Sunday, 22 July 2018

Lambeth Country Show 2018

To Brockwell Park once again this weekend for the annual Lambeth Country Fair.

Spending time in the Vauxhall City Farm tent among the animals was a really calming, enjoyable experience. The alpacas were such interesting creatures.

In the main arena birds of prey were paraded.

Seasoned visitors queued, and milled restlessly outside the Flower Show tent until the appointed hour, when they were let in to view the main event - the vegetable carving!

There were lots of homages this year. To film in - Jaws, above.

And then to those that we have recently lost to the world of spirit such as Stephen Hawking, celebrated with an ingeniously carved melon brain, and tv and radio presenter Dale Winton below.

There was also a noble celebration of "Suffracourgettes" beautifully rendered in the tableau below.

Not surprisingly The Donald, having recently visited these shores featured heavily, facing off with Kim Jong Un...

And accurately represented as the Baby Blimp through the artist's skill with a butternut squash, carrots and yellow and red peppers. His nemesis Stormy Daniels was also present.

The country's new hero, Gareth Southgate, was also well represented with varying degrees of success after the England teams semi-final heroics at the World Cup.

The outstanding piece for me this year was this portrait of "Kale Marx", which channelled Guiseppe Arcimboldo brilliantly. Amazing!

After the madness of the vegetable carving the flower displays seemed quite sedate. 

The victor's spoils.

Friday, 20 July 2018

The Big Butterfly Count 2018

It's time again for the Big Butterfly Count, the annual nationwide survey to determine the state of the environment and the health of the butterfly population in Great Britain. Already this summer I have noticed larger numbers and much more variety than previous years recording the Common Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Hairstreak and more common Cabbage Whites in my garden, which is encouraging news if this proves to be a nationwide trend. Taking part involves choosing a place, and recording the number and varieties of butterfly and moth spotted in a 15 minute period and then submitting your findings to the Big Butterfly Count. You have to register to take part and will recieve a free butterfly chart or app which will help you to identify the different species. The Big Butterfly Count takes place until 12th of August this year. For more information contact the Big Butterfly Count here.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Tomma Abts

There is further painterly abstract goodness to be seen in London this summer courtesy of Tomma Abts at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. I really admire her aesthetic, although the abstraction here is more graphic and less painterly than Hodgkin's, being more concerned with pattern than brushstrokes. I was surprised at how good Abts' paintings actually are when you meet them face to face. Most conform to a 48cm x 38cm format which Abts has used for over twenty years. The format of the paintings is particularly appealing because of their intimate scale, and I would be interested in seeing how Abts' work translates to a bigger scale perhaps in future. Although Abts claims to have no preconceived notions of final composition or source material, I do detect possible influences in their slickness and pattern from the Memphis design group, and possibly the poster designs/graphics of the Athena group, both very popular, and the latter very ubiquitous in the 1980s. You could also draw paralells with the visually dazzling, disruptive work of Bridget Riley, although the works here are looser and less rigorously formatted than those of Riley. This exhibition is definately worth a visit.

Tomma Abts
until 9th September
Serpentine Sackler Gallery
West Carriage Drive