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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Cutting Edge: Modernist Printmaking at The Dulwich Picture Gallery

We visited The Dulwich Picture Gallery for the second time on 9 July to look round the fantastic exhibition of prints made by the Grosvenor School in the 1930s, curated by Gordon Samuel of Osborne Samuel Gallery, who gave us a wonderful talk on this topic in February 2018. When Gordon talked about this forthcoming exhibition at DPG last year, he said if the Friends came, he would give us a personal tour. Good as his word, Gordon gave us a highly informative tour of the show, this made it a very special day for all those who attended.
Here's some information from the website which I think summarises the Cutting Edge.
'This summer, discover the pioneering printmakers who captured the spirit of 1930s Britain in this first major show of work from the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. Bringing together 120 prints, drawing and posters, Cutting Edge features iconic works from Claude Flight and eight of his leading students including Sybil Andrews, Cyril Power, Lill Tschudi, William Greengrass and Leonard Beaumont.
The School played a key role in the story of Modern art and quickly became a leading force in the production of printmaking – in particular, linocuts. The Grosvenor artists were renowned for their iconic, vibrant prints that championed the energy of contemporary life in the interwar years. Influenced by the radical expressions of Futurism, Vorticism and Cubism, the Grosvenor School gave its own unique interpretation of the contemporary world, incorporating art deco elements, a punchy geometric style and a vivid palette.
Cutting Edge champions the medium of the block-print linocut, which influential teacher and artist Claude Flight described as “an art of the people” due to its affordability and accessibility. Highlighting the radically changing times of the interwar period, the exhibition will explore themes of transport, speed and movement, industry, labour and sport and leisure, as well as showcasing the original tools, lino blocks and studies that revolutionised the printmaking process.'
Photos of the group are as ever include only some of us, I wanted to include this one because it shows Gordon Samuel in the centre of the picture:
 Memorable snippets for me from the talk include the fact that linocuts weren't made until linoleum became freely available, and the fact it was affordable made it accessible to everyone. Also the impression of speed and movement is achieved by using curved lines in the background.
 I took photos of my favourite linocuts, although it was really very hard to choose, because there are so many fantastic images in the show. The one above is 'The Plough' by Ethel Spowers, 1928.
 'Sledgehammers' by Sybil Andrews, 1933Do
 This is 'The Gale' by Sybil Andrews, 1930
 This is 'Black Swans' by Dorrit Black, 1937
 'The Runners' Cyril Power, 1930
 'Speed Trial' Cyril Power, 1930
 'Jeu de Boules by Lili Tschudi, 1934
 'The Tube Train' by Cyril Powers, 1930 what was fascinating about this apart from the patterns was the social observations such as everyone is wearing a hat and reading a newspaper, and there is only one woman,
 and last but by no means least, 'The Escalator' by Cyril Power, 1930
There were also notebooks in cabinets and in the final room some posters, which again reminded us how different things were in the 1930s when buses came 'every minute' and the word 'thence' was in common usage.
There are rave reviews for this exhibition in the Observer, Culture Whisper, and Evening Standard.
Do go if you haven't been already, it runs until 8 September.

Acquiring Works for the National Trust

For our June talk, Emile de Bruijn agreed to come and talk about his work with the National Trust, specifically how decisions are made about how properties owned by the National Trust should be presented to the public. Looking Emile up on Google, I found 2 really good quotes on Emile and his work in blogs, which you'll find below. Emile writes a wonderful blog called 'Treasure Hunt' which is well worth looking at before you visit a National Trust property.
Here's a lovely quote from another blog post  about Emile:
Emile de Bruijn writes the blog  Treasure Hunt for the National Trust- but he really is a hunter- the blog is just one of his tasks there. Emile writes of the hunt- I "co-ordinate acquisitions of works of art and other historic chattels that have left our historic houses in the past." Emile's presence at the National Trust's blog is so highly valued- for me it brings what is already  the lively reality of History into my daily life. It has to be the same for all his readers. It is unique unto itself. Emile says his "aim is to share the enjoyment-" that he has done.
Looking further, here's another quote about Emile and his work:
'A recent posting, for instance, addresses Quebec House, in Westerham, Kent, “the childhood home of James Wolfe, who was born there in 1727 and spent the first 11 years of his life there.” As is often the case with historic properties, one faces the vexing dilemma of choosing a particular period to present over others: in this case, should the Trust go with the a newly-discovered 1630s scheme for the main bedroom or maintain the mid-eighteenth-century presentation that prevails throughout the rest of the house?'
From those quotes, you have in essence the basis of Emile's talk which gave a really good insight into how decisions are made about presenting houses. 
 Here Paul Holmes from Holmes Music , suppliers of our sound system, checking Emile's microphone is working properly.
 I took a few photos of slides which particularly interested me. The one above shows 4 animal drawings by Philip Webb which were bought by private treaty sale and reside now at the fabulous Wightwick Manor. Home to a fantastic collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings as well as these.
 Above the Sarum Misal  in the Lyme Park Library is the only surviving, largely intact, copy printed by William Caxton in Paris 1487

 A rather poor photo of the authentic living room at Scotney Castle.
 The National Trust purchased the original Dalek which can be seen at Sudbury Hall.
 Also at Wightwick Manor is a copy of Kelmscot Chaucer by William Morris, this was a gift to the National Trust.
 I quite liked the above flow chart outlining how decisions about acquisitions are made, starting with merit assessment.
 I'm not sure why I took a photo of this slide. I love Sissinghurst Castle garden and looking at where Vita Sackville-West wrote her books is fantastic.
 Finally, by coincidence, I visited Ightham Mote in early June, and stood where this John Singer Sergeant painting was done.
Thank you again Emile for a fascinating and thought provoking talk, do watch out for another talk by Emile on Chinese wallpapers.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Trip to Fresh Air Sculpture Exhibition

This biennial sculpture exhibition, first held in 1992 in the extensive gardens and grounds of The Old Rectory at Quenington seemed like a perfect afternoon out for the Friends.The exhibition ran from 16 June until 7July, and we visited on a glorious day on the 26 June.
We were lucky enough to be shown around by Sarah McCabe before going round on our own and enjoying some delicious cake. I took a few photos, hoping to get a good one of the group of us looking relaxed, maybe it's better to get people lined up for a photo?
I have taken information on some of the pieces from the website, I do hope this is OK.
 I photographed pieces I particularly liked, some are residents in the garden, others there for the exhibition
 I could see the sculptures looking good in my garden
 I particularly liked the arrangement of bricks in this stand, perfectly placed by Iain Cotton,  a sculptor who makes letters. Working in stone he makes sculpture for the public realm, private commissions and exhibitions. Clients include Bath Abbey, the Cotswold Way National Trail, Sovereign Housing and the Art and Memory Collection. He has work in private collections in the UK, USA and Japan.
 The suitcases and shoes in a clearing in the garden by Andrei Precup, were very moving, Andrei was born in Cluj-Napoca in the heart of Transylvania in 1992. He opted to study Fine Arts finishing his sculpture degree in England in 2015. His practice has at its core an interest in new techniques and the unconventional use of materials. “Too heavy to move on” was inspired by the current political views portrayed in the media regarding migration.
 I quite like this view of the group of us following Sarah to look at Hereford and Ludlow college students' work
 I loved a lot of it, and lots of the pieces had been sold. The one below is 'Curved' by Dane Stevens
 I'm not sure whose work this is, the label says 'Please respect the artist's work by not touching this sculpture.'
 This sculpture below was fabulous, and could be bought in sections, by Katherine Morgan Kilpatrick and Julia Raath, Katherine’s work plays with pre-conceptions of femininity, aspects of dress and gender. She explores the meaning of contemporary beauty: questioning what is real or manufactured, by creating artefacts and installation as an effective means of human communication, in unexpected and humorous settings. Her textile installation reflects the tapestry of English gardening.
 All these swans are all different and looked wonderful against the library wall, they're made by Emily Lawlor, Emily graduated with a first-class degree in Public Art and Design from Chelsea College of Art in 1994, specialising in mosaics and ceramics. Emily has worked on public art commissions in hospitals, schools and libraries in London and the South-East. She now works from her Cotswolds studio making mosaics from vintage china and selling through galleries.
 This structure was a bit like a summerhouse on the river, reached by a gang plank in the river. Kathy and martin were brave enough to go and sit in it and said it was 'Wonderful'.

 Above the one metre diameter Nodule from Cotswold Water Park is a rare example of an unusually large Septarian Nodule from the Jurassic period (approx. 160 million years ago). Once cut in half, the nodule revealed a spectacular maze of calcite crystals, creating this beautiful geological sculpture.
 Simon, an Associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, has exhibited work at RHS Wisley, RHS Hyde Hall and at the Savill Garden in Windsor. He has contributed to exhibitions in London with the Royal Society of Artists, Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Society of Wildlife Artists.
 I'm not sure if these are called 'Ballerina Brollies'
 I love the fountain above, part of the Abel Smith's permanent collection.
 Above Miranda Michels lives and works on a Radnorshire Hill Farm surrounded by the things that inspire her. She is entirely self-taught, doing all the welding and construction herself. Her sculptures are now in collections in both the UK and abroad, and below Elaine Bolt, Elaine is a ceramic artist creating pieces inspired by landscape and place. Working and teaching in Sussex, she has exhibited across the UK, Europe, USA and Japan. She has recently worked on a year-long Arts Council collaborative project and taught as Lecturer in Ceramics at the University of Brighton.
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 Below Mim Brigham, Mim is a Cornish artist specialising in hot and warm glass. Her work fuses together her passion of science and art and her use of different glass techniques. Inspired by the grass that grows on the beaches, the pieces are created using blown techniques and then fused.
I'm sorry it's taken so long to write this up , and now it's too late to go to the exhibition. We did have a lovely afternoon.