Saturday, 30 April 2011

Anish Kapoor - Flashback. Exhibition Review.

Anish Kapoor, Flashback Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. 29th April 2011

The first exhibition solely dedicated to the work of Anish Kapoor outside of London features sculptures and installations made from pigment, wax, stone and  stainless steel. Personally I think these materials collaborate well together, rather than fight for attention in the same room. The first sculpture I came to was 'Moon Shadow' 2005, made from wood, wax and an oil-based paint. I liked this sculpture as I felt it had a hidden drama to it; the wax and paint mixture made it look like it was still wet and had only been flung up onto the wall moments ago, the viewer is witnessing the few seconds before it falls from the wall and becomes a different piece of work entirely. The suspense and tentative nature of Kapoor's works makes them distinguished against other artist's.

'Moon Shadow'

"I don't wish to make sculpture about form - it doesn't really interest me. I wish to make sculpture about belief, or about passion, or about experience that is outside of material concern." Anish Kapoor 1981

'Turning the World Inside Out' 1995, made from stainless steel is a welcome piece amongst the sculptures made from wax and pigment. The reflective nature of the steel works well with the bold colours such as red, and yellow in the room. I feel the sculpture is quiet in form; smooth curves of steel seem humble against the spikes of the pigment and wax pieces. For me, the title of 'Turning the World Inside Out' seemed the most literal of all. The sculpture could be the world itself; turning inside out and imploding. Or it could be turning the world which surrounds the sculpture turning inside out. Due to it's reflective nature, it seems to be sucking inward the surrounding environment.

'Turning the World Inside Out'

'When I am Pregnant' by Kapoor, 1992, made from fibreglass, wood and paint, blurs the lines between work and gallery so much, this sculpture almost goes unnoticed. A subtle bump in the wall of the gallery, it is only really seen from the side, if this sculpture is looked at from straight on, it almost completely disappears as it is painted perfectly into the gallery wall

'Void' 1994, fibreglass and pigment, was another favourite of mine. A dome, which reminded me of half an egg-shell shape, had a deep purple exterior and a blackened interior. It is obvious to see that to get colour of this depth and intensity, pigment was Kapoor's only choice. The title of void, comes from the uncertainty of the blackened interior. When looking at this sculpture I studied it hard to decide whether it was a flat surface or if it did in fact curve inwards; the intensity of the colour makes this unbearably hard to figure out. With Kapoor's work, the voids envelope the viewer.


'White Sand, Red Mullet, Many Flowers' 1982, mixed media and pigment, was what looked like the centre-piece of the exhibition. In the centre of the room, the sculptures looked like sandcastles of pigment, in red, yellow, and black. His use of pigment is clearly directly influenced by his Indian heritage and upbringing in India. The sculptures look like sandcastles that are precise and accurate in form. They look soft and crushable yet their form and structure appear strong. I like the visible tension between soft materials and solid forms.

'White Sand, Red Mullet, Many Flowers.'

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

French Drawings, Poussin to Seurat. Exhibition Review.

French Drawings Exhibition, From Poussin to Seurat.
The National Gallery of Scotland Complex, Edinburgh.

Whilst in Edinburgh meeting the Intermedia students from Edinburgh Art College, I had a chance to visit some exhibitions around the city, one of which was the French Drawing Exhibition, in The National Gallery Complex, on Thursday 7th April.

After handing in my essay on Impressionism to Post-Impressionism (more specifically; the notion of a modern painter) only a few days earlier, I was really interested in visiting this show due to the massive amount of knowledge I now had on the subject. The exhibition was spread out amongst four rooms; the first was full of renaissance style drawings, mostly landscapes, and Italian influences were clearly visible in the early French work. This went onto two more rooms of similar styles, each with a mix of Italian-inspired landscapes and religiously allegorical images by classically trained old masters such as Ingres. As this is an exhibition of French drawings, many of the pieces on display are of a small scale and are simply studies for the larger, finished version. I preferred this as I love sketchbooks and seeing how artists develop their ideas and thoughts into finished pieces.

My favourite from the first few rooms of work, was the 'Study of Drapery' by Joseph-Ferdinand Lancrenon. I loved this simple drawing despite it only being an unfinished study for bigger and better work, I was just completely impressed with the sheer skill and talent it takes to perfect such three-dimensions with just pencil and chalk. I enjoyed the contrast in tones between the drapes of the sheet Lancrenon had drawn; the chalk highlights contrast well with not only the dark pencil lines depicting the folds but also the beige background he chose to draw on.

'Study of Drapery'

The fourth room in the exhibition was what I really came to see; this was full of the Impressionist paintings. There was work by Alfred Sisley, Paul Gauguin, C├ęzanne, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot who as a female painter, stands amongst a whole gallery of male artists.

As one of my favourite artists anyway, Claude Monet's 'Haystacks: Snow Effect' was my favourite painting from possibly the whole exhibition. Despite it being a painting of snow and winter weather, the orange tones glowing underneath the blue and white of the snow, provide a radiating warmth to the piece. The deep blue and grey shadow of the haystacks shows subtle contrast close up, but when you take a few steps back to view the work, it becomes unbelievably three-dimensional. The grainy texture and visible brushstrokes capture the sense of rural landscape. Monet painted the Haystacks in Giverny countless times; as Charles Baudelaire at the time wrote, the modern painter paints the eternal qualities in our transitory world. Monet painted the haystacks over and over, capturing the eternal beauty found in fleeting moments, such as sunrise and sunset, snow and ice, and sunlight and rain.

'Haystacks: Snow Effect'

Another one of my favourites from the exhibition was the 'Seated Nude: Study for 'Une Baignade' by Georges Seurat. I liked this study because it was totally different from the paintings recognisable of Seurat but the figure is still identifiable as a figure from his very well known work of bathers sitting alongside a river.

'Seated Nude'


Saturday, 9 April 2011

Edinburgh and Intermedia.

Interactive Arts is a unique course and with this in mind, Brigid Smart (a fellow I. Arts student) arranged a trip to Edinburgh to meet a similar course: Intermedia from Edinburgh Art College. Like Interactive Arts, Intermedia is also a very unique and so a small group of Interactive Arts students travelled up to Edinburgh to network with the students studying there from Tuesday 5th April to Friday 8th April. Unfortunately due to looming deadlines the Intermedia students had, we didn't get a chance to work on any projects that week. However, we met everyone on the Intermedia course, got a tour of their studios and college, had a few meet and greet sessions, we attended a degree fundraiser with them and got to plan for when we will hopefully collaborate; when Intermedia visits Manchester in May.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

osa/Merzen Exhibition and CUBElab.

Recently while I have been volunteering at the CUBE Gallery on Portland Street, there has been a change in exhibition and I have been invigilating the osa/Merzen exhibition based on the work of Kurt Schwitters and the CUBElab residency which is about the story of the water of Manchester and it's origins.

osa/Merzen at the CUBE Gallery is a gallery based installation and off site project which is changing the interior of the gallery space. Based on a term called "Merz" which is a method of arranging collected objects, a technique which refers to Kurt Schwitters way of working. There is a collage by Schwitters in the gallery throughout this project. The exhibition is part of the Merzman Festival in Manchester, which is showing exhibitions and events around the city inspired by Kurt Schwitters and his work in modern architecture and contemporary art. osa (office for subversive architecture) is developing the installation in the CUBE Gallery. Just like city development in Manchester, the installation and gallery space will transform in an ongoing process. All materials used in this are from Manchester and blur the lines between gallery space and installation (or frame and content).

In the CUBElab downstairs, artists Jason Minsky and William Titley are working together on 'Something in the Pipeline.' This is an artist residency made up of a gallery exhibition and a live outdoor performance. The artists are preparing for a journey from Haweswater in Cumbria to Heaton Park in Manchester. Mardale Green was a village in Cumbria which got flooded to create Haweswater, this was to keep up with the increasing demand for water in Manchester as the city grew. The artists are completing their research program in CUBE. The evidence from their field-trips will be shown; maps, drawings, plans, and historical documents will together document the story of the pipeline. The artists will build the Haweswater Reservoir complex and the lost village of Mardale Green out of Kendal Mint Cake. Also a water sample from the reservoir will be brought back to Manchester. They will be following the pipeline as closely as possible between Haweswater reservoir and Manchester communities for the 100 mile journey. The residency will end in a performance of their Kendal Mint Cake model of the Cumbrian location being flooded.

Friday, 1 April 2011