Wednesday, 15 February 2017

"Force of Nature" Solo Exhibition in London

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to the preview of my solo exhibition at Duncan R Miller Fine Arts in St James's, London last week.  It was a great evening, and I really appreciate your enthusiasm and kind support.  Hope you all enjoyed the show as well!

If you missed the preview, don't worry - the show is on until 3rd March.  You can view all the work here, and take a stroll round the preview with these photos!

Here's the gallery from the outside in Bury Street.

Here's the first room, with a painting of the Mumbles in the Gower Peninsula in Wales on the left.

In the centre is a little painting of sunflowers which I saw at the roadside in Connecticut.  On the right is the Lizard in Cornwall.

At the top is the Ile de la Cite in Paris from Pont Neuf, and below it is a painting of Hammersmith Bridge.

This large painting is of the Campsies, to the north of Glasgow.

On the left at the top are the Falls of Dochart, below is a painting of the Glenlivet estate.  To the right at the top is Camusdarach on the west coast of Scotland, and below it is the Bass Rock at North Berwick.

On the left, yachts at North Berwick.  Top right, the Gower Peninsula, below is Sea Cliff on the East Coast with the Bass Rock.

This is the second room, with paitnings of Skye, North Berwick, Sandsend near Whitby, and Rhossili Bay in the Gower.

Main picture is of the Cuillins at Sligachan.

Rhossili Bay (left), Aberdeenshire (top) and the Solway Coast (below).

Autumn paintings of Hampstead Heath and the Falls of Dochart at Killin, along with seascapes of Whitby and St Ives.

Lastly, a European selection of paintings of London, Amsterdam and Venice.

Please do go along to the gallery if you get the chance!  The paintings look quite different when you see the real thing.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Art of France

Now, if you're a follower of my blog, you may have guessed that anything with Andrew Graham Dixon in it is okay by me.

So please do take a look at his latest series Art of France on BBC Four.  Even if, in episode one, he did rehash his 'church as reliquary ' theory from Treasures of Heaven.

He also got his hands, quite literally,  on Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry by the Limbourg Brothers.  This was so amazing, I (sadly) actually screamed.  The last time I saw a page of the book was in a slide test during a Fine Art exam, and so it has been seared in my memory ever since.  But I had no idea what size the original was, or how stunningly bright and breathtakingly detailed it is.  And there it was, like an old friend!  And to think Andrew had his ungloved hands on it!!

This series, then, is the story of the most powerful kings ever to rule in Europe with their glittering palaces and astounding art to go in them. AGD reveals how art emerged from a struggle between tradition and revolution, between rulers and a people who didn't always want to be ruled.

Starting with the first great revolution in art, the invention of Gothic architecture, he traces its development up until the arrival of Classicism and the Age of Enlightenment - and the very eve of the Revolution. Along the way some of the greatest art the world has ever seen was born including the paintings of Poussin (amazing), Watteau (awful) and Chardin (strangely compelling).  Here is Chardin's The Ray, where the cat arches it back, like the cat in Olympia, and the disembowelled body of the fish hangs centre stage, smiling its strange, unsettling,  martyred smile.

It is like the face of the flayed faun in Titian's last painting, The Punishment of Marsyas.

Chardin has managed to create a still life that you actually have empathy and pity for.  And that's something.

AGD also covers the decadent Rococo delights of Boucher and the great history paintings of Charles le Brun - not my favourite period, I have to say, but interesting historically all the same.

You can also see episode 2 There Will be Blood.   

This second episode is an exploration of how art in France took a dramatic turn following the French Revolution that ushered in a bold new world, because of course art is inextricably a reflection of the times in which it is made. 

From the execution of King Louis XVI and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte - a figure who simultaneously repelled and inspired artists of his time - through to the rise of Romanticism and an art of seduction, sex and high drama.  Artists include Jacques-Louis David - whose art appeared on the barricades and in the streets - as well as the work of Delacroix, Ingres and the tragic but brilliant Theodore Gericault.

Roll on L'Origine du Monde!