Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Fortuitous Find

I was lucky enough to spot, and snap up this large vintage Christopher Brown linocut - Ou Voulez-Vous En Venir? whilst in Surrey the other day. The print depicts a couple of merry matelots disembarked in port, out on the town, and bound no-doubt, for all kinds of mischief and shenanigans. Lock up your sons! 

Chris was one of the tutors on the course I completed at St Martin's School of Art, and I believe this print was one of a series he produced as promotional material for the now defunct airline TWA's (Trans World Airlines), flights to France. I love the limited use of colour reflecting the French tricolour, and the linocut technique - worthy of his mentor - the late, great Edward Bawden. I'm on the hunt now for what I believe was another print in this TWA series - Boy With Bird, which also has the same limited colour palette. 

Ou Voulez-Vous En Venir? is a reminder of a very interesting period of time. So sad to see that that former beautiful St Martin's art-deco period building, with wonderful original period windows and wood-panelling in Long Acre has now become a branch of H&M! Plus ça change!

Chris currently has a show/pop-up shop - Studio-To-Home, at Pentreath & Hall, 17a Rugby Street in Bloomsbury. It is full of his wonderful original linocuts and their application onto a range of lampshades, ceramics, textiles - (tea towels, tote bags, cushion covers, and knitwear), books, and cards etc. It also features his Albion wallpaper (below), created in collaboration with St Jude's. It was all so lovely I couldn't help but treat myself to another of his vintage prints! Studio-To-Home continues until the end of November.

I thought this Flying Penis plate was hilarious. Every home should have one!

Christopher Brown's Pop-Up Shop
until 30th November
17a Rugby Street

Monday, 13 November 2017

Raqib Shaw

I was really happy to have caught this exhibition at Manchester's Whitworth art gallery - one of a series across the city that are celebrating a programme of South Asian art and culture. Raqib Shaw is a contemporary artist whose work is both opulent and fantastical, drawing on the influence of Hieronymus Bosch, and also unconsciously perhaps, I feel, the work of Victorian painter Richard Dadd, another artist obsessed with meticulous detail who also painted fairies and other supernatural creatures. This exhibition showcases Shaw's extraordinarily imaginative works and the influences and sources - both Eastern and Western - that he draws on. Above and below are images of his specially commissioned wallpaper - After A Midsummer Night's Dream, based on Shakespeare's play. The wallpaper is heavy with ornament and decoration like work created in the Victorian era, and seems almost hallucinogenic when seen as a backdrop to this exhibition.

The exhibition is visually rich, and saturated in detail. It displays Shaw's influences, besides Japanese prints and a kimono, and examples of both Eastern and Western needlework, you can see Dutch still life painting, and romanticised Western takes on Eastern life in the Orientalist painting seen towards the end of the post.

Shaw's work is a modern take on Surrealism with hybrid human figures sporting animal heads. Shaw's technique is very interesting in that the paintings are executed in a heady decorative cloisonné technique which can seem quite sickly to some tastes. Shaw uses enamel and metallic paints which are manipulated with a porcupine quill before being outlined with embossed gold. Some pieces utilise swathes of  Swarovski crystals. The resulting busy paintings are reminiscent of the proto-surreal works of 15th C. artist Hieronymous Bosch.

Another installation view of the exhibition with Shaw's After A Midsummer Night's Dream wallpaper as a decadent backdrop.

Influential Indian weaving above, and display cabinets with examples of Shaw's meticulous cloisonné techniques. Artists working processes are always very interesting to see, and the examples seen here were no exception.

Shaw's bronze sculpture (above), continues the animal hybrid theme, and below is another example of Shaw's decadently decorative cloisonné technique embellished with rhinestone crystals. The exhibition continues for just one more week.

Raqib Shaw
until 19th November
The Whitworth
Oxford Road

Friday, 10 November 2017

Calder On Paper: 1960-1976

Also on show at Saatchi is Calder On Paper: 1960-1976. It features Calder's bold, bright bursts of colour and geometric shapes, tempered by strong, graphic, black line work.

Composition (Pyramids and Sun On Target) - 1973

Sache - 1972

Construction With Orbs - 1970

Untitled  - 1976

Incertitude - 1972

Fringed Sun and Moon - 1968

6 Cercles - 1973

Black Anatomy - 1968

Luck - 1970

Bijoux - 1974

Fidele - 1972

Calder On Paper: 1960-1976
until 7th December
SALON I Saatchi Gallery/Omer Tiroche Gallery
Duke Of York's HQ
King's Road