Exhibition: 1. Roy Voss, The Way Things Are. 2. Emma Hart & Jonathan Baldock, Love Life Act 111

I visited both these exhibitions on 23 October and wrote about them in my learning log.  I was not inspired by the Roy Voss exhibition, for the me the sculpture resembled an architectural model too much and did not fit the space for which it was commissioned.  There was no sense for me of the vastness of space or the pier transcending the boundaries between spaces.

In contrast I really liked the Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock installation of an oversized Punch and Judy booth.  You felt immersed in the artwork and it was thought-provoking around the issue of domestic violence.  I think it was helped by the multi-media aspect of the installation and the small room partitioned into areas which gave the feeling of intimacy and being part of the scene.


Link to Roy Voss De la Warr Pavilion.

Link to Emma Hart & Jonathan Baldock De La Warr Pavilion



Exhibition: Matisse in the Studio

I went to this exhibition on 5 November as part of an OCA Study Visit with OCA tutor, Clare Wilson.  The exhibition at the Royal Academy was quite small, consisting of 5 rooms.

The exhibition explored the objects Matisse acquired in his studio and then depicted in his paintings.  The objects were displayed alongside the paintings/drawings which made for an interesting experience to see them in their 3-D form and then translated into a 2-D image.  Some of the objects were sculptures modelled by Matisse, others were vases, jugs, tables and textiles collected by Matisse.

It was interesting to see how some objects, quite complex forms, were rendered to a few simple lines in his paintings, which nonetheless captured the essence of the object.  This was particularly the case in a sculpture modelled by Matisse, Small Couching Nude with Arms, 1908, which subsequently appears in Lillacs, 1914.  My drawing completed at the exhibition is shown below.

Link to Lillacs, 1914 here.

Drawing of Matisse, Small Couching Nude with Arms, 1908 and how it was depicted in the painting, Lillacs, 1908

Matisse often used the same objects in multiple paintings.  In the latter part of the exhibition is a room titled, The Studio as a Theatre.  It is here that many of his highly patterned textile paintings with figures were displayed.  It was interesting for me to see how the figures seemed to merge into the textures and patterns of the interior and the textiles, with neither element have a greater importance than its surroundings.

I made a number of drawings at the exhibition in addition to the one above as I had just finished the sculpture exercise of the unit and they sparked my interest.

Taking complex forms and simplifying them was a major learning point for me from visiting this exhibition.

Exhibition: Nexus

This was a photography exhibition by two graduates of the OCA, John Umney and Keith Greenough, and a current student, Sarah-Jane Field, at Oxford House, Bethnal Green.

Oxford House was set up in 1884 as a residential settlement house where graduates and students of Keble College, Oxford, could stay and undertake voluntary work within the local community.  Today, it acts as a community arts centre and building offering affordable office/room hire.

The three photographers explored the relationship between Keble College, the community use of the building and its relationship to other buildings within the local area.

For me, the most successful photographs were by John Umney, which depicted close-up, almost abstract images of Keble College.  One which particularly caught my eye (Keble 4) was a close-up of a lectern, which showed the marks and textures of continuous use; in between two raised panels of the lectern (which was a gold colour) was a recess which had an interesting long black mark which me reminded me of a cityscape.  I also was drawn to Keble 6, which showed a chevron pattern of a worn tiled floor.  Both these images really brought to the fore the patterns/textures created by years of use and made me wonder about the countless people who had used these surfaces.

Of Keith Greenough’s images, St John’s 1, a photograph of a statute at the bottom of a stairway and Library 2, showing an internal view of Bethnal Green library caught my eye.  The former, for the placement of a modern statute at the bottom of a bare and decaying stairway;  the latter, for the juxtaposition of modern technology against a victorian ornate wooden front reception area.

Sarah-Janes’ images were dramatically lit and showed a single ballet dancer within the rooms of Oxford House.  I particularly enjoyed the images of the close-up of the feet, the hands of the dancer and the dark almost black backgrounds in the other images.   Personally, I found it difficult to connect the images and the artist statement which accompanied them, particularly around the influence of the industrial revolution, the increasing role of technology and future teaching practice. In many ways this highlighted for me the role of the artist statement.  I read the artist’s  statement before viewing the images and this set-up, consciously or subconsciously, an expectation.  When I was not able to perceive the intent of the artist in viewing the images, this made them for me less successful.  Others of course,  will be able to link the images better than I with the statement.  Something for me to think about as I progress in my studies and reach the stage of writing an artist statement for my own work.

Link: Exhibition Home page

Exhibition: Paul Nash

I visited this exhibition twice, once as part of an OCA Study Day on 21 January and again at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts on 18th August.  Paul Nash has always been a favourite artist of mine, ever since I saw one of his tree drawings as a child.

I wrote about three images in my sketchbook following my second visit.  One of the main things I take from this exhibition is how life experiences are reflected in subsequent artworks.  You can see the emotional trauma Paul Nash experienced in the First War World is included both in his work as a war artist and in subsequent years.

As I progress through this degree I hope that my work will start to have that ‘life experience element’ and become part of my personal voice.


Exhibition: Hockney

I visited this exhibition on 27 May 2017 at Tate Britain.  It was a large retrospective of Hockney’s work, over 12 rooms.  The first room displayed a number of images of different periods to give an overview, the remaining rooms were arranged in chronological order.

I picked three images to write about in my sketchbook, all from his work in the USA during the 1960s.  After viewing the exhibition it is this American work of the 1960’s and early 1970s which I found the strongest and appealing; I think it is the flat colours, strong composition and almost graphic nature of the images.

Hockney varied his style and techniques over the years and this exhibition showed those changes.


Exhibition: Degas to Picasso, Creating Modernism in France

I really enjoyed this exhibition as it had a high number of drawings and works on paper, many of which I had not seen before.  It also introduced a number of new artists to me.  The title of the exhibition is slightly misleading as it begins with a drawing by Jean-Honore Fragonard, so that it can put the rise of modernism into a historical context.

As normal with exhibitions, I choose four images to write about in my sketchbook pages.


As I finished writing this page it stuck me that I should also pick images that were less successful for me and explain why.  You can often learn as much from these images as my favourites.  A learning point for the future.

Exhibition: Queer British Art 1861-1967

Queer British Art explores the connection between art and gender/sexual identity from 1861, when the death penalty for sodomy was abolished, to 1967, when sex between men was partially decriminalised.

The exhibition reflects both the changes which have occurred in attitudes to being queer (although with current events in America and Russia this is questionable) and the changes in art generally.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the small drawings of Duncan Grant and Keith Vaughan as these are so rarely displayed and have a great sense of movement and power expressed in just a few lines.

I picked out four paintings which I included in my sketch pages to record my thoughts about the exhibition.


Venue:  Tate Britain

Date of Visit:  25 May 2017