Art exhibitions, London, July 2014
At Tate Modern, Henri Matisse, The Cut-Outs, amazing for the Fauve colours and sheer size.
Also at Tate Modern, a trip though the career of Kazimir Malevich, the avant-garde Russian artist, from the expressive self- portait, 1908, to the iconic Black Square, 1915, to the development of Suprematism and Abstraction, 1915 to 1920 and a return to a kind of refiguration by 1928. Well worth seeing this large collection of his work, borrowed from varied sources, as it shows how his work relates to its historic and political heritage.
The BP Portait Award 2014 at the Royal Academy was as inspiring this year as in 2013. I particularly appreciate the way the RA produce a booklet of the artists and their pictures which give pleasure in retrospect – well worth the tenner it cost. (£9.99 minus discount for members) I’m sure everyone has their favourite portraits. Mine are: the painting that gained second prize, Jean Woods by Richard Twowse, Carolina by Robert O’Brien, Profile of Emma by Antony Williams, Gina and Cristiano by Isabella Watling and My Parents by Gary Sollars. They are not all beautiful but they made me think. Do check it out if you can.
An Exhibition about Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group at the National Portrait Gallery was fascinating because it gave us a glimpse of the coterie of upper class intellectuals, painters, writers and readers who seemed, not only from a different period but also from a different world. I admit I am a Virginia Woolf aficionado and consider her a perceptive and innovative stylist whose influence on subsequent novelists has been significant. Apart from the photographs and paintings, how intriguing it was to see examples of her actual handwriting. Again the books chosen to accompany this exhibition make excellent complementary reading. Both are by Frances Spalding, The Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf, Art. Life and Vision. I wish to point out that I do not get commission for recommending any of these books! Or exhibitions.
A thought-provoking quotation from Virginia Woolf. “Words are an impure medium, better by far to have been born into the silent world of paint.” Do you agree?
Please read the following blog for reviews of the theatre performances seen.