Monday, 21 August 2017

Harland Miller: One Bar Electric Memoir

To White Cube - Mason's Yard once again. This time to see the current show of signature, graphic, fictional book cover paintings by Harland Miller. The upper gallery features these huge paintings of overlapping text using positive and negative space, executed in bright, bold colours.

As well as a nod to Ed Ruscha, I was reminded of Jasper John's overlapping text and numeral paintings which are more painterly in style (below). My favourite of the paintings in this gallery was If, as it contained a harmonious balance of composition and colour. As seductive as the colours were in the other pieces in the upper gallery, I didn't think the overlapping text worked as well in most of the paintings. Perhaps they needed a different configuration and positioning of fonts. I did like the way in which Miller takes authorship of all the book paintings by imprinting his name across the surface. I also found the sly, ambiguous nature of two of the titles - Pot and Bi amusing.

Jasper Johns - 0 Through 9, 1961

I thought the following smaller paintings in the lower gallery were much more successful as a series. They have wryly comic titles and take their inspiration apparently, from Miller's personal collection of psychology books. 

Part of the series of books providing inspiration for Miller may be those such as the Pelican books designed and commissioned in the 1960's by Italian designer/art director Germano Facetti (examples below). The Pelican and Penguin books created at the time reflected and employed the 60's fashion for hard edged abstraction practised by artists such as Ad Rheinhardt, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly as well the examples by Barbour and Hammersley below.

Germano Facetti - The Divided Self/Self and Others, 1969

Frederick Hammersley - Fractions, 1960

John Barbour - Hard Edge Painting, 1966

I like the way in which Miller has coloured the backgrounds of the paintings to give the impression that the paintings have yellowed and aged, in much the same way that paperbacks do, and the way in which he has left the edges rough to show the drips and smears of paint to display his working processes. I also liked the three dimensional illusions Miller achieves in which the hard edged patterns seem to leap out at the viewer from the flat backgrounds. Two paintings - In Shadows I Boogie, and Thought After Filthy Thought - in which Miller goes looser in technique, and more abstract with the paint medium appear to reference the looser painterly styles of the earlier abstract expressionism art movement. One Bar Electric Memoir continues to the 9th September.

Harland Miller: One Bar Electric Memoir
until 9th September
White Cube
Mason's  Yard
St James's

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Pierre Paulin: Butterflies Through Other Eyes #34

I recently featured a design classic - BKF's Butterfly Chair (here). The influence of the butterfly in modern design can also be seen in this product - another Butterfly Chair, this time by French furniture/interior designer Pierre Paulin (1927-2009). The chair takes its name from the butterfly-shaped tubular metal framework which supports the leather slings which make up the seat and backrest. The Butterfly Chair was created by Paulin as part of his collaborations with design company Artifort during the 1960s - 70s. The design is possibly a homage to the earlier, but similar iconic BKF/ Hardoy 1938 Butterfly Chair design, which also features a leather sling over a metal framework. Paulin's other chair designs were made using foam and a metal frame covered with stretch materials which were considered both modern and unique and are still highly collectable today. Other famous chair designs by Paulin sought out for their clear lines and body-hugging shapes include the Orange Slice, Ribbon, and Tongue chairs.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Summer Show: Cambridge Contemporary Art

Installation shot of a little corner of Cambridge Contemporary Art featuring four of my pieces from left to right - Butterfly Waltz, Gloriole (gold leaf), Mandarin Collar (copper leaf), and Bathing Beauty (copper leaf), in their current Summer Show which continues to 3rd September. 

The Summer Show
until 3rd September
Cambridge Contemporary Art
6 Trinity Street
01223 324222

Monday, 14 August 2017

Friday, 11 August 2017

Dulwich Pavilion

Across town meanwhile at Dulwich Picture Gallery celebrations were in order, as it is 200 years since this gallery first opened its doors to the public. Part of the celebrations involved the commissioning of their very own inaugural pavilion. A competition was held to design the pavilion, and the winners were architects IF_DO, with their After Image pavilion. It is an interesting airy structure of wooden struts forming the roof, draped with a wire mesh curtain, and large mirrored panels reflecting the abundant light, and the lush, tranquil greenery of the surrounding gardens, anchored on a wooden slate base. I particularly liked the seating. The utilitarian school-like chairs whose metalwork was coloured in both vibrant, and cool pastel shades. Future designs could well rival those at the Serpentine Gallery.

IF_DO - After Image Pavilion
until 8th October
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Gallery Road
SE 21

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Serpentine Pavilion

I really enjoyed seeing this years' Serpentine Pavilion structure by Diébédo Francis Kéré. It is the 17th of the Serpentine Gallery pavilion commissions, and was inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point of life in Kéré's hometown of Gando, Burkino Faso. The pavilion is a lovely design, and perfectly reflects its inspiration - a tree, with its protective canopy, providing shelter from both sun and rain, whilst allowing cooling breezes to circulate. It also reflects the many real trees that surround the structure in its temporary Kensington Gardens home. The structure is made with a metal framework at its core, and a roof of wooden slats that fan out saucer-like. Deep blue wooden triangular ziggurats provide a decorative patterned wall to enclose the structure.

Diébédo Francis Kéré

Serpentine Pavilion 2017
until 8th October
Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens