Continuation of previous post:
After two days in magnificent north Wales, we headed to Oxford for one day before visiting friends in London. In London, art rose to the top of the priority list, as the city is overflowing with superb, and free to the public, museums.
I hardly know where to begin with impressions of the newly reopened Tate Modern. I was initially confused and off balance (literally, the floors in one of the buildings are awkwardly sloped causing a strange senstation of movement or falling). But once I figured out the floor plan and made it to the galleries, I couldn’t supress my astonishment. The Guerilla Girls, thank goodness, are promintently dispalyed and lord knows they need to be heard.
There hangs “Carnival” one of my all time favorite Max Beckmann paintings. An extensive, insightful and wonderously dark Louise Bourgeios exhibit was quite a draw for the crowds. It made me so proud that Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, dispays one of her mammoth spiders. There is relatively lots of work on display by women artists such as the energetic painting by Lee Krasner (see below). There are several huge paintings by Luc Tuymans (who until now I’ve only seen in books). And check out this Peter Doig painting that makes me finally understand what the big fuss is about.
The Tate Modern is full of provocative, stunning art. It might be best to visit in the morning, go next door to The Globe for a Shakespeare play, eat a meal, and return to The Tate for a couple more hours of wandering. At least, that’s my plan for next time.
I often refer to viewing certain art works as akin to meeting a beloved, handsome super star. It leaves me giddy and breathless. Visiting The National Portrait Gallery during the recently hung BP Portrait Award was no exception. My daughters sat on a bench in the center of the largest gallery and watched (ok, I think they made fun of me) as I jumped from one painting to the next. This is the work I most admire. These are the artists I idolize. This annual exhibit showcases the content, the concepts, the materials and the techniques I strive to apply and master in my studio. Someday, oh someday, it would be a dream come true to have a piece accepted in the venerable competition; not for the accolades, but for the sheer satisfaction of developing a painting ability of such high quality. The exhibit contains numerous familial realtionships: several artists painted their sons. For the most part, the artists painted people they know well and it could be said that a theme of deep, intimate relationships domintes the exhibit. It was hard to choose which paintings to post – here are four of my favorite:
Just look at Tibbles ability to capture his son between boyhood and manhood. The soft edges and slight movement in the background over the young man’s left ear indicate to me the boy’s continued growth. He is not quite finished developing and figuring out who he is in his world. And look at Hogan’s self portrait in her studio. She so beautifully blends the figure with the space. We know that she is part of the space and the space is part of her being. Borowicz painted his son, Tad, whose bare chest, forward little shoulders, and out-turned ears draw viewers close. The innnocence, posture and skin evoke parental awe whether or not the viewer is a parent. One of my very favorites is by Jamie Coreth, whose subject is his father sculpting a bust of Jamie. This circular arrangment allows veiwers to delight in the relationship between a father and son, between a sculptor and painter, between art mimicking life and life mimicking art. The pointing devices throughout the composition, the direction of the eyes, the father’s hands upon the head of his son….all details that make this painting one to enjoy for hours, or a lifetime.
During our final two days in London, we were quite exhausted and visited two museums that require more engery than we could muster. That being said, I was utterly blown away by the thrill of seeing the Rosetta Stone at The British Museum. Written language is something I explore in my own work; therefore, I find any reference to the early written word to be exciting. The museum’s Mesopotamia displays, which include examples of early language, are hard to swallow in one visit. If given the opportunity to return to London, I will certainly visit The British Museum again (first thing in the morning, after a good night’s sleep!).
I would also like to return to The Victoria & Albert Museum. It was worth the effort to pop in after a morning at The Natural History Museum, although seeing the exhibit signs made me realize what we were missing. The architecture and back courtyard are worth a visit for those short on time, and the younger kids loved the wading pool which was a nice break in the afternoon.
Clearly, another trip to London is in order. There were many places, such as the Hunterian Museum, that we did not get to visit, and many places that require more time and attention. We did the best we could though before hopping on a northbound train…next up York and Manchester. Thanks for reading! Laura