Monday, June 23, 2014

Unusually quiet - relatively

Yesterday we made the first of our two annual summer visits to central London: to see the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  Both the streets around and the exhibition itself were unusually quiet, much to my delight.  The exhibition also was not too full of work, and so the whole was a most pleasant experience.  This year for me there was one outstandingly outstanding piece of art, many other pleasures, and several pieces which inspired me to roll up my sleeves to get working.
Anselm Kiefer: Kranke Kunst image from this review of the exhibition
The Kiefer was the most outstanding work on show for me.  This image does not begin to do it justice; the visceral presence of the painting has to be there to feel its full force.  I am really looking forward to the exhibition of Kiefer's work at the Royal Academy in the Autumn.

I will divide the work which attracted or inspired me and made me think over the next few days.  Here are the first three.
Tender machines-Pylon from here
It was mostly prints which got me excited and itching to get working - with the exception of a watercolour (above) by Lucy Austin which I found delightful, and set wheels turning in my brain. This especially because I find technological furniture in the landscape - such as pylons and wind turbines an interesting subject.
I have recently finished reading an excellent monograph by Andrew Lambirth on the painter and printmaker Stephen Chambers, and so was most interested to see his works on show.  The print above is from his Casanova series - a set of 13 etchings as one piece of work (pic. from here).  Although I have been drawn to and admired Chambers' work, both painting and prints, for some years now, it was great to be able to look at examples of each medium so soon after reading about his inspirations, motivations, and techniques.  The monograph contains a substantial contribution from Chambers himself.
A Thaw, collagraph and block print (pic. from here)
I noticed a plaque next to this print stating that it had won the Original Print Fair prize.  It had already attracted my attention, and on checking I found that it is by Katherine Jones whose work I admire tremendously. I love her use of line, colour, and how she renders 3D as 2D. 


  1. I love Anselm Kiefer's work - always powerful in experssiona and materials and size, and very thought provoking. I was thrilled to see a large exhibition of his work in Germany many years ago and do wish I could see these shows.

    Print shows are also great to see though they seem not to appear as often as other media.

    Thanks for sharing, once again, Olga! Glad to hear these inspired you.

  2. Yeeks, forgot to check for typos - that is "expression"

  3. Yes, Marja-Leena, we are lucky indeed to be having the Kiefer exhibition later this year. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy, so we see a piece by him every summer. It feels such a powerful piece every time, and is somehow in a category of its own amongst even other fantastic work.

    We are also lucky that there seem to be increasing print shows now - perhaps because prints are less expensive than paintings. In looking through arts listings there are always exhibitions of prints, photographs, ceramics, ... the minority by far is the medium of textiles here. Although having said that, I was astonished at how many textile pieces were in the Summer Exhibition.

  4. I remember seeing the Stephen Chambers prints, but the others...not. Nor the McKeever or Furnivaux you blogged about today! Must go back and look again!

  5. oops, that's Furneaux - thanks for the introduction to his work.

  6. Margaret, it is amazing how much one can miss. I used to worry about it, but now I simply enjoy what I do see.