I took myself to London, South Bank, today. It is the celebration weekend of William Shakespeare’s’ 400th birthday. I went in order to see The Complete Walk, an exhibition along a 2 and half mile stretch of The Thames of outdoor screenings of 10min films investigating each of his 37 plays. Sadly, only a handful of the film screens were working, they had a major technical problem…………so I nipped into The Tate Modern.
I visited the exhibition called Making Traces. The gallery described it as – ” these works capture the traces of an artist’s actions, the marks and textures left behind the physical process of making.” This proved very interesting for me at the very early stages of Painting 1. At the moment I am looking at what paint can do and this felt very relevant today.
Made by starting with a full brush and making strokes that change direction around the canvas, becoming lighter as the paint wears thin. According to the blurb at the side, this “makes visible the passing of time”.
To me this feels light and wispy as if there is something fluttering in the wind. Its a very simple image made with clearly visible brush marks.
At first viewing this felt like the expression of disaster of some kind. The black upright mark appearing to be on the verge of collapse with wild urgent brush strokes all around, it looked to me like the entrance to a tunnel.
You can see the word lost in the paint along the top horizontal of the picture.
On reading the description this painting is about a mine that had been flooded and abandoned. The colours are apparently representational, the black symbolising death, the blue the sea and sky and the red danger. The artist had been influenced by abstract expressionism, but his work is connected to a real event.
The room I enjoyed most in this exhibit was a group of six paintings by Gerhard Richter. It was a group of 6 oil paintings made whilst the artist was listening to the music of John Cage, and american avant guard composer. Apparently there is no link between a particular work and a particular piece of music, but they represent the total randomness of John Cages music. The upright marks, perhaps made by a squeegee appear to me to mark a rhythm?
I felt that the layers on these paintings, when up close, began to reveal images in the mind’s eye. The top painting suggested to a lakeside, there is a reflection caused by the central top most layer. I enjoyed standing and looking into these for quite some time.
Overall I was drawn to these as my next exercise will be painting using anything but a brush. This is inspiration to get started.
Reflection at point of submitting for assessment – Gerhard Richter’s work was indeed a very significant find and stayed with me, throughout…. the pulling of paint accross the surface led me to some exciting discoveries in my future exercises.