Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Grayson Perry

Earlier this year I saw the BBC 'Imagine' documentary on Grayson Perry and his transvestite alter ego Clare, preparing for his current show at the British Museum. I was recently in Manchester and caught a smaller version of the BM show at Manchester City Art Gallery, which contains a selection of his pots and prints along with various items from the gallerys' collection. I love the combination of serious issues and whimsy documented in an unashamedly decorative way in his work. Hope to catch the BM show before it finishes.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Degas and the Ballet

Spent a very pleasant morning at the RA in the company of the work of Monsieur Degas. I was introduced to his work at school, and wrote an essay on him as part of my O Level Art exam and have been an admirer of his work ever since.

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement focuses on his attempts at capturing the movement of dancers through drawings, sculpture, oil and pastel paintings. It also documents pioneering photographers of movement such as Nadar and Muybridge, who showed how humans and animals really moved. 

Although it has become easy nowadays to dismiss most of his ballet pictures as twee, when one looks at the context of the time they were produced, you can appreciate how controversial the subject matter was, given how some of the ballerinas were forced to supplement their incomes by "entertaining" rich patrons in private rooms at the Opera after ballet performances.

Among the innovations of Degas' work at this time were the use of photographs and Japanese prints from which he took foreshortening and cutting off figures by objects 
within the picture or the picture frame in an attempt to show realism. Working in pastel and presenting these as finished paintings in themselves was also another innovation and has its modern day equivalent in the work of Paula Rego.

It was interesting to see his working sketches of the dancers but I think the exhibition would have benefited from more of his major finished painting and pastel pieces.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Fine Feathered Friends

I am a huge admirer of our avian friends as you will no doubt guess from my Bird Gallery, and I like to depict them as well as butterflies. I recently attended the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition and was alarmed to see the devastation humans still continue to wreak on these beautiful creatures. The exhibition attempted to highlight extinct species and artistic contributions were made by Sir Peter Blake and Ralph Steadman amongst others. My eye however, was caught by the wonderful retro styling of this Bishops O' o' bird by illustrator Ben Newman which I covet. It is a screen-print on wood and I particularly like the handmade qualities such as the slight mis-registration  of the image and the fact that you can still see the woodgrain showing through.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Cambridge Christmas

I visited Cambridge last week and more specifically Cambridge Contemporary Art, to deliver some new pieces for their Christmas Show. Among them I will be showing two new pieces - "Little Red Dress", created from a new dress template, and "Coronet", created with metallic gold thread and gold leaf. The Christmas Show runs from Friday 25th November until 24th December 2011.Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity St, Cambridge.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

E. McKnight Kauffer: Poster King

Visited the Estorick Collection, Islington recently to see the E. McKnight Kauffer exhibition. I really love the graphic design from this period (1920s and 30s), and especially Kauffers' work which was an influence on my own commercial work as an illustrator. 

The show runs until 18th December and contains many of his iconic posters for the Herald newspaper, Shell and London Underground and other near perfect combinations of typography and image. There are also interiors, paintings and theatre designs created by Kauffer. 

Not sure if I would describe him as the "Poster King" , as I think there are other designers    (Hohlwein, Capiello, Cassandre), who are more deserving of that accolade. He was a fantastic designer nonetheless and this is a good show. Reach!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Windsor Contemporary Art Fair

I will be exhibiting work at Windsor Contemporary Art Fair from Friday 11th November (Private View 6pm - 9pm) to Sunday 13th November. I will be exhibiting on Stand 83. Hope to see you there.