Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Art & the Olympics

Bob & Roberta Smith -Who is Community?
Trawling Art on the Underground I came across this Olympic film by the artist known as Bob and Roberta Smith. Produced for Stratford station, the artist imagines the founder of the Olympics Baron de Coubertin meeting philosopher Hannah Arendt on the Central Line and falling in love. It is a heart-warming message about hope in the community and Arendt wears a striking green suit with orange shirt that would match my favourite hideous bag.

Chris Ofili - For The Unknown Runner
Currently showing at the New Art Gallery, Walsall is Good Sport celebrating the spirit of taking part, and showing alongside are 12 limited edition prints, commissioned by Counter Editions to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 12 artists include four Turner Prize winners: Martin Creed, Howard Hodgkin, Chris Ofili and Rachel Whiteread, as well as other highly regarded UK artists including Tracey Emin, Michael Craig-Martin, Bridget Riley and Gary Hume. Through their distinct interpretations of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the artists have created a diverse and captivating collection of posters that celebrate London’s hosting the Games, the significance and spectacle of the occasion, and the values the Games uphold. Jackie Mackay

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cork St Galleries

The Three Graces - Euan Eglow
Yesterday we decided to avoid the heavy rain and travel south for inspiration. The first gallery we visited was Browse & Darby showing the works of Euan Euglow. I loved the quirkiness of The Three Graces. The working process with its meticulous measurement lines and holes are clearly evident, but this adds to the interest of the pieces. If you are interested ,Painting Perceptions is a good website to discover more about his technique. Next door was a gallery with some 'palette knife daubs of flowers, trees and landscape' works for the tasteful lounge but then it was Flowers Gallery with more exciting textural works by Terry Setch based on the pollution found on Penarth beach. One very large work, Tide Shift - unframed and screwed to the wall- contained crushed cans so we had to ask how it was stored and transported. Unbelievably it could be rolled. Watch this clip from the BBC to find out more - Framing Wales

Woman on the Edge - John Bellany
Then it was onto Beaux Arts with one of my faves John Bellany - well he does like orange. Bellany has lived through numerous surgeries and near death experiences. Soon after leaving hospital in the 1980s for a liver transplant he wrote to an old friend in capitals: 'COLOUR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING'. This exhibition certainly showed that. Seeing his drawings confirmed the importance of sketching to help to develop your own artiststic language - unfortunately something not pursued enough or even particularly encouraged at some Art Schools in this digital age.
Jackie Mackay

Monday, February 6, 2012

London and the White Cube

 Anselm Keifer - Tempelhof, 2010, 380 x 760cm oil, acrylic and salt on canvas
 Last weekend I went to the White Cube on Bermondsey Road .  A fantastic exhibition of new work by the internationally renowned artist Anselm Kiefer was staged across 11,000 sq ft of gallery space, ‘Ill Mistro delle Cattedrali’ is the largest ever presentation of his work in London.  I was blown away by this work and having seen a lot of his exhibitions  this was the best and is well worth a visit.   

Tobias Rehberger - Again, 2011, wood, paint, acrylic, foil and motor
 Another exhibition visited was ‘Sex and Friends’ at Pilar Corrais Gallery where Tobias Reheberger was exhibiting a new body of work.  He is another artist I admire for his sculptures and installations which principally revolve around the concept of transformation, whilst working with industrial processes and technological innovations. This exhibition shows a series of unique shadow sculptures which, at first glance, seem abstract. They are displayed with special lighting effects casting amorphous shadows on the wall to form a hidden message. Quite a different type of work but for me interesting to see the way he uses his materials and the processes. Avril Elward

Thursday, December 15, 2011

German Art in London

Pretentious Crap - Zhivago Duncan

Just been to London to see the German Art invasion of London - much more interesting than Christmas shopping. I started at the Saatchi Gallery with the Gesamtkunstwerk exhibition. Junk predominates as both material and metaphor. Many of these artists, especially those born in the 1970s, belong to what's been described as the post-po-mo generation.
Duncan’s work 9-foot-by-9-foot cubic vitrine containing a jagged mountain landscape of encircling train tracks, industrial cranes, and vintage airplanes flying overhead. Coming from a series of post-apocalyptic works shown last spring at Berlin’s Contemporary Fine Arts, the sculpture stemmed from the artist’s childhood dream of building a train set. “Being a child is being at the most perceptive and sincere stage in your life,” explains Duncan. “I am a child inside and will always be a child.” It is exactly that element of play that Williams sought to bring forth in the exhibition.
 I also liked the works from the Tobias twins, Gert and Uwe, who create bimorphs in bright colours (which are a cross between work by Klee or MirĂ³) made from woodcuts on very large canvas. The show continues until 30th April so plenty of time to catch it.

Seascape (Sea-Sea) 1970 - Richter
After lunch it was off to the Tate for Gerhard Richter - Panorama. With work spanning 5 decades the exhibition was set to coincide with the artist's 80th birthday. Although I love his early squeegee abstracts in bright colours my favourite work was Seascape (Sea-Sea) 1970 (oil on canvas) based on a collage of two photographs of the sea, one inverted to appear as the sky. This is a super exhibition so get away from the sales in January and see it before it closes on the 8th January. Jackie Mackay

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Galleries Night (Mince Pies and Wine)

Dean Kelland - Performance still 2011
Five of us met up at the IKON to partake of a FREE Art Bus, Guided tours, mulled wine and mince pies. The latter were brilliant but we only managed a tour of the RBSA and The Ikon as time ran out getting from one venue to the next. We decided the Barber Institute would have to wait for another day and also the pub, never did get there.
Travelling from the IKON to the RBSA it was decided that that would be our starting point. Once there and having indulged ourselves of the food and drink available we realised if we were to try and get to the rest of the venues it would take longer than getting the last bus back to the centre of town.
Scrambling on the bus at the RBSA we saw the outside of Eastside , The MAC and the Barber Institute and then returned to the IKON.
The RBSA is exhibiting Pat Landon’s work on the cafe wall until 10th December 2011 and Open all Media in the two upper galleries until 24th December 2011.

The Ikon exhibitions we visited were Dean Kelland’s  Living Room Series (Episode 2): The Desperate Hours which is on until the 5th February 2012
Dean Kelland works with performance, photography, film and appropriation to explore portraiture, producing engaging observations of our collective cultural identities”
and then John Myers’s exhibition Middle England on until 5th February 2012
"This is the first major exhibition by Midlands-based artist John Myers. Comprising black and white photographs made in the 1970s, Ikon’s selection includes Middle England (1970–1974), a number of portraits of individuals and families living in and around Stourbridge and the Black Country”.
View John Myers video about his work on Vimeo

The last exhibition we visited was Stuart Whipps - Why Contribute to the Spread of Ugliness? on until 5th February 2012
Ikon presents an exhibition of new works by Birmingham-based artist Stuart Whipps, a selection of photography and video reflecting on the changing nature of cultural value.
A new two channel video installation, England and the Octopus, Britain and the Beast (2011), focuses on the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, a former quarry town at the geographical centre of Snowdonia National Park. When the Park’s borders were created in 1951 the grey slate waste tips that surround Blaenau Ffestiniog prevented its inclusion, a decision made in part by the eccentric architect of Portmeirion, Clough Williams-Ellis. Whipps shows new film footage of the town teamed with a Welsh-language script sourced from texts written or edited by Williams-Ellis”.

Time to catch the train which was delayed, so arrived home at 10.45pm pub visit was abandoned.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BMAG is Lost in Lace

Michael Brennand-Wood – Lace the final frontier
Cutting, painting, aluminium, acrylic, wood
The large Gas Hall gallery provides the perfect setting for this exhibition, by 20 leading international artists, of large scale works honouring the tradition of lacemaking whilst pushing the boundaries of the textile. As you enter the gallery you are confronted by design firm Atelier Manferdini's 'Inverted Crystal Cathedral'  created from 1000 steel cables and 1,000 kg of crystal, 600 strands of which have been donated by Swarovsky. Michael Brennand-Wood (an artist very familiar to a couple of jammers) has a striking red piece consisting of patterns developed from cutouts of planes, bombs and soldiers.

 “My intention is to construct a’ military lace’ emblematic of conflict and the annexing of resources and territory. Imagery for the roundels is drawn from 3 sources; lace, weaponry, and the Rorschach (inkblot) test. The visual field of the work echoes the instructional, pricked, diagrammatic papers on which bobbin laces are constructed – in this case a fusion of Islamic and Western geometry” Brennand-Wood

Chiharu Shiota – After the dream
Site-sensitive installation – wool, cotton, paint
Another work which appealed to me was by Chiharu Shiota. The Japanese Berlin-based artist has ensnared everything from the wedding dresses seen in the 2009 Walking in My Mind exhibition at the Hayward gallery, to a grand piano and childhood toys. In one of her sleeping performances, you might even find Shiota herself ensconced beneath layers of mesh. Here, white dresses are encased in the random scrawl of the artist’s characteristic woven black strings.

“My installations with clothes always refer to the clothes as a second skin, which carry the memories of the people who wore those clothes” Shiota

The free exhibition runs at the Gas Hall until 19th February 2012 so if you don't like crowds you can see it after the Christmas and New Year chaos is over. Jackie Mackay

Friday, November 25, 2011

Degas at the Royal Academy

The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse),1873–1876, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas
On Tuesday I travelled to London to visit the exhibition at The Royal Academy of Edgar Degas (known in his lifetime as the painter of dancers). Despite the cancellation of all trains to London from Solihull and the pronunciation of Degas on the audio description being very different to the familiar use of the name the visit was really enjoyable.
Having never seen any of Degas work in reality I so was surprised at how faded the colours were. The sculptures were my favourite, particularly the little dancer, standing no more than 98.4cm it is a painted bronze with muslin and silk. The sketches made of the different poses were remarkable, mainly drawn whilst the dancers were practising or waiting to dance. These sketches were shown alongside photographs taken at the time. Very interesting exhibition. Maureen Toomey