Friday, 24 June 2016

Opening of the New Tate Modern

As well as having a membership for the Royal Academy, I'm also a member of the Tate.  So I got a special invite to the opening of the new Tate Modern extension last week.  Very exciting!

The walk across the bridge to the Tate from St Pauls is one of my very favourite things.  Here's the view of Tower Bridge and the Shard in the evening sunlight.

And here's the Tate.

There was quite a queue to get in, which moved quite quickly, especially when chatting to people.   Once inside, you turn to a whole new massive 10 storey high area on your right (although most of the floors are taken up not with art, but with cafes and restaurants).

Down in the old tanks in the basement you can explore inter-connected concrete rooms of videos, sculptures and 'happenings'.  Here's a 'happening'....happening.

(It's the two people in the middle at the back in the tango-like clinch, BTW.)

Here's another 'happening'.  This time, it was a line of people singing.

Strange things that may or may not have been instruments, like large wooden alpenhorns...

Some stuff on the floor that looked like they hadn't taken away some sort of scaffolding.

There were bean bags on the floor so you could sit in the dark and take in the huge videos that surrounded you.  Some were of lightning strikes, others of the sun setting, all strangely beautiful. 

Some more stuff on the floor.


More happening.

Can't spot it?  It's the girl holding the rope of flags.  Also, we got to take a print from a large pile on the floor.  Very exciting!

 Some stuff looked a bit rude...

A lot of the work was by women artists, including a fabulous room by sublime art goddess Louise Bourgeois.  

Then ,just when you're flagging, you find that a lift can take you all the way up to the tenth floor, and the most amazing thing of all.

A 360 degree view of the London skyline.

Plus a sneaky look at the improbably pads of some very rich people.

I also took in the amazing Mona Hatoum exhibition, which is a must-see.

So get to the Tate - you may not like the art, but it's so huge and immersive that you'll come away feeling challenged and stimulated and annoyed and excited, which is what art is all about.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

As a card-holding member of the Royal Academy, it's always good to make the most of my subscription and see as many of the shows as I can.

So whilst I was down in London at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, I went along to the massive annual Summer Exhibition.  

Here's some of the work... lots and lots of red dots.... no glass on the frames...and not a lot of framing at all, actually...

This one was huge.  I absolutely loved it - so textural.  There were stencils of countries down the side, and the centre panel was quite plasticy.

There was also some very traditional work, in the form of Ken Howard.

This was a huge painting, very mysterious - a giant sun contained within a caravan, like something out of Doctor Who

Each room had been curated by a different artist, which was very effective indeed.  It meant that you read the ethos of the selection for that particular room, then looked out for the highlights that it mentioned.  It also made you question why particular works were included under the heading or theme of the room, what connected them.  It was a great way to curate such an huge, unwieldy mass of work, and made you eager to look into the next room.  It was like a collection of lots of different exhibitions.

The picture above was in a room of prints.  The introduction told you that there was a piece which was by a father and daughter, and was a picture of potato prints, the easiest of all forms of printing.  It was a joyous celebration of basic forms, and demonstrated the most unsophisticated yet unpretentious form of all printing.  However, although it is a simple print, it is also about a relationship, father and daughter, experience teaching youth, and all sorts of more complex things.  So although simple, it carried an emotional punch.

The room of prints ranged from this right through to the most complex technical print.  

I loved that (although how the selection committee would know the touching story behind the blobs as they whizzed past, I don't know.  Things that do rather make you go 'hmmmm'....)

Spot the potato print in the centre here.

Barbara Rae.  Not a potato print.

Jake and Dinos Chapman.  Not a fan.

Very popular...

Loved this...

Here's the back of it.

Joe Tilson wall hanging.  Hurrah!  Mr Tilson, pop art god, came to speak to my fine art class in the 80s, when he was into plywood cut-out keyholes in a big way.  It made a huge impression that we mere mortals should be listening to a Real Live Big Name Proper Artist.

Video of seabirds - strangely captivating.

Piece of toast. (Sold)

Gilbert and George.  Not pretentious.

And then, sometimes the visitors and their hats were just as exciting as the art....

Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead

Here's my paintings on the stand at the Affordable Art Fair in sunny Hampstead last week.

Many thanks indeed to everyone who came along (despite the lures of the football!).  I had a great time looking at all the stands and sampling the rather wonderful cake in the cafe!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead

The good weather may be on hold for the moment, but I'm still heading off to the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead Heath in London later this week, for some bright and beautiful summery art in the park.  The Fair opens on Wednesday evening and goes until Sunday 19th June.

Although I've painted pictures of the Heath, I've never been to the Affordable at Hampstead (and it's a wee while since I've been to the one at Battersea), so I'm really looking forward to it.  It's a lovely setting.

If you're going along, then I've got paintings with Duncan R Miller Fine Arts (Stand D5).  Look out for them!

 Calendula in Bloom (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

For more information about the Fair, please click HERE.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Taps Aff!!

It's blazingly hot sunny weather again today, and all week I've had the gas off and gas men crawling all over the studio blasting compressed air endlessly through my pipes.  Taps aff all round, you might say..

Despite the extremely noisy mayhem, I've still actually managed to do some work amidst the chaos...

Continuing on my big, bold theme, this is a painting of a hedgerow in Skye, with a little cottage in the distance by ploughed fields.