Unit One was the title of a British group formed by Paul Nash in 1933 to promote modern art, architecture and design. At this point the two major currents in modern art were seen as being abstract art on the one hand and Surrealism on the other. Unit One embraced the full spectrum, Nash himself making both abstract and Surrealist work in the mid 1930s, and played a major part in organising the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. The launch of the group was announced in a letter from Nash to The Times newspaper, in which he wrote that Unit One was 'to stand for the expression of a truly contemporary spirit, for that thing which is recognised as peculiarly of today in painting, sculpture and architecture'. The first and only group exhibition was held in 1934 accompanied by the book Unit One, subtitled The Modern Movement in English Architecture, Painting and Sculpture. It consisted of statements by all the artists in the group, photographs of their work, and an introduction by the critic and poet Herbert Read, who was an important champion of modernism in Britain. The other artists involved were John Armstrong, John Bigge, Edward Burra, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Edward Wadsworth and the architects Wells Coates and Colin Lucas. Herbert Read's book 'Unit One' used Jack's photographs (uncredited).
This publication 'highlighted the British contribution to the European Abstract movement and aimed at setting it within a wider European context'. Circle contained articles and photographs divided into sections dealing with 'Painting', 'Sculpture', Architecture' and 'Art and Life'. Articles were written by Naum Gabo, Piet Mondrian, Winifred Dacre (Winifred Nicholson), Herbert Read, Le Corbusier, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, J. D. Bernal, J. M. Richards, Maxwell Fry, Marcel Breuer, Richard J. Neutra, Alberto Sartoris, Leslie Martin, S. Giedion, Walter Gropius, Leonide Massine, László Moholy-Nagy, Jan Tschichold, Karel Honzig and Lewis Mumford. Two Arthur Jackson paintings from 1936 are illustrated.
Unit One, Axis and Circle all used Jack's photographs.
Spalding quotes John Piper writing to Ben Nicholson on 5 May 1936 regarding the Abstract & Concrete exhibition:
"There is nobody I'd rather be associated with than you (and Barbara and Jackson) in any continent - but with you and Barbara and Jackson as individuals - as artists - and not as part of a movement. I persist in thinking this very important. I believe that movements are only discovered afterwards. That forcing them at the time of their progress is to kill the artists in them. ... The Abstract - Conc[rete] show I regard as a purely commercial necessity in its present form. As in no way ideal. As a delightful show, because by far the best there has been in England in this century ... But for it to be ideal it would have to be arranged entirely by you or me or Barbara or any one individual with an ideal about such work."