Vorticist Composition with Figures, Black and White
Among the first British artists to work in a non-figurative style, Helen Saunders was one of only two women members of the Vorticists, a radical but short-lived London-based modern art movement (1914-15) influenced by Cubism.
This bold, hard-edged composition, with its sharp geometric forms and dramatic contrasts of black and white, reflects Vorticism’s decisive break with the art of the past. Also characteristic is the structuring of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the centre of the sheet. The forms in the lower half of the drawing suggest human figures at the mercy of a colossal machine, undoubtedly reflecting the events of the First World War.