31 July 2016

Warli painting

Fascinating exhibition of Warli (tribeP painting from north India, at Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood till January 2017. Traditionally it's mural painting but is now done on cloth and paper, with well-known practitioners. The work is often large-scale, done on dark backgrounds in white, with fine lines and details.

Closer up -

30 July 2016

Mona Hatoum at Tate Modern

"A comprehensive exploration into 35 years of Hatoum's work in Britain, from her early performance and video works to her sculpture and large-scale installation" is at Tate Modern till 21 August.

"Born in Beirut to a Palestinian family, Mona Hatoum settled in England in 1975. Her work creates a challenging vision of our world, exposing its contradictions and complexities, often making the familiar uncanny. Through the juxtaposition of opposites such as beauty and horror, she engages us in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination." See a short video at www.tate.org.uk...mona-hatoum
Light Sentence 1992
 "I choose materials in a very intuitive way - if those materials are seductive to me, I want to use them. If they resonate with me, they're gonna have the same effect on people."
Barbed wire - Impenetrable 2009
 When she has a residency somewhere, she often spends her time going around markets and junk shops to find things to use, such as pieces of furniture that she transforms in some way - "assisted readymades, if you like", sometimes united into an environment, perhaps with added electricity.
Cellules 2012/13 - steel bars and red bown glass
 "Sometimes I feel that there's still room for development of each of the works that I somehow worked with and then abandoned to go into something else." She often makes work that responds to a space, and the culture and history of the space and its location. "I go into a totally different direction for that exhibition, and the next exhibition can take me somewhere else."
Undercurrent (Red) 2009
She doesn't used sketchbooks any more - "They're too heavy and too serious". She uses spiral-bound notebooks now, and always carries a small one in her purse. Some of her sketchbooks and notebooks, and smaller objects, are gathered in a vitrine. Beautifully kept.

29 July 2016

Footloose in Richmond

Having had coffee with a friend, I went for a little explore, stopping indecisively in a charity shop or two, not really interested in shopping ... so out came the camera, because there's lots of quirkyness and loveliness among the touristy quaintness and desirable residences of Richmond.
You can feel quite lost, wandring about
Or ... re-invent yourself through art?
Richmond is on the Thames -
View from the bridge
Boats for hire, nice day out
Interesting old buildings -
Preserving history in an old painted sign

Fairly recent history

18th century door cases

There's something about a nice pair of doors....

More doors, early 20th century
 Down a side street -
An elegant sign

Gallery (closed) and studio (also closed)
 Elsewhere -
Ironwork ... in excess ...

Bollards extraordinaire

Amazing wall of flowering jasmine ... and huge wisterias on the same street
 The downside is a flight path -
Descending to Heathrow

28 July 2016

Poetry Thursday - The Shirt, by Carol Ann Duffy

The Shirt

Afterwards, I found him alone at the bar and asked him what went wrong. It's the shirt, he said. When I pull it on it hangs on my back like a shroud, or a poisoned jerkin from Grimm seeping its curse on to my skin, the worst tattoo.
I shower and shave before I shrug on the shirt, smell like a dream; but the shirt sours my scent with the sweat and stink of fear. It's got my number.
I poured him another shot. Speak on, my son. He did.
I've wanted to sport the shirt since I was a kid, but now when I do it makes me sick, weak, paranoid.
All night above the team hotel, the moon is the ball in a penalty kick. Tens of thousands of fierce stars are booing me. A screech owl is the referee.
The wind's a crowd, forty years long, bawling a filthy song about my Wag. It's the bloody shirt! He started to blub like a big girl's blouse and I felt a fleeting pity.
Don't cry, I said, at the end of the day you'll be back on 100K a week and playing for City.

Carol Ann Duffy

Written in 2010 in response to England's dismal World Cup performance.

In this short interview (video from 1989), she says the role of poetry is to improve the quality of life, and to make alive a lot of the areas of our lives that are suppressed.

27 July 2016

Imagination running on overtime

"Interpersonal" relationships are everywhere - most obviously in chairs, which stand in for the people who sat or will sit in them. Some scenarios immediately make you see inanimate objects as participants in a drama, ie as (human) actors.

Here, the traffic lights seem to me to become "people" - are they a couple ignoring each other while the "slain" light tries to rise up again - or is about to sink down for the last time, despite the protection on offer. Or, is the couple keeping a lookout? And what about the "Green Man" on the other side of the street?

Metaphors are everywhere ... don't look too hard.

26 July 2016

Drawing Tuesday - Museum of London

We roamed all over the museum. I was rather hankering after a skeleton, and found this big chunk of bone in the first gallery -
It's the left rear foot of a 300,000 year old elephant, and I got to know it quite well, using six different media, which makes for a crowded page. I seem to have paid more attention to the shape of the bones, rather then to the scale and proportions -
Top left, blind drawing with HB pencil; top right, 4B and 8B, starting at the centre.
Middle left, soluble HB, with some measuring; right, Lumograph EE pencil, first making an outline then doing the filling in.
Bottom left, ivory black watercolour pencil, right V-ball pen (and quite fed up at that point).
I'm not tempted to use water with the soluble HB or the watercolour pencil ... not even sure how to go about it! (A few tips are here and here. No excuses!) (And for coloured pencils, this is basic, a way to start.)

Najlaa enjoyed the pattering of a Chinese plate -
 Carol immersed herself in patterning too - some decorated floor tiles -
Sue found a collection of cooking implements -
 Janet found an architectural model that more than filled the page -

25 July 2016

Tube geekery

"Secrets of the Circle Line" will feed you public transport trivia ... and make the next journey on the "yellow line" a little more in-depth. And once you've watched that, hop over to one of the other tube lines.

An excerpt:  homage to the  roundel on a drainpipe at 55 Broadway, built as the headquarters of what is now called London Underground -
On completion, it was the tallest office block in London - and what, after all, can be taller than an office block?

24 July 2016

Arty summery day

Saturday afternoon at Tate Modern, my first visit to the Switch House extension.
 The viewing platform goes all around the 10th floor, and this is part of the view.

Sky high cat (it's under the sofa) and reflected brickwork
Hundreds of kids on bikes, doing wheelies all over the road
 A very quick look at some art -
It made musical noises
Mirrored cubes (what a photo op!) and blue cubes that get rearranged at 10 every day
On the way home, time to look at Bankside Gallery -
Work by Sally McLaren
A monotype, with collage

23 July 2016

Saturday routine

As part of "domestic maintenance", Saturday morning includes a trip to the grocery store, not so much for a Big Shop but for an excuse to have breakfast out, at the nearby coffee shop, and to sit there for an hour working on an ipad drawing. Then a wander round Waitrose, remember to get the weekend paper, and quick home before the ice cream melts.

The drawings are mounting up - here are a couple of the newer ones -