Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Here's the third part of the film shot at Dulwich Picture Gallery by the splendid Acap Media. Great close-ups of several lovely paintings from the last room of the Ravilious exhibition: Darkness and Light.
Monday, 22 June 2015
|James Ravilious, Archie Parkhouse & his dog Sally, copyright Beaford Arts|
This being Bristol's year of being European Green Capital the three exhibitions are united by the artists' shared interest in nature and our relationship with the natural world.
In the main room, with its wonderful high ceiling and natural light, are gigantic works on paper by Peter Randall-Page RWA and (as of last week) RA, across which flow great tributaries, or family trees, or neural pathways in brown or black ink. Pattern and order on the one hand, freedom on the other, combining to give an impression of organic systems.
One work forms a screen, behind which lurk other, rather different forms. Actually some of these are beautiful, while others recall Surrealist fantasies of creatures alarmingly combined. It would really spoil the surprise if I described them. Suffice to say, Kate MccGwire must spend an awful lot of time collecting feathers, while the installation of her gorgeous-but-monstrous creations is surely a logistical nightmare.
|James Ravilious, John Bennett, traveller, copyright Beaford Arts|
Although he chose photography over drawing or painting, James shared important qualities with his father Eric (who died, it should be noted, when he was only three), such as clarity of focus, a powerful sense of structure and a willingness to work with the sun in his eyes. Here and there one can see the influence of Edwin Smith, whom James got to know through Peggy Angus, but most of the work is unmistakeably, charismatically his.
One of Eric's less well known skills lay in making friends with people - the owners of greenhouses or abandoned lighthouses, patrons, etc - and in his decades taking photographs for the Beaford Archive James demonstrated an even greater sociability. Rather than snap people anonymously he got to know them, often very well, so that they trusted him and were themselves in front of his camera. Go and have a look, and if you know anyone who is studying photography tell them they HAVE to go.
|Laura Knight, Spring, 1916-20, Tate|
Thursday, 11 June 2015
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Here's a short video of me discussing Ravilious on the day the Dulwich exhibition opened. If you feel I'm not talking complete rubbish please come along to one of the talks I'm giving over the next month, and say hello! - details in the sidebar...
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
|Laura Knight with model, self-portrait, 1913, copyright artist's estate|
|Barbara Hepworth, photo copyright Peter Keen, 1950s, NPG|
I can't see AGD plumping for anyone from the last century. His History of British Art got through the interwar years in just a couple of pages. But Modern British is in the ascendant, and the auction houses would love to see Hepworth's face printed on the piles of money the publicity would generate. She has a good face for a banknote, a serious face with plenty of character. Then again, choosing Lucien Freud might give the Queen an opportunity for revenge; large HM on one side, tiny Lucien on the other...
|JMW Turner, self-portrait, Tate|
|Tim Spall as Turner, in Mr Turner, 2014|
|Thomas Gainsborough, self-portrait, NPG|
But the winner will no doubt be Turner, which is a shame. It would be fun to have the kids asking, 'Dad, lend us a Grayson.'