Exhibition: Rana Begum – Space, Light, Colour

This small solo exhibition from Rana Begum concentrated on the three elements listed  in the title of the exhibition.

The largest work No. 670, Mesh Installation, 2016, consists of modular architectural powder-coated aluminium grids.   They are in the three primary colours and you walk through the structure, although the beginning and end points are unclear.  As I walked through the structure it was interesting how your viewpoint changed and the mix of colours at different points, created a further array of colours.  At times I also felt alone within the structure and somewhat lost.

No. 529, 2014, is paint on powder coated aluminium and consists of a large panel with bars affixed which are painted on the side (red and a lime green).  As you move along the structure, your viewpoint and the light changes, changing the mix of the colours.  This gave an interesting and unexpected effect.

Other exhibits included folded steel structures where again the folds seem to open up or collapse, dependant on your viewpoint and the light source.  The light also created colours on the wall which also changed as you move around the artwork.

I found this an interesting exhibition and was surprised how the structures, which are very architectural, engaged me as the viewer.

Venue:  Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts.

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Exhibition: America After the Fall

I attended this exhibition as part of an OCA Study Visit on 25 March 2017.  Taking a quite tour round the exhibition for an overall look before looking at any images in detail, what immediately stood out for me was how the paintings were truly representational of the era under consideration, the 1930s.  There was an art deco, machine-age vibe to many of the images, mixed with memories for me of classic American black and white movies.  Hints of the depression creep into many of the paintings, whilst not being as explicitly depicted as I had thought before going round the exhibition.

The exhibition was split into seven themes:

  • New York
  • City Life
  • Industrial Life
  • Looking to the Past
  • Country Life
  • Visions of Dystopia
  • Looking to the Future

I have picked out a couple of paintings from the exhibition which caught my interest for various reasons:

Reginald Marsh, In Fourteenth Street, 1934.

Marsh In 14th Street 1934

The mass of the crowd in the centre of the painting, almost spilling out onto the street like liquid, is captured by Marsh.  The main crowd is in colour bringing the eye firmly to the centre of the painting with more muted colours at the edges.  The crowd looks like ordinary working people enjoying their night out.

Link to original website image here

Charles Sheeler, American Landscape, 1930

Sheeler American Landscape 1930

This painting typifies for me the rise of the industrial landscape of America.  There is a monumental scale to the factory (the Ford Motor Plant) which echos the start of the changing face of the landscape, with the rapid growth of industry during this time.  The paint is applied in quite a flat manner which gives it a graphic edge and links into the modern age.  There are no people in the image perhaps indicting how the machine will eventually dominate.

Link to original website here

Grant Wood, Young Corn, 1931

Wood Young Corn 1931

Not the most famous of the Grant Wood paintings being displayed (that being American Gothic) but what struck me about this image was the stylised tress, green hills and the perfect lines of corn.  This was painting in 1931 and is a surprising idyllic view of a rural landscape considering this was during the depression.  However, he was probably looking back to a past which was rapidly fading away with the rise of the city and industry.

Link to original website here

Grant Wood, Death on the Ridge Road, 1935

Wood, Death on the Ridge Road

It was the composition of this painting which interested me, the two cars going diagonally up the image, one swerving as it overtakes the other before it reaches the top of the hill into the path of the on-coming lorry.  The perspective leaning back out of the picture frame to emphasis the upward motion and give that feeling of speed.  Death itself is not in the painting despite the title, so does it mean the death of the occupants in the car or lorry or is it symbolic of the rise of machine and the death of mankind?

Link to original website here.

Venue:  Royal Academy of Arts, London

Sketchbook 1

Weekly Images from my Sketchbook.  I often have an issue deciding on what to sketch.  So I thought that each week I would have a theme for sketches.  This could be related to the subject matter, method of drawing or something else.  I am not going to be so rigid that if I see something outside my theme I would not sketch it, but, should I have problems deciding on what to sketch I would revert to my theme of the week.

Theme of the Week:  Everyday Objects

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