Posts Tagged ‘galleries’

And with ever increasing speed, so the years whizz around. It certainly doesn’t feel like twelve months ago that I visited the Royal Academy in London’s Piccadilly for its annual Summer Exhibition. I returned this week to check out this year’s selection.

As I explained in my post last year, the Summer Exhibition is the largest open submission exhibition in the world and provides a platform for both well-known and emerging artists to display and sell their work. The work of the hopeful is put through an arduous submission process, the final say being had by a select panel of established Royal Academicians.

I arrived at my allotted time – 1.30pm – and discovered that this was an excellent time to have chosen. The gallery wasn’t crowded! I was able to move easily around the rooms, take pictures without folk getting in the way (or me getting in the way of them), and generally have a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I do, of course, start backwards. I traversed the thirteen rooms in an anti-clockwise manner and I think a few others were doing the same. Perhaps we were all left-handers, I don’t know, but there was no sense of a shuffling queue which so often happens at big events when you are shepherded along in a continuous and aggravated line.

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Look! Whoopee! A relatively empty gallery!

So once again, I’ve taken snaps of artworks that caught my eye for one reason or another. Most of the exhibits are for sale. I’ll leave the prices and artist’s names out of the description and leave you guessing. See if you can pick out the most and least expensive. As last year, I’ll reveal the answers in my next post.

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I thought this display of vase-shaped sculptures was rather fun – set against a mirrored background they have been created using foam and coloured pins.

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This next work has been made using copper wire, bandages, silk and pigment. Set in a black frame it’s about ten feet wide and perhaps eighteen inches high. It is very striking and looks somehow ancient.

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I’m not really sure what drew me to this oil on canvas other than the size – it’s enormous, commanding a central position in gallery six. I like the depth and choice of colours.

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These two works are independent of each other but obviously by the same artist. Worked in corroded pewter, I wondered why these specific items had been chosen.

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This oil triptych caught my eye as it depicts a view I know well.  I like the way the panels are disjointed; how they don’t quite match up.

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Another oil painting. The colours of a suburban frosty morning appealed for some reason. Odd really, because in reality I don’t like being cold and much prefer the countryside.

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How very odd – another cold scene – again in oil and depicting Hyde Park. Definitely a Christmas card in the making…

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This was the most astonishing exhibit I saw. Hung in the small, dimly lit number two gallery this had several people gasping.  Close-ups below (look closely!) will reveal that this has been created using all sorts of different bottle tops and wire closures from everyday products. Amazing.  It puts me in mind of a ceremonial tribal cloak.

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You can see in these details how painstaking the making of this piece must have been.

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This is a watercolour. There’s something about this that I find restful although the colours used would probably suggest otherwise.

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And lastly, here is the eye-catching piece that greets the visitor on arrival through the gates of Burlington House on Piccadilly. Entitled ‘Spyre’ it is a 16 metre tall Cor-Ten steel kinetic sculpture by Ron Arad who is a Royal Academician architect, designer and sculptor. It moves slowly round, its segments also twisting and turning at varying speeds. On the head there is an ‘eye’ – which is a camera, recording whatever it sees in the courtyard below. This is then beamed onto the huge screen hung behind it on the front of the building. Visitors are filmed entering and walking across the courtyard thereby becoming part of the artwork. If people should object to this, they are guided around the perimeter, out of range of the Spyre’s eye. It’s actually quite fascinating to watch and reminded me of a charmed snake.

So there we have it: this year’s Summer Exhibition which runs until 21 August. Worth a look, definitely. Galleries open at 10.00am until 6.00pm, late evenings till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Ta-dah!

Here I am, not fallen off the blogosphere, just jogging along not doing very much at all other than follow the shenanigans going on in Westminster with a zeal not experienced since the turbulent days of Thatcher and Kinnock. If the current situation wasn’t so seriously damaging then each day brings forth material worthy of a script for Yes Minister or Spitting Image. I’ve been enjoying things immensely.

So we now have Teresa May (or May-Nott) as Prime Minister who looks like a former head girl and bears a grey sort of resemblance to a previous incumbent – John Major. Still, at least she can string a sentence together – unlike her unlikely leadership rival Andrea Loathsome who peppered everything she said with ‘you know.’

(No love, actually I don’t and that’s why you’ve put yourself in the running, because you think you do know). She was far too blingy and wore her skirts too short. Not suitable at all. Not a chance.

Still, let’s be grateful for small mercies: the ghastly Gove has gone – and the nefarious Farage seems to have disappeared. All we can hope for now is that Boris will end up in a hostage situation in some far off country while doing his Foreign Secretary duties and no-one will bother to negotiate his release.

I suppose we’ll have to not mind that the horrible ‘Brexit’ word has wormed its way into the nation’s lexicon and will no doubt wind up in the Oxford dictionary. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires with the whole damn mess and whether the Labour Party can stop their in-fighting and put together a decent opposition.  Nothing anyone can do now. The country has apparently spoken.

Meanwhile – it’s the summer break and I’m off to a gallery or two. At least no-one’s touched the art.

Stay tuned – I’ll be back…

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I’m so excited. I’ve just signed up for a National Art Pass, thanks to a tip off from my niece. She has a degree in fine art and is striving towards an illustrious career as an illustrator.  (As I’m keen on promoting creativity within the family, you can check out her work here). When she first mentioned it to me I thought it was probably something only available to students or recent graduates, but no, it’s for everyone so I’m passing on the message. The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art and by supporting them in this way I am indirectly responsible for helping museums and galleries across the country add to their collections.

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For around £40 a year, this little piece of plastic allows me free entry to over two hundred galleries, castles and historic houses all over the country as well as half price admission to major exhibitions. I shall recoup my money in no time! My welcome pack arrived over the weekend and includes a comprehensive guide-book to all the participating venues.

With the school summer holiday fast approaching I am filling my August calendar with days out inspired by the contents of the Art Pass guide-book. I had already earmarked the Lowry at Tate Britain so while I’m there I’ll pop in to see the Patrick Caulfield – double whammy.

There is one place that I went to last year to which I would return time and again if it wasn’t such a horrible drive from home. Henry Moore’s home at Perry Green in Hertfordshire is one of the most interesting places I have ever visited and is worth a post in its own right, so watch this space. As it is covered by my Art Pass I don’t think that making the drive through the M25 road works is a good enough excuse not to go… and there’s a jolly nice pub next door. There we go – I can talk myself into anything.

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The Royal Academy in London recently housed a retrospective of Edouard Manet’s portraits; apparently this particular permutation has never been shown before, despite pictures of his literary, artistic and political peers, together with his friends and family accounting for half his total output.

So, as the exhibition was nearing the end of its run, a few friends and I fought our way along Piccadilly to see for ourselves this belle époque spectacle. Clutching our soon-to-be irrelevant timed tickets, my heart plummeted when we were faced with the prospect of viewing these fabulous paintings in a shuffling queue of at least five deep.

While it’s great that so many people want to view these treasures, I wish that there was some way of diluting the crowds. Timed ticketing doesn’t work because there is no shepherding out of the gallery at the other end. If only a certain amount of people were allowed in at any one time, they could ring a bell at the end of a designated timed session: viewers could then leave for the gift shop or restaurant and let the next batch of eager art lovers in. It’s at times like this my commuter elbows come into their own and  my height is a bonus  – in other circumstances, such as buying jeans, it’s something of a nightmare – but that’s another story entirely.

However, despite the gallery resembling Piccadilly Circus in the rush hour, the exhibition was delightful – some of the paintings were familiar, some had never been previously exhibited – some are unfinished. I wondered if Manet would have approved the selection. There were scenes of the artist’s friend Monet with his family in their Normandy garden; a picture of Emile Zola at his desk; we had fun spotting Manet himself among his contemporaries in an early work, Music in the Tuileries Gardens.

music in the tuileries gardens

music in the tuileries gardens

I never understand why curators choose the paintings they do – or, more importantly, choose which ones to leave out, and why? Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, was smaller and less colourful than I had imagined, but The Bar at the Folies-Bergère, the painting which I think is instantly recognisable as a Manet, and depicts beautifully Parisian cafe society, was conspicuously absent. Odd, when Le déjeuner had to come from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Folies resides at the Courtauld Institute, less than a mile away.

le dejeuner sur l'herbe

le dejeuner sur l’herbe

Later in the week I popped into the Courtauld for the Becoming Picasso exhibition, which concentrated on the year he had his first exhibition at the precocious age of nineteen. No queues, no crowds, no timed tickets – the best way to view paintings. On top of this I was able to pick up, free of charge, a very informative teaching pack complete with CD – and – I was able to view, at my leisure, The Bar at the Folies-Bergère.

the bar at the Folies-Bergere

the bar at the Folies-Bergere

Double Whammy – marvellous!

All pictures borrowed from Wikipedia!

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