Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Sudley House

Took a group visit to Sudley House last week and found it to have a very interesting history. We got to have a tour round the ground floor of the house which has been preserved since the final member of the Holt family died. George Holt was a very rich man and gave back a lot of money to Liverpool and the University. He was also an art collector and was not swayed by the fashions of the time and liked what he liked. He had many artworks by famous artist such as Turner, Gainsborough, Burne-Jones and Studwrick. The house is fascinating and has amazing features in it, not only the paintings on the walls, but also parts of the furniture is persevered to show how exactly the layout of the house was when George Holt lived there. There is also a fantastic stained glass window on entering the house. The house when George Holt's daughter died was left to Liverpool and the land to be kept public. The artworks also have to be kept together in a collection and cannot be split up from each other.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Open Eye Gallery: E. Chambre Hardman

There is an archive exhibition of E. Chambre Hardman which is taking place at the Open Eye Gallery down by the docks in Liverpool. Hardman is from Ireland and was well known for his portrait photographs. This exhibition shows a selection of Landscapes which Hardman took in the 1930s. He took these photos when he and his wife decided to tour Britain which allowed him to develop and move away from the style of Pictorialism. Unlike many British photographers at the time Hardman did'nt want to show how industrialization has ruined the countryside. Hardman never mixed the city and the countryside. In this picture you see a hay stack with a manual haystack mover which takes the viewer back to a time of a tranquil countryside with no machinery. This exhibition really takes the viewer back in time and shows power plants, the peaceful countryside and beasutiful photos for which i may not have ever been seen if the director of the Open Eye in 1980, Peter Hagerty, stop them from being destroyed and had a retrospective of them!

Bluecoat Gallery: William Kentridge

A William Kentridge exhbition is being held at the Bluecoat Gallery until February 3rd 2013. Kentridge is one of South Africas best contemporary artists and this exhibition focus's on his printmaking skills which he learnt at Johannesburg Art Foundation. The exhibition is large and takes over the whole of the Bluecoat's ground floor which has about four galleries in it. The work is mainly done on top of literature, whether is be a dictionary or a fiction book or even a newspaper. The print of a cat on top on the work is a common occurrence. He uses many diffent techniques and methods to get the look he wants to achieve. The work on show here is from 1988 to present day works and a lot of his work has social and political themes. In some of his works you will see bike marks and paw prints of a dog where the work has been on the floor and his dog has ran over it. The exhibition is an interesting one and a good way to see where contemporary art is heading as you do not walk into the galleries and see paintings done by a brush on easel. His works also range in size from small to very large which is showing his ability of printmaking as it is much harder to create a print on a very large scale but he shows that he can.

Manet: Portraying Life 26th January - 14th April 2013

Held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, this exhibition is a must see. I went at 5 o'clock on the opening day and found the whole exhibition to be fantastic and it gives you a real good look into  Manet's life and what he liked doing. The exhibition focus's solely on Manet's portraits which are of his family, friends and models. The first room of the exhibition is dedicated to his mistress then later on wife, Suzanne Leenhoff and her illegitimate son, Leon. The portraits are of them doing everyday activities such as Mme Manet at the Piano (1868) and Boy Blowing Bubbles (1867). Everyday scenes are depicted as Manet wanted to depict avant-garde bourgeois society in a realist way. This is seen in his painting Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862) which the curator of the exhibition has given this painting a whole room to itself. Is this to show how important and famous it is or the lack of paintings which the exhibition holds? It really heightens the importance of this painting and allows for a lot of people to gather around and look at it in awe. The third room is a very fascinating room as it shows a chronological time line of Manets life and work down one wall and shows a large map of Paris and dots to show Manet's life. The dots represent his apartments/studios/friends. The exhibition also highlights why Manet chose portraiture which was because of the new technology of cameras which the exhibition also has photographic portraits of the time. The exhibition shows many works some unfinished and one of Emile Zola, who helped Manet a lot to become more popular with society. The only disappointment to me in the exhibition was in the final room which is dedicated to one of Manet's most painted models, Victorine Meurent. There were amazing portraits in here of her but there was one missing which i have always wanted to see but it seem as though i will have to go to the Musee d'Orsay to see Olympia, (1863). Overall i really enjoyed the exhibition and felt that it was entertaining and also thoroughly educational as every painting had an extended caption next to it allowing for every visitor to learn something new. The Exhibition is running until the 14th April 2013 and is worth a visit!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Royal Academy: Constable, Gainsborough and Turner

 Thomas Gainsborough RA, ‘Romantic  Landscape’, ca. 1783.

Over the winter break I went to the Royal academy to see the show: 'Constable, Gainsborough and Turner and the making of Landscape'. Constable, Gainsborough and Turner were artist which made Britain lead the art world for the first time with their Landscape paintings. This show was different to what i expected. It showed these three landscape artist came about doing landscapes by the artists who influenced them. The exhibition was all artworks which the Royal Academy owned and a lot of them were etchings as the exhibition also wanted to show the interest in printmaking at this time. There were only three large painted artworks by Constable, Gainsborough and Turner so I felt disappointed by this and felt that the Royal Academy only used these names to attract visitors as they are Britain's most famous painters from the 18th century. It would have been more appropriate to call the exhibition 'the making of landscape featuring Constable, Gainsborough and Turner'. But overall i did enjoy the exhibition and was nice to see Gainsborough away from Portraiture, which he made his name from, and into Landscape, where he shows he has just the same amount of skill as Turner and Constable to produce Landscape paintings. It was very interesting to see who these artist also continue to influence today such as Norman Arkroyd and Richard Long. The exhibition really opened my eyes to etching and i was not too sure about how much I liked it but after seeing so many i like etching and engraving as you can see the detail the artist put into their work with the pencil work which is covered up with the paintings.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Open Eye Gallery: A Lecture Upon The Shadow

The artwork in this exhibition is from artists from Shanghai and also the Northwest of England. They have all played with light and form to create a new version on everyday images in photography. The piece that stuck in my mind when visiting the Gallery was Fan Shi San's photos Two of us, 2009-. The reason why I liked these photos more than the others was because of the social historical background which they reflect. The one child policy in china which is still going on today. The one child policy only allows urban couples to have one child but there are a few people who are exempt from that such as if both parents are only children themselves. The people in these photos are always identical and never looking at each other giving of the sense of loneliness and separation of the idea that there could have been siblings but they are not allowed.

Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s Saatchi Gallery

In the final 4 rooms of the Saatchi Gallery is the exhibition Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s. The artwork which is located in these rooms are from artists who worked in Moscow in this time period, 1960-80. This is when the cold war was at its peak and the Soviet Union was a massive threat around the world and the artists give an insight to what it was like living in the capital, Moscow. The Soviet Union was a Communist country and Moscow was the only place where they could get contact to the outside world and due to this the formation of underground art movements happened.
This artwork caught my eye whilst working around as everyone knows of Andy Warhols, 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962. During the Cold war the two superpowers of the world were America and the Soviet Union. They both held Nuclear Weapons and incidents such as the Cuban Missile crisis happened. This artwork, Russian Pop-art No 3, 1964 by Oskar Rabin really shows how the Soviet Union viewed America as they have taken one of Americas most famous painters and the painting which he became famous for as well as a well known object which can be found in most homes in America and have ripped or shot at it to make it look like it ha deteriorated. It called also represent what everything would look like if the Cold War turned much worse and both countries set off Nuclear bombs. Go see this exhibition before it ends on 24th February 2013!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Saatchi Gallery: New Art From Russia

I really enjoyed this exhibition as did not know about many artists from Russia but since going to the Saatchi Gallery over Christmas I discovered artists such as Sergei Vasiliev, Gosha Ostretsov and Vikenti Nilin. There work was very interesting and shows the view what the Soviet Union was like and what the consequence has had on Russia. The Saatchi Gallery split the Gallery into two sections which was the first 10 Galleries was devoted to general Russian art which i am going to mention now and the second one was called 'Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960s-1980s'. The first section of the Gallery is post soviet union where as the second part of the Gallery is art in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991 and Russia was created.
When Entering Gallery 1, you see large photographs on all the walls, spaced out. On the photographs are men with tattoos all over their body. What i first thought was that the artist had used these men as canvases but in actual fact what i learnt was that the men themselves had used themselves as canvas's. Sergei Vasiliev is the artist and he worked as a prison warden. The men in these pictures are prisoners who decided to tattoo themselves with hidden messages against the Soviet regime and they also put what they had done to get into the prison. A fellow worker of Vasilev, Danzig Baldaev, catalogued the tattoos which has allowed for the iconography of the images to be understood more.

In Gallery 3 you come across a concrete stable like building with a chain across every door and when you get closer to the doors of each section you notice that there isn't going to be a pretty pony inside. This work is called Criminal Governement, 2008, and could be seen as a look into the soviet prisons at the time. However Gosha Ostretsov became obsessed by with costume-art and comic-strips. He led him to create latex masks and his work revolves around this. This artwork to him his like a fantasy comic-book world and instead of the civilians getting punished its the government officials which are!

Walker Art Gallery Hair Dress

Standing on the first floor of the Walker Art Gallery is this Dress Designed and created by Liverpool Designers Thelma Madine (known for Big Fat Gypsy Wedding) and Ryan Edwards. The dress was created using 250 metres of Hair extensions and was created by Thelma's work business. Ryan Edwards then sprayed and dyed the dress to get the colours which it looks like now. The whole point of this dress is to highlight an important issue. The use of hair extensions is popular in today's but where does the hair come from? They do not know exactly where the hair came from to create this dress so are using this to highlight whether the hair was taken unethically in places such as India and eastern Europe.