London Visit 1

posted in: Seen and Done | 0

London Visit 1

The recent London trip wasn’t entirely about my Royal Academy submission. I also took advantage of the close proximity of London galleries to get along to some interesting stuff – at the RA, Tate Modern and the National Gallery.

 

Richard Diebenkorn

First up was the Richard Diebenkorn show at the Royal Academy. I had previously seen some of the artist’s work, but only in books. In reality, the paintings, prints and drawings were far more impressive. What I responded to, in both the abstract and figurative works, was the use of colour. Diebenkorn seemed to make appropriate, considered choices as a colourist – riotous and playful in some of the abstract images, yet restrained and cool in others. Although Diebenkorn was well aware of the work of contemporaries such as Rothko, he always went his own way, refusing attempts by others to categorise him. In my opinion, it was a wise move, allowing him the freedom to move between abstraction and figurative work at will.

London Visit 1: Richard Diebenkorn: Seawall, 1957

Richard Diebenkorn: Seawall, 1957

Richard Diebenkorn: Knife in a Glass, 1963

Richard Diebenkorn: Knife in a Glass, 1963

The bold use of colour is something that I’ll be introducing more of in my printmaking.

 

Tate Modern

Also on my mini-tour were the free displays at Tate Modern.

Roger Harris: Engine, steel and blue crystals grown from copper sulphate powder

Roger Harris: Engine, steel and blue crystals grown from copper sulphate powder

Painting by Cy Twombly: untitled (Bacchus) 2006-8

Cy Twombly: untitled (Bacchus) 2006-8

Nam June Paik: Bakelite Robot

Nam June Paik: Bakelite Robot

I loved this! The mesmerising screens showed constantly-changing video footage.

Invariably, I like the work on show at The Tate, as it challenges perceptions of the accepted view of the world, and what ‘normal’ is. Also interesting is that it appears open to any media and material, so if the work has something interesting to say and is beautiful or arresting, it is worthy of a place. It was also refreshing to see that the galleries were not being currently dominated by video installations. As you can probably tell, this form of ‘art’ has never connected with me, so I tend to avoid it like the plague in galleries (sorry, video artists).

Wood sculptures by Arte-Povera

Wood sculptures by Arte-Povera

 

The National Gallery

Last (but not least) was another visit to an old favourite, The National. As I know the collection reasonably well, and tend to be in a bit of a hurry, I now tend to re-visit some old favourites. These include ‘Whistlejacket’, by George Stubbs (below). The better Turner pictures, including Rain, Steam and Speed and an intriguing self-portrait of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun.

But, shock, horror, the self portrait was missing! It had been carted off to the Royal Academy to be used as part of the current Rubens exhibition. How inconsiderate!

'Whistlejacket', by George Stubbs

Whistlejacket, by George Stubbs

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun: Self Portrait in a Straw Hat

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun: Self Portrait in a Straw Hat

I should be back in London in 2-3 months, looking at different ways to promote my prints. Then, I’ll seek out some art at some alternative different galleries and other venues.

 

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