A little while ago, I went to London, to visit my Best Friend in the world, we had ourselves a deliciously art filled feast for the eyes.
Destinations included the Tate Modern and the V&A, we also had a look at the Southbank Gallery and Skylark 1 & 2 at Gabriel’s Wharf, and the OXO tower, had a lovely talk with an artist at skylark, the piece ‘balance’ I liked, and not just because that is one of my favourite words.
This piece includes silver leaf, which as she expained to us, will tarnish over time, giving the piece an evolving feel, it changes with you, and grows, becomes something more than it started.
Gill Hickman – Balance http://www.gillhickman.com
I’d like to Thank Gill, for being both interesting, and interested! We were made to feel very welcome in this small artfilled space, something which not all gallery owners and shop keepers are good at. It seems all to easy for some to assume that people are ‘just browsing’ and not buying, and lose interest in you, as if all they care about is your money (or lack thereof). (It probably doesn’t help if you go around looking like an art student, but what do they say about judging a book by its cover?)
The featured artist was Colin Ruffell, The style and the colours in this print spoke to me, those exciting bursts of orangey red against the turquoise shades…yum!
Colin Ruffell – 1st Dec LONDON SKYLINE
Mainly London landscapes, many featuring the cranes that seem to be a constant feature of London’s ever changing skyline. I feel I need some sort of time lapse video here…oh Thanks Youtube, don’t mind if I do!
This brings me to my own photos, our walk along the Southbank to the Tate modern, complete with a fair few cranes!
This is what I was actually photographing (well trying to!) the outer edges of this cloud looked like it had been drawn on.
These silver birches were just saplings the first time I visited the Tate modern, many years ago, when my memories of it included the large eye spinning op-art paintings of Bridget Riley.
This was the first time I’ve visited the Tate modern since being an art student, where you were expected to look, read, and worst of all document your experiences…
You HAD to see this or that exhibit, and you had to do it all in very little time too. You spend so much time wrapped up in this bit, its easy to not actually look properly, and experience fully, rather like watching something happen through the lens (or indeed digital display screen) of a camera.
Visiting by choice was a different experience, without the pressure to fill a notebook up with pointless comments, rubbish sketches and writing down all the titles and dates and things. (these days no doubt you’d also be filling up your smart phone with rubbish blurry pictures inside galleries too…smart phones weren’t really a thing when I went as a student, we had pretty rubbish digital cameras instead)
and yet here I am, documenting, by choice, my experiences and thoughts on some of the pieces! (though I think if I had been able to use the medium of a blog, I might have done better!)
Unfortunately, since I was busy enjoying it all in this no pressure way, the piece I liked most (from the monochrome exhibit) I completely failed to get the artists name, date or anything about it! Though with a little googling later I found this sentence, which some other art student had faithfully copied down from the plaque on the wall. (or more likely, snapped with their smartphone and typed up later!)
“this work was constructed by a carpenter and a gold leaf artisan who were given instructions by the artist on the telephone”
and a search for gold leaf on the Tate website brings me to this:
Mathias Goeritz 1915–1990
Medium: Gold leaf on plywood panel
Dimensions Support: 1219 x 1393 mm
The piece was very simple in contruction, a large board, covered with gold leaf.
The gold leaf itself was not 100% even, showing through in patches to a brick red, like a gilt frame sometimes does, giving a sort of rustic, antiqued effect.
Once again this piece was so much more than that, its size and placement on the wall meant that your reflection (and that of others in this fairly small, almost corridor of a gallery room) took up about a third of the canvas, the reflections themselves were not true mirror reflections, but softened, almost more like moving shadows, like a window into another, quieter, more muted world. In this respect you felt like you were being made a part of the ever changing work, you were included, involved.
Picasso’s three dancers will always stick in my memory, as we did a whole project on it, with a tutor who absolutely raved about it.
To see it from afar (its rather big!), and then up close, with its different paint textures and erm, ‘interesting’ colours was fascinating, however…I still don’t like it!
Something else I found intriguing was watching people looking at the works, you could only get near to Salvador Dali’s ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’ by waiting and then taking your space, viewing from further away was out of the question. And I’m sure, had someone been watching me looking up at Alexander Calder’s ‘Mobile’ they must have wondered what was going through my head.
‘Mobile’ c. 1932
Balance, is the answer to that. The effects of gravity on shapes, counterweights, the gentle movement with air currents, and how I can use some of these effects in my jewellery pieces, where gravity is the constant enemy to the heavily assymmetric designs in my head, and glass which, try as I might, weighs what it weighs, and will literally try to take centre stage.
By the time we got to the Rothko room, the atmosphere and heat had given us both a headache, so I have yet to experience whatever it is you are meant to experience when you sit in a slightly darkened room surrounded by giant canvases of burgundy.
Some fresh air outside, and the weather was changing fast. It brought the kind of rain I could just stand in, and get soaked, the rain that falls from heavy humid skies onto dry ground. Probably best not to though, sitting on the tube in somewhat damp clothes isn’t likely to be a wonderful experience!
I think I’ll leave it there, perhaps I’ll tell you about the V&A in another post sometime.
My dearest Friend incidentally, is an artist herself (you may have guessed by our art filled activities!)
And you should most definitely, check out her work! The best place for this in my opinion is her facebook page or SoulbirdArt on instagram, where she often posts work in progress shots which I find wonderful, like an insight into her studio, her workspace, her mind…Enjoy!
oh, and one more little thing…