Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tate Britain: Details

I can't seem to keep away from Tate Britain of late. Tate Modern has been hogging all the limelight with its impressive new Herzog and de Meuron designed Swith House extension which opens this weekend, but I've been making weekly visits to Tate Britain since March and seem to discover or notice something new on each visit. I think the gallery is looking the best it has for a long time, and I love the beauty of the little details each visit reveals. 

I hadn't taken much notice of the carvings and decorative stonework like these wonderful sphinxes on the facade before, or the details on the wrought ironwork of the fences. The crowns atop the gateposts (at the bottom of this post), are wonderfully decorative. 

The dome at the entrance, by Victorian architect Sidney R.J. Smith is a beautiful piece of architectural design, as are the modern additions by Caruso St John.

The strong sculptural pieces in the Tate collection have been a real inspiration, and are the thing that draws me in on each visit, whether it be the wonderful pieces on display inside, the lovely wood carvings that frame the paintings, or stone carvings that adorn the gallery facade. On the first of my recent visits there were two pieces that immediately stood out for me. The first being Red Slate Circle by Richard Long. I loved the rough, tactile qualities of it, it's like a craggy maze, and it is the first time that I have noticed slate in that particular hue

The second was this piece No Title (2002), by Richard Wright (above), which is particularly beautiful. It's so unobtrusive, and so unconscientiously 'quiet' compared to other pieces that command attention in this room, that you would walk past it and miss it if you weren't aware. It sits quietly above the viewers sightline and doesn't draw attention to itself, it just sits in its own space and power. Something about it commanded my attention and I return to it on each visit. Its a fragile, delicate lace-like design comprising just two colours in gouache but it is also very strong. I love it.

Drawing for Free Thinking - David Tremlett's colourful installation on the Manton staircase is an immersive installation. I also like the small vase of beautiful blooms that I've noticed which appear intermittently at the top of this staircase.