment.
Here we see the horrors of war through the eyes of one of Britain's greatest ever lyrical painters. Tinged with his own experience of war ravaged Cardiff, Richard's presents us with chaos and death, sensulaity and hope. The cycle of life. Death and regeneration. The whole is a great poetic creation and a vivid insight into the terrors of war.
A central feature of Target Blossom is part of his Study for Terror sculpture of 1937 with its catherine -wheel/target like form. Intertwined female forms lie prostrate, one with eyes sewn closed to the horrors of war and one with what appears to be a gas mask. There are landscape forms and a large reclining figure. Above the target form, a phantasmagoric black figure seems to rise upwards towards the heavens while on the left side a "blossom" of fire , most probably from aerial bombs, illuminates the sky. The black figure is positioned next to a huge flower-like form, thus contrasting life and death and despair and hope and renewal. Cardiff was subject to intense bombing during 1941 and Richards was working as a night-watchman and aircraft spotter, on one occasion being badly burned by a flamming object. There are also profusions of anthropomorphic and biomorphic shapes, flower forms and sensual lines.
While Richards was influenced by Ernst, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso and others, his work is immensely original and idiosyncratic while leaving him at the fore of what might be seen as an unusually European style. Henry Moore stated: "More than any other British painter of his time, he understood three dimensional form ... his drawing is so assured, so full of energy ... Ceri's work has authority because of his drawing".
Leger Galleries, 1942
Mr Evan Charlton.
Leger Galleries, 1942
Ceri Richards Memorial Exhibition, 1973, National Museum of Wales, cat.41.