Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Nav's Gallery Report: The New Art Gallery Walsall

Yesterday I visited the New Art Gallery in Walsall. The gallery has a reputation for providing internationally renowned exhibitions such as the Garman Ryan Collections which is currently on show at the moment.

The Garman Ryan collection consists primarily of Jacob Epstein's work. The collections provides an exciting view  of artworks from fascinating people who were linked together by there similarities, stories behind their work, and relationship between each other.
Jacob Epstein's wife Kathleen Garman formed this extraordinary collection with sculptor friend Sally Ryan which was subsequently given to the Borough of Walsall in 1973. Garman met Epstein when she was 20 in 1921, they later married after the death of his first wife and together had three children.
This inspiring collection consists of great European artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet. This collection not only has artworks from famous artists but also has works from unknown artists from many cultures across the world.
When walking around the room the collection of works seemed like an intimate memorial from his wife as many personal letters and artworks from Epstein's friends and family throughout his life were exhibited such as Augustus John, Matthew Smith and son-in-law Lucien Freud.

Portrait of Kitty
by Lucien Freud  1948
When walking into different rooms of the collection I had an insight into his complex family life and his occasionally controversial career.
Garman and Ryan formulated this collection by linking and comparing Epstein's work to artists works from different centuries and cultures such as Damien Hirst. The two curators linked these two together from their similarities within there works as they both shocked the art world with their innovative and thought provoking artworks.
Damien Hirst
Away from the Flock 1994Glass, painted steel, silicone, acrylic, plastic, lamb and formaldehyde solution960 x 1490 x 510 mm | 37.8 x 58.7 x 20.1 in | Edition 3 of 3 + 1 AP

Damien HirstAway from the Flock 1994Glass, painted steel, silicone, acrylic, plastic, lamb and formaldehyde solution960 x 1490 x 510 mm | 37.8 x 58.7 x 20.1 in | Edition 3 of 3 + 1 AP

Sir Jacob Epstein
Study for 'The Rock Drill'
Charcoal on paper
support: 641 x 533 mm

Part of the collection touches on the subject of birth, death and religion as both artists explore this theme within their work which highlight the changes in attitudes throughout the 20th century.

Damien HirstMonument to the Living and the Dead  2006Butterflies and household gloss on canvasDiptych, each: 2134 x 2134 mm | 84 x 84 in
Jacob and the Angel 1940-1

For more information about the exhibition click here.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nav's gallery report: Ikon Gallery Birmingham

Hi I'm Nav, I'll be giving you a weekly report on different galleries in the West Midlands whilst I'm on placement with Helen. So here's week one...

At the Ikon gallery in Birmingham, one of the current exhibitions is of Timur Novikov's work. Novikov is a Russian artist who was very influential during the 1980's and 1990's, he is best known for his distinctive textiles. The technique which is most common throughout his work is the use of appliqué  where he uses fabric motifs that are sewn onto large scale wall hangings.

The USSR. Mid-1980s
Oil on canvas. 202 x 308 cm

Novikov uses luxurious materials such as velvet which give a sense of richness within his work.

Animals. Mid-80s.
Acrylic on textile. 294 x 231 cm

Most of his pieces give off an aura of simplicity while telling us a story. Some of Novikovs works have a humorous aspect within them, such as his piece with little penguins waddling across to the darkness.

Penguins. 1989
Acrylic on textile. 219 x 221,5 cm

Novikov uses such small scale motifs on an expansive piece of cloth that it draws the audience in to have a closer look and to question what the piece is trying to convey. He often uses images of well known people he admires, such as Oscar Wilde, with an intricate pearl embroidered border around it. A reoccurring theme he often explores is the horizon and colour proportionality to portray this, in one of his works he uses a shiny metallic gold fabric to show the sun setting.

The Iron Mask. «Tapestry» series. 1992
Photography, metal on fabric. 204 x 140 cm

Genuine Russia. 1991
Acrylic on textile. 

Novikov other works show a strong cultural aspect from his 'Euro-China' series(2002) which are a combination of embroidered beads and thread on tasselled satin.

Women. 1992
Print, embroidery, and beads on textile. 172 x 110 cm

Due to an illness Novikov lost his sight during the 1990's but still continued to develop his works, with an oriental inspired set of seven 'pictures of rice paper'(2002). These were drawn from his imagination due to losing his sight, he used Chinese ink drawn houses, trees and Chinese landscapes.

All images from here.

Monday, 11 February 2013

New Stitch Collaboration . . .

Last week I embarked on a new collaborative project with photographer, fine artist and editor Christophe Dillinger.  I've been collecting stitch samplers for the last couple of years from antiques fairs and charity shops.  What attracted me to them was an intention to add in some stitch graffiti (such as I'd done with my 'great tits rule' cushion) but having had no time until now they have ended up sitting in a drawer at the studio doing nothing.  When I dug them back out again recently I found myself procrastinating about what to do instead of getting started.

Christophe's newest work had been popping up in my facebook news feed, a series of collected plates which he had 'graffitied' onto using sticky labels or tippex. I thought the tapestries could be just up his street to add another dimension to this new body of work.  Here's a few examples of his plate series . . .

We had our 1st meeting on Friday to discuss our options.  As my usual practice is very labour intensive and time consuming, Christophe's approach of making simple alterations with the impermanence of stickers is going to take some getting used to for me. We've come up with some interesting 1st ideas though and Christophe is so keen on the pieces he intends to include them in an exhibition of his work in Athens this March.  We are inviting your input though for the piece shown below, which is just crying out to have a caption added.  The best suggestion will get stitched on by myself in time for the exhibition.  Looks like I'm going to have to do some speedy stitching!

To suggest you caption click here