Tuesday, January 07, 2014

First foot forward

On Sunday we decided to take advantage of a lull in weather and general activity to make our first visit to the recently refurbished Tate Britain.
It was a still day, pale grey but mild, little traffic, and no rain until we were back through our own front door again.  It was also a quiet day within the gallery - a perfect introduction to the new Members' area.
We were fond of the previous Members' room which felt very much like a staff sittingroom in some quiet college somewhere, especially first thing on a weekend morning which is when we visit.  This new one is much more grand, but also designed in such a way that its nooks are calm, with quirky furniture - the design elements work very well I think.
We were not there to see any particular exhibition, but curiosity drew us to Painting Now: five contemporary artists.  As I said in my previous post we were amongst very few other visitors, and had each of the five rooms to ourselves most of the time.  I was familiar only with one of the five artists previously: Tomma Abts.  Here are two articles here and here from the time when she won the Turner Prize.  And here is a link to more work, as well as photos of how it looks in a white cube setting.
Tomma Abts: Hepe 2010
Tomma Abts: Jeels 2012
Superficially this is not the kind of work which immediately attracts me, but it somehow subversively drew me to look closer when I first saw examples at the Turner Show exhibition.  It calms and yet confuses, tricks in its apparent simplicity, and actually has warmth and humour.  It is because I appreciated the work of Tomma Abts that I was drawn to Altoon Sultan's work and blog, Studio and Garden.  It was very much a lesson in appreciating why one should never say never,  nor be definite about one's likes and dislikes!
I enjoy elements such as use of colour, line, balance, playing with negative and positive spaces in the work of many styles - excellent exponents have so much to delight the eye which looks long enough to see.


  1. This blogging thing brings so many unexpected surprises and so many new avenues ...
    For the second time today, you remind me that I should visit Tate Britain again very soon - and you give more artists unknown to me. Thank you.

  2. Our paths may have crossed...we were at Tate Britain on Sunday too, in the members' area for a while, but mostly in the 16th to 19th century.

  3. Yes Margaret, the blogosphere is a world in which we could wander in wonder for ever it seems!

    Margaret, how interesting - great minds .... We had our coffee at the start of our visit, and then kept to the 20th century and beyond.

  4. Wow, what a glorious building. I think I would have to go, just to look at the beautiful achitecture, if of course I didn't live in Australia

  5. Vicki - you have some beautiful architecture in Australia too, not to mention stunning landscape - which I'm doubtful I shall see. But perhaps you will visit the cold North some time.

  6. I agree with you Olga, that this is work that grows on you - it certainly has with me, and I've looked at this post 3 or 4 times now. Elements of it remind me of artists who were exhibiting at the Whitney Museum Bienniale two years ago, which is always about the avant-garde of American art, and I mention this because I have not seen many paintings like this in this country, but then, that might just be me. I thoroughly enjoyed these paintings, and of course, the glorious building.

  7. Eirene I'm glad that you too are attracted to Tomma Abts' work. We were very fortunate in being able to look at the work alone, and be able to go from painting to painting and back, and be able to discuss them and point out elements without being worried about getting in anyone's way.

    I am certainly glad that art provides such variety to keep us on our toes.