Blumenfeld Studio – Somerset House

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Last week when the sun was shining I took a trip into town to see the Blumenfeld exhibition at Somerset House, I watched the most amazing documentary about him on bbc4 last month and have been dying to go ever since. The documentary is called ‘the man who shot beautiful women’ and is a fascinating incite into a complicated man who was so before his time in photo experimentation, hopefully you can still watch it – here.  Blumenfeld still holds the accolade of having photographed the most vogue covers, he came to worldwide fame in the 40s and 50s for his innovative and incredibly stylized fashion photography.

The exhibition itself covers a multiple of ‘small’ rooms in the east wing, the setting is just perfect to show off his prints, I felt like a kid in sweetie shop there is just so much to look at! Here are some of my favorites and sneaky pictures of the show I managed to take on my iphone!

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If you want to read more about Blumenfeld’s life there is a brilliant article written by Tamsin Blanchard called ‘The extraordinary story of Erwin Blumenfeld’ for the telegraph here. The exhibition is free and on until 1st September, they also have a free tour every Thursday at 1.15 pm.

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And of course a picture of Rosie fascinated by the fountains in the courtyard!

The London Original Print Fair

The London Original Print Fair

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Yesterday me and Rosie took the bus into town to check out the ‘London Original Print Fair‘ and it was packed! I’m guessing that’s probably because it was late opening, but there seemed to be just as many stall holders as visitors.

Really this show is aimed at investors wishing to make contacts and purchase art. However there are a lot of great prints by classic artists included a couple by Paul Nash (one of my favorite painters) which once bought by a private collector may not be on public show again. There are no plaques on the walls contextualising the work so either you get it or you don’t, sometimes it’s nice just to come to your own conclusions about things, after all art is meant to be subjective.

Anyway here are a few contemporary pieces which I thought stood out:

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Joe Webb Daydream Series, Silkscreen, 2013

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Louise Bourgeois – Twosome, Drypoint, 2005

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Magne F – Helter Skelter, Woodcut, 2013

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Gary Ratushniak, Umbrellas, Linocut, 1996

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Sir Peter Blake, Found Art – Buttons, Digitial Silk Screen, 2012

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Harland Miller, This Is Where Its Fuckin’ At, At Least It Used To Be, Silkscreen, 2013

I had to rush round the exhibition, but there is an awful lot to see so I probably missed out on some other great works. I wish the RA would let you take photo’s so I could look back over them and check for things I missed out on! I’ve been told off in there a couple of times before for snapping pics so I didn’t risk it.

The fair only has a short run at the Royal Academy finishing at 5 pm on Sunday 28th April. But if you can’t make it you can view the catalog for free here, once you get past the selling spiel it’s actually quite a good quick summary of the show.

Lichtenstein – A Retrospective – The Tate Modern

Lichtenstein – A Retrospective – The Tate Modern

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A little while ago I met up with some old friends to go and see the Lichtenstein retrospective currently being exhibited at the Tate Modern. To be honest we’re usually more coffee and shopping when we all meet together so it was nice to do something different and as one of my lovely friends blagged the tickets for free, who could say no?

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Lichtenstein was one of the key protagonists in the pop art movement shocking the art world in the early sixties with his bold mass culture imagery. This exhibition covers his key works and styles throughout his life time, clearly showing his intense interest and intellectual approach into exploring how painting functions within modern society. An example of this can be seen in the first room ‘brushstrokes’ where he recreated the great abstract expressionist techniques of large flowing brushstrokes by creating them in his own unique mechanical style. As you can see from the above painting he’s done the complete opposite to the natural free flow painting technique typically used by those he’s copying, instead he has painted in minuet detail every spot and mark.

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Although much of Lichtenstein’s work is done with a sense of irony, there are some fascinating painting which show his own exploration into painting techniques. Personally I’ve never claimed to be much of painter, but as someone just generally interested in producing images I really liked his mirror series. It’s fascinating to see someone else so masterfully explore perspective and reflection. Along these lines I also enjoyed his Bull series showing the evolution/devolution (however you personally want to look at it) of painting throughout the twenty century.

Bull I 1973 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

The show is on at the Tate Modern until the 25th May and definitely worth going to see! I’d be surprised if you get the chance to see such a comprehensive exhibition of his work again anytime soon as so many of the works belong to private collectors.

 

 

Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition – Mall Galleries

Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition – Mall Galleries

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The Royal Society of British Artist’s annual exhibition is a collection for work sourced from there own artists and open submission. It is  made up of prints, paintings, sculptures and drawings, the majority of which are for sale. This means that most of the work is tame and commercial,  in other words it’s pictures/objects you’d like to have in your home, but they’re not asking you to think or question anything. Personally I think art can be about both making something which has a message and just making something purely because you think it’s beautiful, so I enjoyed this exhibition.

When I got home I realised that almost all of the pictures I wrote down were of landscapes! I must have them on the brain because we need a nice one to hang above our bed. They were stunning though and some of these pictures just don’t do them justice. I love Sue Campion’s pastles, she is like a cheerier version of mid twenty century painter Paul Nash. While I wish I had a spare £950 to buy Pryke’s ‘Clear water with Pine Shadows’, it really is beautiful.

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The show is on until the end of the week (23rd march) and like most of the exhibitions at the Mall galleries it only costs £3, there is also a little cafe right in the middle of the gallery space so you can sip a hot coffee while admiring some lovely art.

Wool House – Somerset House

Wool House – Somerset House

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Today I went to visit The Campaign For Wool‘s exhibition ‘Wool House‘ at Somerset House billed as the world biggest celebration of wool. The campaign for wool was created by farmers, artisans and the textile industry to promote the use of wool worldwide. This exhibition is a showcase of the top designers within in the world of wool ranging from catwalk favorite Christopher Raeburn (design’s pictured below) to modern crochetdermy artist Shauna Richardson (pictured above).

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The first thing you notice is the plush wool carpets underfoot, if I won the lottery I’d fill my home with them its like walking on freshly fallen snow. The next thing you notice is how diverse the collection is, there is certainly a lot to look at, laid out within a number of small rooms each given over to a different exhibitor. It’s cleverly done with a good juxtaposition from room to room, for example the two rooms below lead straight off each other.IMAG0863-horz

The first is Josephine Ryan’s natural room, filled with lovely soft woods, woolen blankets (of course) and earthy tones. While Anne Kyyrö Quinn‘s modern room is bright and bold with a stunning 100% wool felt wall. This wall is her statement piece, she produces them around the world as a incredibly stylish and sustainable solution to sound proofing.

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The exhibition runs from the 13th – 24th of March with a number of talks and interactive workshops available. The best part is that its free, so really if you’re in town there is no reason not to pop along and check it out, even if it’s just to see Shauna Richardson’s stunning life sized crochet bear!

RA Now –  Royal Acedemy Burlington Gardens

RA Now – Royal Acedemy Burlington Gardens

Apologies for yet again reviewing a show in its last few days. RA Now is an exhibition of the current Royal academicians and is a good chance to see what the creme de la creme have been up to lately. It includes many of the major british artists of the moment including Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor and David Hockney. All the works are available for sale through the RA website, that is of course if you have between £5000 and £200,000+ to burn.

So I’ll start on a positive and share the piece’s I enjoyed the most, I thought Chris Orr’s ‘On the Road to Damascus’ was very captivating it’s one of those pictures you could look at a hundred times and always see something new.

I was pleased to see another Norman Aykroyd whose work I fell a little bit in love with at the Summer Exhibition. This piece is called ‘St Kilda, Boreray’ and it’s got that magnificent atmospheric quality I’ve come to expect from his work.

I’d never heard of Michael Landy before and from a quick look into him online, I’m not sure if I’d like much of his other work. However this piece entitled ‘H.2.N.Y Ying is Yang’ is exactly the type of work I was hoping to see.

Ok so now to the not so positive, I found quite a few of the pieces unoriginal and as for being inspired by other artist they could almost have been done by them. I’ve provided some examples to highlight and better explain what I mean.

On the left is Anthony Eyton ‘Hanging Rock’ 2008-2009 and on the right is Paul Cezanne’s ‘Big tree’ 1904.

On the left is Kenneth Draper’s ‘Quarry – Ascension’ and on the right is Mark Rothko’s ‘Ochre and Red on Red’ 1954 . It’s hard to tell from these picture’s but in the flesh Draper’s work has a very Rothko feel. I love Abstract Expressionism and I like Draper’s Painting but it still lacks the originality I expect from an established artist.

Above Left is Gus Cumming’s ‘Memories’ 2008 and above right is Eric Perry’s ‘Natura I’ 2010, while below them is Joan Miro’s ‘The Escape Ladder’ 1940.

I don’t know if my expectation’s are just too high, but I found the exhibition on the whole uninspiring compared to the work up and coming artists are producing all over Britain. Now to end on a lighter note I found this work by Fiona Rae near the exit and it put a huge smile on my face. It’s called ‘Untitled (orange with black lace)’ and it list price is £10,000. The reason it made me smile is that the similarities between her work and the recent collages my 3-year-old has been bringing home from nursery is uncanny! (yes those are pipe cleaners)

Bite: Artists making Prints – Mall Galleries

Bite: Artists making Prints – Mall Galleries

The Mall Galleries hold a number exhibitions which are open submission and artists can enter up to six pieces of work which they can also make available for sale. ‘Bite’ formally known as ‘Originals’ is for print-makers a medium which is close to my heart and fingers crossed one year I’ll be able enter. Below I have made a gallery of my favorite prints from this years exhibition, sorry they’re not great photographs but most of the artists have websites (which I have linked to the images) where you can see clearer images of their work. The first image is clearly my favorite because it’s by one my best friends from university, Magda Kaggwa.