The Art of Photography

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Exhibition - Let us Face the Future Art Britanic 1945 - 1968

Joan Miro Gallery Barcelona

Go to Spain and I look at British Art. C'est la vie.

The title of this exhibition is taken from the Labour Party manifesto just after the war.  An incredible collection of varied art during those 23 years.Sculpture of Henri Moore & Barbara Hepworth. Paintings of Francis Bacon and Ben Nicholson. pop art of the 60s.  Photographs by Roger Moore, Bill Brandt, Nigel Henderson & Tony Ray Jones. Just to name a few. As you can see a rather impressive collection of leading artists of the time and their influence continues strongly today.

Bacon always leaves me cold. I find his work an expression of nastiness and bitterness towards the world and those around him. I guess the work is powerful in that it makes me feel that way. However I wont grieve if I never see his work again.
On the other hand,  Eduardo Paolozzi is honoured in the Miro gallery and ironically his work is about to be destroyed in London's Totenham Court Rd tube station.
I loved Roger Moore's street photo's during the 50's.  His images give a real sense of being there, of a time truly past.  An example is a photo of two young girls doing handstands. Their feet resting against an iron fence, their skirts tumbling over their heads.  A totally unimaginable scene now. Girls of 10 or 11 are far more sexualised now. Naivety lost in 50years?
Tony Ray-Jones's image of the middle aged middle class couple picinicing in a field, just a wire fence seperating them from cows. An iconic British image. Did it ever really exisit? I don't know.  Does it exist now? I would guess not. I do love images like this that say so much about a culture so clearly and powerfully. Often pictures of the ordinary are more powerful than images of the unusual or bizzare.
The work of these two photographers has me thinking about the approach to the London Villages project that I have joined.  Ordinary but very 2011.  What does that mean. 
Mobile phones, Smoking on street corners, binge drinking, Internet cafes.  I think I need to have a separate page in my book for notes. (I need to work out how to put pages in this blog).

I spent some time studying David Hockney's version of the rake's progress.  I saw William Hogarth's in the Soane museum.  I liked Hockney's take.
The story is still so relevant.  Would make a great photo essay. Could I weave the story of the bankers into a 21st century rake?  An idea I will ponder on.

William Scott's work of large shapes and colours felt to me the work of someone who didn't see colour correctly. Is it true men and women see colour differently? I might have just skimmed by them had I not gone on to see the permanent collection.  Joan Miro's work.
Here is someone who really understands colour.  When comparing the use of colour of the two artists for me Scott missed the boat big time. He chose colours but the shades just didn't work.
Miro just breathes colour. Colour and shapes.  I saw the shapes differently this time as I am working on the shapes and design section of my course.
I particularly loved the period where Miro was influenced by Japanese art.  Kazumasa Katsuta has provided on long term loan a large number of Miro's work from his private collection. Interesting to see what the Japanese art collector liked and the work that Miro produced during his Japanese influenced period.  (less colour in the collector's pieces).
I loved the work that Miro did with paper using paints not designed for paper.  the two seemed to blend into one.  The colours were subtle yet so delicately beautiful.
Thinking about these pieces has me thinking about creating images on different paper in the dark room.  OK that's not new. However the image i see is of a bride on hand made paper that has rose petals embedded into it.  Will think about that one a bit more. Beautiful.

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