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Posts Tagged ‘surrealism’

All of the framing and preparations finally came together on Thursday when everything was cosily loaded into the back of my friend Juliet’s little blue Peugot. Having got completely lost in the dark underbelly of the Barbican – if you think it’s a maze above then try going underneath it all – we surfaced to Level 2 with the help of the wonderful support of Leslie, the Library Technician. He couldn’t have been more helpful and made putting everything up remarkably stress-free, as did Juliet Walker whose brilliant eye and professionalism really helped in hanging my work, as did Macsud for being there and doing all the time consuming jobs that would have worn me out even more. 

There are over 100 original pieces in the show (60 of them being my postcard collages which are shown here in the cases below) covering over 20 years of work.

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The earliest painting is from 1990 and is called Imago. I made this when I was at university in Aberystwyth after a trip to Tuscany and it hung at my parents house in Rugby for many years. The most recent pieces are a painting called The New Shore and my etching called Another World, inspired by the song of the same title by Antony and the Johnsons.

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It’s a month since I blogged so a lot to catch up on. I’ve just got back from a rainy week in Portugal, missing the good weather in the UK, and now sitting in Skylark Gallery with the cold wind and rain falling outside – the weather performing a Bank Holiday Special.

Yesterday I queued up early morning to see the David Hockney show at the Royal Academy which finishes today. It wasn’t the 4 hour wait some had reported – I was there at 9.15 and was in by 10.45. I must admit I was disappointed with about 80% of the pieces shown. I thought much of the work looked rushed and unfinished, and could really have done with a critical eye over it beforehand to cherrypick the best pieces; the show wouldn’t have suffered for less work being shown. Surprisingly the ipad drawings in reproduction worked very well, seeming to retain the lightbox effect of the technology on the printed version. Light was what seemed to be missing from many of those big flatly painted canvases, along with any real vision or depth to the images. I really liked 3 of the hawthorn blossom pictures which seemed to have more form in their amorphic surrealism than some of the more straight pictures of trees and landscapes, and also more fun and pop joy in nature effervescing.

In terms of subject matter, this was all of course right up my lane, so to speak. In March I went up to Oxford to see the Graham Sutherland exhibition at MOMA called An Unfinished World – focusing on his dark and neo-romantic pictures of Pembrokeshire on paper, landscapes and trees being so similar in subject matter to the Hockney show. The scale of the work differed hugely to Hockney’s of course, but the images hold more magic and emotion. Sutherland for me is able to infuse mystery into an image, and the highlights were 4 studies for Entrance to a Lane shown together. The sense of place conveyed by Sutherland is missing from Hockney’s vision of the countryside, I think because Hockney is concerned with the surface of the world and not what lies beneath.

When Hockney looks in detail with the camera montages of lanes and hedges, it is again just the surface, and no matter how big the image is, there is nothing revelatory about the changes in season or the atmosphere of the landscape for those of us who walk regularly along lanes and across fields. My favourite of these moving images was the hedgerow on a windy day simply because of the movement that was lacking in the unmoving surfaces of the other films.

In Oxford, a visit late in the day to the Ashmolean Museum led us to the Print Room for an hour to examine the superb Samuel Palmer drawings and sepia pictures of his visionary years in Shoreham. That really was a magical experience to hold the pictures and be able to examine them with a magnifying glass in all their minute and exquisite detail. Interesting too that the ink is a much darker brown than I remembered when I had seen them at the British Museum show of his work a few years back, but this may be influenced by the tan coloured reproductions which seem to have been produced over the years.

So I’m feeling inspired to paint again, but in the meantime I’ve added some more collage postcards to my website – the first shown here is called The Ascent of Man and the second is The Surprising Attractions of the Rheidol Valley, Aberystwyth.

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There are 8 more new ones in the collage gallery of my site.

I’m now gearing up for showing my work in the Pavilion Cafe in Dulwich Park as part of the Dulwich Festival Open House next month (14th May – 3rd June), and before that at Grand Designs Live at London’s Excel with Skylark Galleries from 4th-13th May.

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