Thursday, 29 September 2016

Dorothea Tanning: Flower Paintings

This a small, but strong exhibition of some of Dorothea Tanning's last paintings and their developmental drawings. Six of the original twelve flower paintings completed between 1997-98 are displayed here. The flowers are figments of Tanning's imagination -
 "I had a vision of a mauve flower. Then more and more wanted to be painted. 
I coud hardly finish one before I'd start the next one"

These large flower paintings will inevitably invite comparisons to those of Georgia O'Keeffe currently on display across town at Tate Modern, because of the subject matter, and also scale. Tanning's are different both in conception and technique though, and there is some lovely nuanced brushwork, where you can see the underpainting and other colours coming through. Tanning's "foray into imaginary botany" also produces flowers which are a little more abstract, and look more like an alien species than the more earhly, easily recognisable varieties depicted by O'Keeffe. In a year of exhibitions in London heavy with female artists who are inspired by nature, they also invite comparison with the works of Hilma af Klint (here), who started her career as a botanical artist, and also the works of Georgiana Houghton (here), whose early plant-like forms were guided by discarnate entities from the world of spirit. In November Winifred Nicholson in Cumberland at the Crane Kalman gallery will show yet more plant inspired paintings from one of Britain's foremost painters of the landscape and still life genre.

Dorothea Tanning: Flower Paintings
until 1st October
Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners Street

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Vogue Portugal September 2016

Absolutley gorgeous, butterfly-inspired spread from this month's Portugese Vogue, beautifully photographed by Jamie Nelson.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

London Design Festival: The Green Room & Foil

Green Room

I really enjoyed the drama of this Green Room installation which explores the concept of time, by London based design studio Glithero at the V&A. It really utilised the space beautifully which is a 17.5 metre drop, and I liked the contrast of the modern vibrant silicone cords against the classical antique architectural elements in the setting of the staircase. Walking up the stairs around the installation I really appreciated the sensations of colour and movement as the cords changed colour. I felt it was another very successful project for the Design Festival.


I also enjoyed the drama of Foil, an installation by design agency Layer in the V&A's Tapestry room. The room was darkened and light effects were created by LED lights reflecting off the small 50,000 triangular, mirror-finished stainless steel panels, which were set on a 20-metre long undulating bed which ran down the centre of the room. The shape of the small reflective panels were inspired by Braun shaver heads, and the installation is a collaborration with the German company. The shimmering lighting effects in the room were complimented by moody, ambient music. It was an interesting sensory experience.

Friday, 23 September 2016

London Design Festival: The Smile

Loved this huge architectural installation in the courtyard of Chelsea College of Art as part of the London Design Festival in the capital this week. It is The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects. The Smile is made of tulipwood and is 34 metres long, and 3 metres high, and contains two 12 metre cantilevered arms which were engineered by Arup.

It has been likened to Noah's Ark, and it certainly felt like it as we were ushered in two by two.

Inside it felt very spacious, and was well lit with strip lighting running along the floor, and also through these small, oval port-holes. I was surprised how steep the structure was inside at each end due to the cantilevered arms. It took a mild effort to climb the steep arms of the structure to see the views at either end. The Smile is a really successful collaboration for all involved, and possibly the event/installation of the 2016 London Design Festival.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Mary Katrantzou AW16

Mary Katrantzou's Autumn/Winter 2016 collection showcased at London Fashion Week back in February channelled the spirit of Warhol's Factory with silver 'clouds' as a catwalk backdrop, and featured bold butterflies among its themes. Below are some of the vibrant patterns synonymous with the Katrantzou studio.

Warholian 'clouds' used as a runway backdrop.

These fake-fur butterfly stoles were a really fun and interesting addition to the look.


Katrantzou takes a well-deserved bow.