The Jewish Museum is one of my favourite museums in Amsterdam. Currently there’s an Emmy Andriesse (1914-1953) exhibition. She was one of the twentieth century’s leading Dutch photographers and had great personal courage, working illegally as a photographer and evading capture during the Nazi occupation. The exhibition includes photos of street life, the Second World War and Liberation of Amsterdam. Her pictures of the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944-45 are particularly poignant.
I wasn’t familiar with William Kentridges work until now. I was amazed at ‘Black Box/Chambre Noir’ It has to be seen to be believed! A mechanical theatre which incorporates mechanical figures performing against a projected backdrop of beautiful animated charcoal drawings and written historical documentation. The music is taken from Sarastro’s aria and ‘The Magic Flute’ and works so well with the imagery. This is Kentridges response to the the consequences of German colonialism in Africa and the genocide of people in German South West Africa between 1904 and 1907.
Whilst passing the Rembrandt museum, a poster caught my eye. I made a diversion and visited what turned out to be Wendelien Schonfeld’s work. The exhibition shows mainly her wood cuts. Amazing work! I really like how she combines traditional and contemporary elements in her work. Really vibrant and interesting to break down the different overlapping colours. My favourite pieces are the simpler pictures, particulary of buildings and swimmers on a raft. Very inspiring.
A couple of weeks ago, I headed to the coast to and the De la Warr Pavilion at Bexhill On Sea. You couldn’t miss the bus suspended from the roof of the building. It even rocked! Richard Wilsons ‘Hang on a Minute Lads, I’ve a great idea…’ is inspired by the iconic cliff top scene from The Italian Job. Fantastic! No sign of Michael Cane but there was a BBC film crew and Mark Kermode. On the ground floor there are four moving image artworks titled ‘Everything Flows’ The Art of Getting in the Zone. I really enjoyed watching the sometimes repetitive nature of sport on large screens. Strangely hypnotic. Jumping and dropping the ball in a net, practicing the run up to the pole vault and hitting the hockey ball at goal. Showing athletes working individually and as a team. We see the athletes at the big events and its easy to forget all the effort and training that goes on before. Bring on the Olympics!!
The galleries and museums in NYC were top of my ‘to do’ list. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and Metropolitan Museum house a number of fantastic pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries.
I saw so much so the following are a few of my highlights. Currently at MOMA there’s an eye catching series of David Shrigley black and white wood cuts brilliantly displayed on a spotted wall.
Jasper Johns work especially his ‘Flag’ painting (1954-55) is incredibly eye catching and thought provoking. On closer inspection fragments of newspaper can be seen behind the wax coated painted stars and stripes.Whilst at RISD I was lucky to see many of his prints which are equally impressive and experimental in mark making.
The current retrospective of Cindy Shermans photos takes you through her work from the 1970’s to present day. Amazing to see so many photographs of her in her many different guises. Particularly like the ‘untitled film stills’ from the 1970s.
The Guggenheim designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is a wonderful building. Disappointingly much of it was closed off as the previous exhibit was being taken down. However there was a very moving exhibition by Francesca Woodman, a young photographer who studied at RIDI and created very haunting mostly black and white self portraits.
During my trip I was lucky to see many Alex Katz paintings and prints. The exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is stunning. Many large scale prints using bold and simple colours. Some of his large etchings I thought were screenprints and enjoyed trying to decipher the printing process behind the image. He often incorporates glamourous portraits of family and friends and there’s a room of idyllic prints set in Maine. Fantastic use of light. I don’t like using the word ‘cool’ but they really are!
I’m a big fan of Edward Hopper’s paintings and prints so I wanted to make sure I saw as many as I could whilst in New York and New England. ‘The Lighthouse at Two Lights (1929) will now always remind me of my trip. The sky is so blue and his use of shadows reminescent of sunny days spent in Maine.
I’m taking part again this year in the Artist Open Houses in Brighton. I will be showing prints at the Gloobaah House, 22a The Drove, BN1 5AF. It’s part of the Dyke Road Trail so there are also lots of other houses nearby to visit, view art, drink tea and eat cake! The house will be open every weekend in May (5th -27th). Hope to see you there!
I took a trip to Eastbourne to see Barry Kirks prints at Emma Mason’s gallery. It was the opening day and wonderful to see his etchings and lithographs from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Particularly like ‘Pleasance frying Tomatoes (2)’ and ‘kitchen sink’ etchings. Great to meet him, view a portfolio of his drawings and hear the stories behind his work. His drawings of children running and playing from the 50’s have so much energy and movement. Fantastic! The exhibition runs until May 12th.
At the Van Gogh museum, there’s currently an exhibition showcasing over 100 of the gallery’s best prints. Many of them date from the end of the 20th century when Paris was crazy for print! No longer reproductions of paintings, these prints were seen as original works of art in themselves. Some big names and big, colourful posters. Including eye catching Toulouse Lautrec posters and illustrated theatre programs.
Loved the vibrancy of Henri Gabriel Ibels designs. Both Pierre Bonnards lithographs inspired by Parisien street scenes and Bonnards french interiors retain the spontaneity of original drawings. The woodcuts by Felix Vallotton for the Paris Worlds Fair in 1901 and his book of 30 scenes on public disturbances are fantastic. Just wish I could have picked up the book and flicked through the pages.
Travelled to Groningen in the northern part of the Netherlands with laptop and sketch book in hand. It’s a large university city with some impressive old buildings. Weather was terrible! Wind, rain and hale but enjoyed seeing the city on foot. Stopped off for coffee. Took in the view towards the Martini tower.
Once in the Grote markt I stood and sheltered by the tourist info centre and did a few sketches. Really like the architecture and the theatre/bar signs. Sketched cyclists and cars passing from the St Jansstraat.
Enjoyed the Jan Altink exhibition showing the dutch artists paintings and prints from the 1920’s and 30’s. Often painting Groningen landscapes and workers on the land. His influence from the german expressionists (notably Kirchner) is clear. Always like to see prints and liked his etchings and woodcuts. (above)
There’s also an exhibition of traditional and contempory portraits and chinese porcelain which is worth seeing.
I often spend more time in the shop and cafe than I do in exhibitions. The museum is very striking inside and out. Designed by Allessandro Mendini and Phillippe Starck opened in 1994. Futuristic and colourful in design it’s a nice place to relax. I liked the interior design of the cafe with ‘twig’ chairs, red pendant lights and grey walls. I ordered the cake with the edible museum photo on top!
I looked out of the window and sketched the cyclists and pedestrians walking on the bridge.
My exhibition at the Hop Gallery in Lewes, Sussex starts this Saturday (19th November ) and runs until next Sunday (27th November). There will be new drawings and prints on show. Hope to see you there!
Opening hours Monday – Saturday 10.30am-5pm
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