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

Monday, 16 July 2018

The March Against "The Man"

I was amazed at the sheer number of protesters, and the strength of feeling against Trump's rhetoric and policies in London on Friday. 

Friday, 13 July 2018

Howard Hodgkin: Last Paintings

Portrait of the artist Listening to Music, 2011 - 2016

To Gagosian Grosvenor Hill once again to see the last painterly output of Howard Hodgkin. There is some great mark-making and use of colour to be observed, as well as a good chance to see the wooden panels and backs of frames that he used as a ground, the grains of which perfectly complement the textures of his particular painting style. 

Over to You, 2015 - 2017

One of Britain’s most celebrated contemporary painters, Hodgkin composed powerful, expressive works that, while nominally abstract, bring representation, gesture, and affect into urgent relation. Last Paintings, presented at the Grosvenor Hill gallery in accordance with the late artist’s wishes, includes the final six paintings that he completed in India prior to his death in March 2017, five of which will be exhibited for the first time. The exhibition includes more than twenty other paintings never before exhibited in Europe.
In 1972 Hodgkin renounced working on canvas in favor of wooden panels and frames, some new and others sourced secondhand in India and Europe. The grain of the wood and the scars and scratches of the supports became integral to the paintings, affirming their physical presence and heft. Last Paintings attests to the immediacy of Hodgkin’s methods, as well as his intuitive understanding of the relationship between hand, eye, and memory.
In Hodgkin’s oeuvre, the legacy of British Romantics such as John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, and Samuel Palmer is palpable in his expressionistic colors, landscapes that bridge representation and abstraction, the sense of time’s passage, and with it the inherent transit of patterns both meteorological and emotional. The earliest work in the exhibition, And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day (2007–08) is nearly three meters in width, and painted on unprimed plywood. The title invokes the connection between nature and the human temperament, allowing their respective fluctuations to unfold gradually as though over the course of an entire day. On closer inspection, the grain of the plywood beneath its green paint emerges as a faint rhythmic pulse.
Toward the end of his life, Hodgkin applied fewer layers of paint to his panels, leaving more of the wooden support exposed, in visible dialogue with the paint. Now (2015–16) embodies an interchange between light and dark, time and feeling, where the natural streaks of the wood are left bare.

Cocktails for Two, 2016 - 2017

Bombay Afternoon, 2016

Bombay Night, 2015 - 2016

Indian Sea, 2016 - 2017
Don't Tell a Soul, 2016

Hello Bombay, 2016

Red Sky in the Morning, 2016

Indoor Games, 2016 - 2017

My Only Sunshine, 2014 - 2015

Knightsbridge, 2009 - 2011

From Memory, 2014 - 2015

Seaside, 2011 - 2012

Through a Glass Darkly, 2015 - 2016

Dirty Window, 2014 - 2015

Autumn Landscape, 2014

Low Cloud, 2015

Music, 2014 - 2015

Red Sky at Night, 2001 - 2011

Indian Veg, 2013 - 2014

Green Monsoon, 2012 - 2015

Fresh Air, 2015

Toffee, 2012

Knitting Pattern, 2015 - 2016

Darkness at Noon, 2015 - 2016

Howard Hodgkin: Last Paintings
until 28th July
20 Grosvenor Hill