John Martin 'Apocalypse'
I caught this in Sheffield after the bikeride, having decided to wander along to an art gallery. Martin was a favourite of the people and disliked by the art snobs. And this was the first major retrospective in over 30 years (yes I am stealing from the blurb there). It's had rave reviews from a number of papers since it's turned up at the Tate. I didn't like it.
I think Martin sums up, to me, everything I don't like about the Victorian style of painting. It's overtly romanticised, it's hyper-nature, and especially in Martin's work, there's a 'don't fuck with god' theme rocking it's way through everything. The paintings are big, bold, and thematically huge. But left me cold. I could see how his imagery influenced fantasy art, although given his limited popularity after his lifetime, whether it actually did or not is another question.
That's from the Tate, one of the prints you can buy - click here.
L.S.Lowry - Nottingham Uni
I like Lowry, and it was certainly one goal while over here to see more of his paintings in the flesh. We caught a fair number in Manchester while we there, but then an exhibition just up the road kinda fell in our lap. We came across it thanks to the local BBC news. Generally a waste of time, it redeemed itself. Once.
Nottingham Uni have an art gallery (news to me too!) which had a major exhibition of Lowry's work. Go see it.
Brief review that one. Um yeah, had everything I wanted and more. His delicate portrayal of northern life kinda sucks you in, and makes me wonder how much influence he had on the eastern european animated cartoonists. There's a lot more to Lowry than his working class painting, there's collections of caricatures. I particularly enjoyed the increasing sense of isolation and separation in his later works - after his mother died - helped no end as I was playing Kate Bush's 50 words for snow, which fitted perfectly the desolate landscapes dotted through the exhibition - something I didn't realise he did, no people at all in these.
A large number of cartoons I thought emphasised the affection Lowry seems to have had for his subjects, and they demonstrate the weirdness he does with perspective occurred in the drafts for the paintings. Cool.
More importantly, I got to see one of my favourite Lowry's, not one of his industrials, rather it's of a graveyard. I dunno why I like it, possibly the influence on Tim Burton? Who knows, anyway here it is:
That's from the Abacus Gallery who do prints of it.
This reminds me, I was going to go back again. Hmmm must sort that out (yeah, that's how much I liked the exhibition, oh and it's free. WTF?)
Gerhard Richter - Tate
I like him. And since we were down in London before I went to a Marillion gig, and then to Belgium, hell why not take in an exhibition. And it's a rather major exhibition. There seemed to be something for everyone in this, history (confronting the nazi heritage, 9/11, baader meinhof), isolation, comedy, landscapes to lose yourself in. Some of it's confrontational, some comforting. Pretty much everything you want in an exhibtion. And even better, it wasn't packed. Something to be said for early Weds afternoon viewings... I liked that he wasnt stuck in one medium, he seemed to dabble in everything. There's links to many prominent 20th C painters (Rothko, Twombly etc), which probably explains why I like Richter. Hard to pick favourites, but I did enjoy the grey series.
Rather than picking one picture, here's a link to pretty much everything.
Ford Maddox Brown - Manchester Art Gallery
We enjoyed our trip to Manchester - we decided to make a long weekend of it with Tori Amos being the Friday night, then wandering around pubs and art galleries on the Sat/Sun. Oh and music shops. Yeah, Manc seems to tick the boxes for us, good food, beer, music and art.
Ford Maddox Brown was a pre-Raph painter. I prefer slightly more obscure or later stuff, but I enjoyed this exhibition. He'd come up recently on Antiques Roadshow as they showed the murals in the Manc Town Hall, which is probably what prompted us to head in.
There's other exhibitions I've pottered along to, but those ones I wanted to comment on.
Next up, possibly gigs, or food.