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

Earlswood Coffee and Critic

 Three of the jammers met at Earlswood (one of our associates was on the high seas eating more in three weeks than most of us are capable of in three months) to partake of coffee, lunch and crit my work.The work in question was a piece in progress. It is still in progress and yet to be finished after Steph and Avril gave me some positive feedback on the way forward.The work is mixed media on canvas with a textural finish.

I also had another piece which having had long discussions about I have decided to completely revamp.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jam in Israel

Wadi Nisnas Street Art
Last week, after visiting the compulsory tourist attraction of the Bahai World Centre in Haifa with its beautiful gardens, I walked the streets in search of the art I had been told about. Wadi Nisnas in the Arab neighbourhood is awash with it and the following link will give you an idea of the feel of the area  israelikitchen.com.

At the Haifa Museum of Art the current exhibition is Formally Speaking. Inspired by the artist Richard Long and his 1967 photograph of the impression made from his walk on the grass, the exhibition features works containing manifestations of lines and walking. The MidnightEast blog has a good overview with images from the exhibition.

Finally I found (after many Shaloms and asking directions) 'The Chagall Artists House' which held an exhibition of assemblages called Desert Generation by Victor Lipkin - a Russian immigrant to Israel - mainly constructed from wood. Most of his graphic and assemblage works are inspired by biblical themes but unfortunately my lack of Hebrew made deciphering the text impossible - there were no English handouts which, being British, I obviously expect in every country. Jackie Mackay