Author Archives: wordsforpictures

Student Review: ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’ at the V&A

This article comes to us from Laura Desouza, who is a curator currently studying MA Curating at The University of Kent. She holds a BA hons Degree in History. She currently voluntarily works for The East Grinstead Museum and is involved with creating a new exhibition at the University of Kent’s Studio 3 Gallery. 

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‘Constable: The Making of a Master’

Laura Desouza

The spellbinding and headlining exhibition; ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’, recently opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum following on from a successful tour of Constable’s oil sketches in 2012. Its curator Dr Mark Evans has adopted a fresh new approach to the artist and his works.  Until this point it has always been presumed that Constable worked directly from nature and in some circumstances he did, however, this new reassessment of Constable’s work challenges the notion that he was just a ‘natural painter.’ The exhibition demonstrates the extent to which his artworks were shaped by artistic tradition and influenced by the art of ‘The Old Masters’. In the words of the exhibitions curator Dr Mark Evans, the exhibition ‘seeks to dissipate the illusory aura of autonomy’. It undertakes this by showing that Constable acquired his mastery through mimicking and imitating works, rather than from a straightforward encounter with nature.

The V&A have brought together over 150 works of art for the exhibition including oil sketches, watercolours, drawings and engravings. Included in these are numerous paintings by Gainsborough, Turner and Claude Lorrain, and all of these on their own are worth visiting. These artworks neighbour a number of Constables, in order to denote how Constable replicated certain elements of their work such as brush stroke and light and shade techniques. These comparisons were very astute but I often found myself desperately trying to prosperously compare Constable’s work to those of the other artists, unfortunately sometimes to no avail. An example, of these comparisons is Rubens ‘Landscape by Moonlight’; Constable simulated this with a big emphasis on the need to reciprocate the impact of light falling on figures in the night in his own adaption, but it was not in my opinion as successful as Rubens’ original.  From my point of view, Constable failed to capture the light and shade within his version, his use of broken brushstrokes, often in small touches, which he glazed over the lighter passages, were not as successful as Rubens’  brushstrokes which created an aura of a sparkling light enveloping the Landscape. Claude Lorrain’s ‘Landscape with Hagar and the Angel’, on the other hand was depicted by Constable as ‘Dedham Vale 1802’ and Constable’s technique of allowing the brown ground of the canvas to show through and his style of painting the foreground with thin strokes and dabbing of paint made this artwork stunning .  Constable’s imitations are good at getting an innovative approach into how light, weather and atmosphere are put onto the canvas, but if you are looking for like for like art work then this will not be the case asstable does bring his own emulation into each artwork with his brushstroke technique.

Alongside his paintings, in some of the rooms are numerous glass cabinets, harking back to the old ‘cabinets of curiosity’, and featuring a number of Constable’s sketchbooks. The detail in these sketch book drawings are definitely worth a viewing as the work within them was second to none; Constable’s detailing within them is a great testament to his work and studies of his surroundings.

Many of Constable’s most renowned artworks including ‘The Hay Wain’, ‘The Leaping Horse’ and ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds’ are shown  towards the end of the seven meandering sections, taking viewers through a journey of the training and development of the young artist to his most acclaimed pieces.  The V&A exhibited these famous artworks alongside the preparatory work that Constable had put into producing them. This work included sketches and first drafts of each of his famous works of art, demonstrating the depth of composition, colour, and light that went into each piece. By the end of this section you will admire him for the amount of work he put into all of his preparation.

This exhibition encouraged me to reconsider my assumptions of Constable, that his art work was dry, clichéd and in some cases lacked any interest in anything other than the trees and sky that were in the forefront of his vision. The exhibition has instead left me in awe of Constables work and the preparations that went into all of his art works.  The work that has gone into bringing together this detailed, eye opening and wide-ranging exhibition is also incredible. Whether you think this exhibition is ‘good’ or ‘great’ will come down to whether you actually like Constable’s paintings but for me, Constable: Making of a Master is a great exhibition. My exhibition experience has made me fall in love with Constable’s work and I encourage everybody to visit it.

 ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’ is at the V&A until 11 January 2015.

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Student Review: Rose Hilton’s Quiet Still Life

Another writer in our series of student reviews, Christine Buckley has been at the University of Kent for four years where she studies History and Philosophy of Art at undergraduate and Masters level. She hopes to continue her studies at PhD level and eventually hold a career in academia.

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‘Quiet Still Life’

Christine Buckley

Quiet Still Life, Rose Hilton (2010)

Quiet Still Life, Rose Hilton (2010)

Quiet Still Life (2010) immediately caught my attention because I felt it was different from the other pieces in the exhibition. Hilton’s style in this piece uses muted colours and artistic skills to create a visually outstanding art work. The greyish blue tone of the piece which incorporates hints of white and includes colouring the frame in the same way works very well and creates a piece which is coherent. It is also one of the pieces in the show that really showcase Hilton’s abilities as an artist. What is depicted is quite clear and expertly executed. I feel that a lot of thought went into making this piece an artwork that needs to be looked at deeply to intrigue thoughts within the viewers as it did with me. This is a stand-out piece in the show that is a testament to Hilton’s skills which uses subtlety and precision. Quiet Still Life has the elegance to steal the show.

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Art Matters: Symposium on Art and Politics

ART MATTERS // SYMPOSIUM ON ART AND POLITICS

15TH NOVEMBER 2014 | TURNER CONTEMPORARY, MARGATE. FOYLE ROOM

Philosophers of art and art historians will debate how we might understand the relationship between art and politics. Is all art political? Is there a difference between political art and propaganda? Can art make a real political impact, or does it just preach to the converted? What are the most useful theoretical models for thinking about the political dimension of art? Such broad issues are compellingly brought into focus by Jeremy Deller’s exhibition.

Date: 15th November 2014
Time: 1.30pm
Location: Turner Contemporary, Margate

PROGRAMME 

1:30 WELCOME (Martin Hammer)
1:45 – 2:15 Political Art and Political Propaganda Art

Angelo Cioffi (Kent)

2:15 – 2:30 Q&A
2:30 – 3:00 Art and Politics: the Crosshatch and the Breach

Bernadette Buckley (Goldsmith)

3:00 – 3:15 Q&A
3:15 -3:30 BREAK
3:30 – 4:00 Varieties of Political Art: The Curious Case of Jeremy Deller

Diarmuid Costello (Warwick)

4:00 – 4:15 Q&A
4:15 -4:45 Apocalypse Now, then: Politics and Contemporary Art Partnerships

Grant Pooke (Kent)

4:45 – 5:00 Q&A

The event is open to all at £8, £6 for concessions, and free for Kent staff and students on production of a KentOne card.

 View more information and reserve your place at the Turner Contemporary’s webpage.

 

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Talk: An Evening with Rose Hilton

rosehiltontalk

You are warmly invited to join us on Wednesday November 26th for a conversation between Rose Hilton and curator Dr Ben Thomas.

The pair will discuss our current exhibition that features 26 of Hilton’s lyrical, sensitive and joyful canvases including recent landscapes, still-lifes, interiors and nudes, as well as key works from earlier in the artist’s career, such as the poignant Roger’s Room (1973) depicting her late husband, the artist Roger Hilton.

Refreshments will be available from 17:30, and the talk will begin at 18:00.

Tickets are free, but booking is recommended due to the limited capacity of the gallery. Please book your place here:http://ow.ly/Dds7b

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Talks: Visiting Artists in Fine Art at the School of Music and Fine Art

LiberateTate_TBritain-2418

Artists from activist group Liberte Tate stage a performance in Tate Britain on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A naked member of the group has had an oil-like substance poured over him by silent figures dressed in black and wearing veils, and is now lying in a fetal position on the floor in the middle of the exhibition Single Form. Dedicated to the human body, Single Form is one of a series of British Art Displays staged throughout the galleries of Tate Britain.

Visiting Artists’ Talks

Autumn term 9th October – 11th December 2014

The Clocktower Building Lecture Theatre
The School of Music and Fine Art
University of Kent
Chatham Historic Dockyard
Kent
ME4 4TZ

Kent School of Music and Fine Art in Chatham is very proud to announce a program of visiting artists, writers, filmmakers, curators and performers who will talk about their work on consecutive Thursdays for 10 weeks commencing from the 9th October 2014.  These talks follow the success of the previous Visiting Artists’ Talks earlier in the year and the Autumn term’s lineup showcases female artists working in a variety of contemporary artistic fields. This program shows the astonishing breath and scale of contemporary artists practice. Each speaker is renowned in their own field and uses imagery, materials and processes differently to pose distinct and searching questions and to address the urgent concerns of our age.

Fiona Boundy, known curator and producer of Artlands North Kent, will be speaker at the next talk on the 16th October.

All talks are free to attend and are open to all. The programme for the term is as follows:

Ruth Ewan 9th Oct
Fiona Boundy  16th Oct
Hannah Rickards 23rd Oct
Lindsay Seers  30th Oct
Hayley Newman 6th Nov
Ope Lori  13th Nov
Trish Scott 20th Nov
Kirsten Glass 27th Nov
Jananne Al-Ani   4th Dec
Ami Clark  11th Dec

View all the artist profiles and more information on the School of Music and Fine Art’s page.

A free shuttle service operates for Kent students and staff travelling between Kent campuses: more information on the Kent website.

Image: Liberate tate, Amy Scaife/Corbis

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Upcoming Exhibition: Rose Hilton, Giving Life to Painting

Blue Cafe low res

Studio 3 Gallery at the University of Kent is pleased to present Giving Life to Painting a new major exhibition of works by Rose Hilton. Featuring over twenty-five pieces, these works exemplify Hilton’s sensitive and empathic use of colour and form to capture the intangible sensibilities of her landscape and her models.

 Hilton was born in Leigh, near Tonbridge, and grew up there as part of a strict Plymouth Brethren family. She studied art at Beckenham School of Art, and then at the Royal College of Art, where she was part of a brilliant generation of students including Robyn Denny, Richard Smith, David Hockney, Joe Tilson. She married the painter Roger Hilton in 1965 and moved with him to Cornwall, where she has lived ever since, forming part of the well-known St. Ives school. This exhibition marks Hilton’s return to her home county of Kent and will be held in conjunction with a parallel exhibition at Messum’s Gallery in London.

Exhibition dates: September 29 to December 19

Private View: Saturday October 4, 18:00 to 20:00

Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 17:00

 Image: Rose Hilton, Blue Café, 2007, oil on canvas, courtesy of Messum’s Gallery http://www.messums.com/

 

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Student Review: UNDEREXPOSED – A Tribute to Female Artists

We are please to launch a new series of articles written by our History and Philosophy of Art students in response to our current exhibitions. This inaugural entry comes from Nigel Ip, a second-year HPA student, whose particular Art History interests include the Italian Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites and Conceptual Art. You can find more of his writing here: http://nigelartreviews.wordpress.com/.

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UNDEREXPOSED: A Tribute to Female Artists

Nigel Ip

In the space of ten seconds, how many female artists can you think of?

Now repeat the same exercise but with male artists…

Off the top of my head I counted four female artists – Artemisia Gentileschi, Barbara Hepworth, Marina Abramović and Tracey Emin – and about seven male artists – Raphael, Michelangelo, Velázquez, Damien Hirst, Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso.

You can do the same exercise over and over again and still find more male artists than their counterparts.

Female artists in general have been under-represented throughout art history. Art-making and the training that preceded it was an intensely expensive activity. Those women artists who did succeed were usually from wealthy backgrounds, whether through marriage or inheritance. In other cases, the lack of female artists was largely due to gender biases in society and also the dismissing of their work as ‘craft’ rather than ‘fine art’. It is precisely this that UNDEREXPOSED takes as its starting point. Through the medium of print, it attempts to elevate and shed light on the work of female artists, past and present.

The works are almost entirely by artists of the 20th century and the present day given the relatively limited availability of older works accessible by curators and University of Kent students Lynne Dickens and Frances Chiverton. However, a wonderful print of a Holy Family (c. 1575) by Diana Ghisi did make it into the show under the generosity of Dr Ben Thomas. Ghisi, also known as Diana Scultori, was an Italian Renaissance engraver who is recorded as being the first female artist allowed to sell her own work under her own name. The inclusion of this print stands out as a historically significant statement amongst the rest of the works that women artists did exist and succeed before the 19th century.

Just around the corner of the same wall are two prints by Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, kindly lent from the Victoria & Albert Museum Print Collection. Both artists were deeply involved with the Impressionists during the late 19th century, the former being well acquainted with Édouard Manet, the latter with Edgar Degas. Thematically, their work focuses on the culturally restricted lives of women, evident in Morisot’s choice of domestic settings and Cassatt’s specific interest in mothers and children as subjects. Unlike their male counterparts, these women provide us with a glimpse of women’s private lives from the perspective of one who is also restricted by the same rules as imposed by society. These artists have empathy for their subjects. You can almost feel their unspoken pain in the vacant expression of the fan-holding subject in Cassatt’s Tea (1890).

This exhibition attempts to provide the viewer with a small sample that displays the richness and variety of ideas and techniques exploited by these artists. Towards the latter end of the 20th century we have seen a flourish of successful women artists. Royal Academicians like Anne Desmet – whose Babel Tower in Pieces (1999) is one of three pieces in the exhibition – are examples of women’s recognition within the art world – and society – as artists worthy of praise. Tracey Emin’s appointment in 2011 as one of two Professors of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts since its founding is proof of this. One of her autobiographical prints proudly hangs in the foyer of the School of Arts building beside an edition of the Guerrilla Girls’ Do Women STILL Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum? (2012).

Artists exhibited in the show include Kent University alumni Dawn Cole whose solar plate etchings allude to pieces of white lace. Her series Reading Between the Lines take passages from a diary written by her great aunt during her time as a WW1 Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. The diary records some of the wartime horrors and incidents at the hospital, and passages like “Men had their eyes removed” are interwoven into the lace-like patterns of Cole’s work.

Gwen Raverat proved to be a fast favourite at the private view, while others took interest in Barbara Hepworth’s minimalist lithographs and screenprints. Charlotte Cornish’s vivid abstractions raised a few eyebrows too, and what a pleasure it was to see some of Bridget Riley’s works – Frieze (2000), Two Blues (2003), Composition with Circles (no. 5) (2005) – whose conceptions are always made with the medium in mind, taking into account their size and effect on the viewer.

However, big names like Sarah Lucas weren’t necessarily the most popular as evidenced by Lucy Farley’s silkscreen print To the Lighthouse, Ile de Re (2013) – directly opposite the former’s Squab Squaw (2011) and Sarah Hardacre’s openly controversial screenprints of women in urban settings – generating much discussion among visitors to the exhibition. Farley studied BA Fine Art in 2001 at Central St. Martins and specialised in printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 2007. She is currently undergoing a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Arts and she has exhibited in several small-scale group shows over the years. The subject of her work is usually urban and rural locations with a great degree of expressiveness, bold use of black lines and atmospheric choice of colours, contrasting very well with the almost photographic quality of Alison Wilding’s lithographs of Starlings (2005).

For figurative art there is a concentrated display of prints by Eileen Cooper, Anita Klein and Ana Maria Pacheco. These prints have a particular focus on women with the first two often incorporating the same figure in a large body of work. Cooper’s linocuts tend to be psychological at first glance – some might say surreal, others even Freudian. Their content is a mix between fantasy and reality with titles like The Moon, The Bird and The Bride (1992) and Walking on Air (2005). Her recurring figure is a naked woman. Klein, on the other hand, uses a clothed figure. Her themes often revolve around the idea of beauty in art and everyday life such as nature, romance, family and birds. The prints displayed in the exhibition – The Goddess of the Pear Tree (2013) and The Spider (2013) – are part of the former category. In an interview in 2011, Klein said that she “grew up with a very strong sense of possibility of everything being taken away…I know that what I would miss are the very small things like having breakfast with my family, cleaning our teeth together… not holidays or birthdays or the photo-album version of life. Not the things we record but things that go past, slip through our fingers, things we don’t manage to enjoy”. It is in the ordinary in which we find the most happiness and create the most memories.

This exhibition has a certain lightness to it, perhaps due to the variety of its displays. A range of techniques and media are explored here – woodcuts, linocuts, screenprinting, photo-etching, engraving – and the content is just as diverse – people, houses, sea, sky, nature, society, abstract forms – and it keeps on going. Not only does this show women’s freedom in exploiting the possibilities of art-making but also the analogous diversity in printmaking itself when compared to painting or sculpture. From a method used to allow artists to advertise and promote their art, as cheap reproductions of paintings – or labour-intensive equivalents to present-day postcards – to the idea of prints as a medium and original work of art in its own right. The exhibition is a celebration of women’s recognition in the art world and printmaking’s infinite possibilities; two understated aspects of society combined to create something beautiful and perhaps even moving.

UNDEREXPOSED: Female artists and the medium of print runs until 19th June 2014 at Studio 3 Gallery, University of Kent, Canterbury, blogs.kent.ac.uk/studio3gallery.

 

 

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Underexposed poster FINAL small

UNDEREXPOSED – SERIES OF TALKS

Underexposed poster FINAL small
FREE lectures by leading experts – guarantee your seat today or it may be standing room only!
Making a difference. Women artists as printmakers by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints), Victoria & Albert Museum
Saturday, 17 May 2014 from 10:30 to 12:00
Paula Rego as Printmaker by Paul Coldwell, artist and Professor in Fine Art at the University of the Arts London
Thursday, 22 May 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00
The different techniques of printmaking by contemporary artist and Kent alumna Dawn Cole
Saturday, 24 May 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Gwen Raverat: her history, wood engravings and circle of friends by her grandson, William Pryor
Saturday, 31 May 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Biting through: the relationship between etchings, lithographs and screenprints and my kinetic sculpture by Liliane Lijn
Saturday, 7 June 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Black, white and one: developing a print portfolio from artwork to gallery by Fiona de Bulat, artist, lecturer and cofounder of ‘DBA editions’ print studio
Thursday, 12 June 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00
‘Beauty in art’ and ‘My printmaking techniques’ by the celebrated artist Anita Klein PPRE Hon RWS
Saturday, 14 June 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00

 

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SMALL By the Black Window 21 - Marcus Rees Roberts

WINTER JOURNEY – VISITOR COMMENTS

SMALL By the Black Window 21 - Marcus Rees Roberts

 

There are still 4 more weeks to see Winter Journey by Marcus Rees Roberts, an exhibition that visitors have described as:

 

Very expressive and unique

 

Deeply moving

 

Deep, beautiful…

 

Moving and provocative

 

Fantastic!!!

 

A poignant and moving presentation of images, text and video…

 

A very sophisticated and literary show. Wonderful.

 

Deep, dark and moving

 

Very, very, very good. Quite haunting really…

 

Dark yet pertinent!

 

Intense and moving

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