This exhibition of sixty artists exploring the nocturnal covers a period of over 250 years. I therefore found it interesting to see works from the 1830s next to works created in the last ten years. You could see both how much the work has changed and also how little it has changed.
Two works I picked out for my sketchbook were Peter Doig, Echo Lake, 1998 and Samuel Palmer, Moonlight, a Landscape with sheep, c1831-33.
The Doig picture has a really strong narrative and it is this aspect I would like to explore more in my drawings. Creating enough narrative in the picture, without saying everything, so that the viewer can create their own unique story from the image. The Palmer image also has a narrative, both romantic and mystical (no doubt from his association with William Blake). The Palmer picture also attracted me because of the sheer range of mark-making he used with the ink. Everything from thin scratchy lines to larger ink blotches – again something I need to work upon in my drawings.
Other images which I particularly noted were:
Emil Nolde, Friesland Farm under Red Clouds, c 1930 – it is the low farm buildings on the flat wet landscape, almost unseen because of the red and blue cast of the vast sky, which attracted me to this image. Link here.
Julian Bell, Hong Kong Dave and the Constellations – the figure right in the foreground laying on their back on a bench with a beer can underneath, looking at the night sky, with groups of people behind and shops in the background, gave this image a real contemporary feel; a scene you could imagine happening in many places and on numerous nights. I especially liked the red tone of the whole image with the small area of complimentary green punching out of the picture from the shop interior. Link here.