Friday, March 27, 2015

Metal attraction

Flattened vases, 2006 (from here)
The other day I bought the current issue of one of my favourite magazines: Craft Arts International.  It is an Australian magazine which covers ceramics, glass, wood, prints, textiles,... many top quality studio crafts, and makers from all over the world.  I find the quality of the articles to be just as high as the work they describe, and it is a publication the arrival of which I greatly anticipate.  There are also reviews of international exhibitions. I read it from cover to cover. 
In this issue I saw what I thought were ceramics which attracted me, and I was surprised to find that the work is enamel.  This is not a material/technique which I've really thought about in the field of art/studio craft.  And it is unfortunate that through the photographs I cannot fully appreciate the material itself.
Vases: After Rain/After Snow, 2013, silver, copper, enamel, aluminium foil, silver powder, taller 45cm (from here)
Hiroki Iwata is the artist, - and I found that for the first time in many years I once more covet body adornments.
Four Brooches, 2013, silver, enamel, aluminium foil, silver powder, each 8 x 8 x 4cm.
Three Brooches, 2013,silver, enamel, aluminium foil, silver powder, ht. 8.5cm (brooch images from here)
Here, and here, and here are links to information.  How I would love to explore how these pieces feel, and look for real.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring greens

This morning saw our first visit this year to a nearby favourite garden: West Green.  We were fortunate with the weather, and were able to have our lunch outside in their walled garden.  At this time of year I love to see the greens and all the potential growth - and I also enjoy seeing the bones of the garden: the topiary and the structure of the trees.
I was intrigued by this delicate iris. 
Even the office and the toilets are delightfully decorated.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Diverse input, but sparse blog output

At present I am pursuing two FutureLearn courses (this one, and that one), each of which is occupying lively thought while I carry out more mechanical digital collaging tasks, or hand stitching.  I also have the Indian Wells tennis tournament as input in the evenings, not to mention my reading: the current issue of the excellent Printmaking Today arrived yesterday to add to my ongoing books. 
Somewhere in the thickets of my mind I am also working out design ideas on the computer - and usually while listening to the radio.  Here are two which are in development - the latter is for a linocut idea:
Otherwise my output is currently minimal and has not been worth putting into a post - other than to say that I really recommend FutureLearn - I have found the courses to be worth a great deal, even tho' they are free and can be accessed online from all over the world.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Interior with a view of buildings  image from here
I was not fully aware of Richard Diebenkorn's work until we went to live in the USA in the early 80s, and even then I only really saw mostly commercial reproductions of his Ocean Park paintings.  Slowly I found here and there various examples of his work, especially his figurative paintings, but nothing coherently whole, so it was with great pleasure that I learned the Royal Academy was to have a retrospective exhibition of Diebenkorn's work this year.  And this morning I found it to be a beautiful, enlightening, and inspiring show.
Girl on a Terrace, image from here
There are three rooms of work, divided into the first abstract period, the figurative period, and then the final abstract, Ocean Park period.  Each room has views through to the others, and it is interesting to see just how different, and yet similar is the work from each period.
A day at the races image from here
The first room, although early work, shows pieces which not only attract immediately, but which hold the eye and reward long contemplation.  I was straightway reminded of the work of Peter Lanyon.  I do not mean that their work looks alike, but that from both of them I instantly feel a powerful need to paint the land and how it appears in the light.  I find the sense of dynamic balance in Diebenkorn's paintings exciting.  Line and plane play with light and colour in a vibrant provocative way, somehow achieving a sense of both calm and excitement.
I found that this was also true of the figurative paintings.  The figures are both at rest, but somehow animated - and as so many others have said, having an affinity with Edward Hopper's characters.  The West Coast versions here, but also somehow having more of an autonomous life outside the artist's script. 
Seated man image from here
The figures are part of the landscape.  I find that the painting is important, more than the figure or the landscape.  I can't tell you how inspirational I found this exhibition, based in this central figurative room, and spreading fore and aft to the abstract periods.
Untitled (collage) image from here
The Ocean Park paintings are the most well known, and the largest period of Diebenkorn's oeuvre.  The big paintings are architectural in scale, but approachable, inviting; but also the smaller acrylics, collages, and oils on cigar box lids work in exactly the same way.
Cigar Box Lid #4 image from here
The colour is seductive in each period, and so much part of the work - and yet the monochrome, or near-monochrome work so powerfully too - including this very early Disintegrating Pig from 1950 below (image from here).
I was also intrigued to read on one of the picture notes that Diebenkorn had been attracted to the Bayeux Tapestry in his youth.  As I live not far from the Victorian reproduction of this embroidery, I must have another look!
First I must complete my Turner 'studies', and then I shall read the beautifully produced Diebenkorn catalogue.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring outing

Our first outing this Spring covered both garden and exhibition.  The latter is an uplifting show titled Lightworks - photography using light in different ways, and sometimes without a camera.  My favourites include Susan Derges whose work we first saw at the V&A's exhibition of camera-less photography a few years ago (image below from here). 
She lays photo-sensitive paper under water in a river, or on the shore to let the natural light 'take the photo'.  It is magical work.
Jane Fulton Alt's leaping fabric against the sky is also a joy (image from her website).
Christiane Zschommler's photos of the water of Basingstoke Canal (image from her website) are also inspiring, and give encouragement to find abstract beauty even in the most seemingly mundane of subjects.
And also thought-provoking as well as mesmerizingly beautiful is Tremor a film by Pekka Niittyvirta using light through digital technology.  The image below is a still from the film (from here).
Apart from the exhibition, Mottisfont's garden is a lovely place for a stroll with a lot of fast running water, and several large old trees.  There is a delightful winter garden.  Below are some of my snaps today - as you can see I am fold of cornus stems and hellebores!