Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Day Out in Bath with Food and Art

The day out was primarily to catch up with friends Jay and Kathy, after a fabulous lunch in the lovely Chapel Arts cafe we went along to the Victoria Art Gallery  where the main gallery is hosting an incredible collection of photographs taken over memorable times in history, I've quotes a section from their website
 Photographs of the exhibition aren't allowed, but do have a look at their website where there are some images. 

'History through a Lens: Iconic Photographs from the Incite Project
This show focuses on iconic images and their power, profiling over 75 photographs that have changed public perception of world events. They have been selected from a collection that specialises in photojournalism and documentary photography. We are used to seeing these images in the press, in transient form, generally accompanied by columns of text, but the Incite Project treats them as works of art.
The core of the collection are the classics of 20th-century photojournalism that have become visual markers of a moment in time – the assassination of JFK, a rare shot of the Normandy D-Day landing, Nelson Mandela in his cell on Robben Island, to name but a few. The collection is also motivated by a passion to support the photographers and artists currently making extraordinary, thought-provoking images about contemporary issues.'

There's also a great exhibition in the side gallery entitled 'Tom Hickman: Following the Thread' which has some lovely images of all sorts of things, especially sheep and bible stories:
 There are 3 of the bible stories shown here

 and then some of my favourite other pictures, they need cropping, but I'm so behind with blogging, that I'm going to get the posts out and then go back to refinements.
 Maybe my favourite one below:
 or maybe this is my favourite!!
 This was gorgeous.
 We were all tempted to buy the book, here are Jay and Kathy looking through it very thoroughly
 Coincidentally we also saw Caroline Day handing in work at the Imaginiation Gallery
 above fiddling about rearranging things, and below Caroline standing in front of her 2 paintings.
Do have a look in there when you're in Bath.
We did finally get to the pub, about 5.30pm before catching trains home.

Elements of Avebury

Elements of Avebury opened on 18 March with a great gathering of artists, friends and family in the shop, it a fabulous place, situated right opposite the Red Lion and in the centre of the stone circle. There was a very warm welcome as always from Donna who has set up, renovated and generally go the place up and running. If you click on the Elements of Avebury link, you can see the opening hours and courses they are running. Below is a view from the upstairs back window, there's a lovely back garden and the stones beyond.
Which Swindon artists might you see displaying their work? As you can see here, Tim Carroll has a shelf in a rotating cabinet for  some of his ceramic pieces.
Caroline Day, seen here below with her painting of hydrangeas in the window, in the dark also has lots of paintings and prints for sale.
I was coming down with a cold and not feeling too good, so I haven't got photos of Jacquie Primrose with her wonderful garden mosaics, or Lynette Thomas with her Avebury inspired pieces.
I was also very pleased I'd found a twirling ring which fitted, I'm looking forward to being bale to wear it tomorrow since it's a birthday present. If you're a 'ring person' and I am, do check out their rings.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

West Dean Gardens

On the recent trip to Chichester a couple of weeks ago, I visited West Dean Gardens
and although they're now a bit out of date, I thought I'd add the photos to the blog because I had such a fabulous time there. It's such a brilliant garden, and I got in free with my RHS card, because it's a partner garden. The first plant to attract attention was the Stachyrus pracox seen below with jewel like flowers:
 This was another delightful bush nearby
 The summerhouse flooring at the end of the 300 ft long Peto Edwardian pergola contains horses teeth and is quite amazing.
 Looking out from the summerhouse down the pergola
 A Primula in one of the beds beside the Pergola
 Two weeks ago, the magnolias were already flowering
 At West Dean, even the climbers are beautifully trained around the pillars
 I'd love to return to see this trained rose in the summer.
 There are 16 large greenhouses at West Dean where some spectacular plants were flowering
 Achenalia Aloides in various different shades of yellow
 And the trained Apricot trees were in flower:

 They were breathtaking
 Outside in the vegetable garden, there were more trained fruit trees

 There were some lovely pots on staging
 I found this plant, one of my favourites I first got from an open studios visit in Portishead where I asked for a plantlet. It's Aeonium undulatum
 The inside of the greenhouses with staging are redolent of a Ravilious painting:
Wonderful place

Pallant House Gallery Exhibitions

Pallant House Gallery currently has two major exhibitions, Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality' which focuses for the first time on the radical change in the artist's career from the 1930s  when he was one of Britain's leading figurative painters, and until the 1960s when he had reinvented himself as one of the foremost exponents of abstract art. It's an amazing transformation of style, and very clearly illustrated with the works on display over several rooms in the new part of the gallery.
The second major exhibition is 'Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain' is housed in the old part of the building shown here:
The Sidney Nolan exhibition which runs until 4 June, is part of a nationwide programme presented by the Sidney Nolan Trust and marks the centenary of the birth of Australian born Sidney Nolan, focussing on his time living and working in Britain. He was a leading figure of international 20th Century art, he worked with recurring themes such as Australian history and literature. There are many haunting scenes depicting Australian landscapes with a lone person and an animal in the foreground.
Photography wasn't allowed in these 2 exhibitions, but was allowed in the De'Longhi Print Room where there was a beautiful exhibition entitled 'The Woodcut from Durer to Now'. Hiroshige, the master of printmaking produced this piece entitled 'Travelers surprised by Sudden Rain' in 1833.
I was also fascinated by the Edward Burra woodcut which I had to go back to the exhibition later in the visit to photograph because it was the people's favourite when I was in there, people just stood in front of it for ages.
 When the woodcut was first made in 1921, Burra didn't give it a title, but rediscovered the blocks in 1971 and began reprinting from them, retitling as he went along. This one became 'Two Ladies'
I've also included a more usual Edward Burra watercolour painting from 1963, called 'The Straw Man'
There was a familiar look to this painting found in the lecture room, it's by Annie Kevans called 'Bobby Driscoll in Black'. There is also a work by this artist in the Otter Gallery show.
It's worth having a look at her website.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Artists of Great Bardfield exhibition at Braintree Museum

I came across the Great Bardfield artists at an exhibition at the Fry Gallery in Saffron Waldon when staying with friends, there was a wonderful exhibition including some of the principle artists. Friends I was staying with also bought me a book by Janet Dyson giving more details of life in the village of Great Bardfield. Here's a Wikipedia entry on them:

'The Great Bardfield Artists were a community of artists who lived in Great Bardfield, a village in north west Essex, England, during the middle years of the 20th century.
The principal artists who lived there between 1930 and 1970 were John Aldridge RA, Edward Bawden, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Walter Hoyle, Eric Ravilious, Sheila Robinson, Michael Rothenstein, Kenneth Rowntree and Marianne Straub. Other artists associated with the group include Duffy Ayers, John Bolam, Bernard Cheese, Tirzah Garwood, Joan Glass, David Low and Laurence Scarfe. Great Bardfield Artists were diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art, making the group distinct from the better known St Ives School of artists in St Ives, Cornwall, who, after the war, were chiefly dominated by abstractionists.
During the 1950s the Great Bardfield Artists organised a series of large ‘open house’ exhibitions which attracted national and international press attention. Positive reviews and the novelty of viewing modernist art works in the artists own homes led to thousands visiting the remote village during the summer exhibitions of 1954, 1955 and 1958. As well as these large shows the Great Bardfield Artists held exhibitions of their work in Cambridge (1956) and Bristol (1959). The artists also organised a multi-city tour of England and Ireland during 1957 & 1958. The early 1960s saw the majority of the Great Bardfield artists leave the village.'

There's a  blue plaque commemorating Eric Ravilious in Castle Hedingham a neighbouring village to Sible Hedingham where friends live.
They alerted me to this latest exhibition at Braintree Museum of the Great Bardfield artists which runs until 15 April, it's called 'Life in an English Village'
It's well worth having a look if you're able to do so, there are some lovely things collected together in one place. It's interesting that these artists had 'open house' in the 1950s, a forerunner of our open studios.
One of my favourite pictures in the exhibition was this linocut by Richard Bawden, son of Edward Bawden, entitled 'A Splash in the Pant', it depicts his parents and the Raviliouses swimming in the River Pant, watched by the local policeman.
 Above Ethel House by Kenneth Rowntree in 1942
Below a Heartsease teaset made by Wedgewood in 1952, designed by Edward Bawden
 Some of the illustrations used on book covers shown below

 Below a linocut by Edward Bawden of Braintree station 1960.
 Another teaset, this time with an Eric Ravilious design

 Below The Vegetable Garden, Place House by John Aldridge, 1966. John Aldridge and Edward Bawden were both keen gardeners, the two acre garden at Place House often featured in his paintings.

 and this is his painting of The Orchard.
The last picture is entitled 'Two Cats in the Dining Room', it's a watercolour by Richard Bawden.
 It's a beautifully intense painting.
Lovely exhibition celebrating the Great Bardfield artists

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Degas to Picasso at the Ashmolean

This special exhibition at the Ashmolean continues until 7 May, and is described on the website:
'In works by Matisse, Manet, Chagall, Renoir, Degas, Léger and Picasso, this ground-breaking exhibition tells one of the most compelling stories in the history of art – the rise of modernism.
From 1800 to the mid-twentieth century, this story was played out in France, especially in Paris where international artists were drawn by salons and dealers, the creative exchange between poets and painters and the bohemian atmosphere of such places as Montmartre and Montparnasse.
With over 100 works from a private collection that has never been seen in Britain before, the exhibition plots a course from Romantic artists such as Ingres, Gericault and Delacroix via the dramatic artistic transformations of Van Gogh and Cézanne, to the radical experiments in Cubism by innovators such as Picasso and Braque.'
The poster for the exhibition is delightful, but photographs were not permitted inside this exhibition, so the Leger painting of Mother and Child is the only one I can show here, although there are a few more on the website.
Having seen the Degas to Picasso exhibition, I went to have a look at the Hiroshige's View of Mount Fuji exhibition which is in Gallery 29 until 26 March. It's a beautiful exhibition, well worth a look:
 This first woodblock print depicts Mount Fuji behind 2 trees losing their leaves in autumn
 In this one, Mount Fuji is viewed through the split trunk of an ageing cherry tree.
 This lovely print shows 2 people fishing on the Sagami River, with egrets flying around.
 Here Mount Fuji is framed between blossoming cherry trees.
 From there I looked around the large ceramic pots thinking how attractive they would be in the garden!
 On the left is a jar decorated with palm trees, from the Loomweight Basement, Knossus, Crete 1850-1800BC. The other half of the pot is is in the Heraklion museum. The jar on the right decorated with a six-tentacled octopus and murex shells is from the Palace at Knossus, 1450-1400 BC.
 The jar below was also magnificent
I loved this Stanley Spencer painting of Cacti
 and then was very pleased to find a William De Morgan cabinet with lots and lots of wonderful pieces inside it:

 Above a snake tile panel
 Above a jardiniere and below a beautiful bowl.
 Below a carnation tile panel

 Above a Blackbird bottle, as you can see in the cabinet, there were also golds and reds, but i prefer the amazing blues and greens of these pieces.
There were also amazing blue skies when I visited the Ashmolean last week, on arrival at the bus station:
and on leaving the Ashmolean, the sky was still quite blue.