Friday, 12 October 2012

Sales, a market and Picasso and the Modern British

See our joint pieces fly!

Last weekend, Megan had her yART sale, that featured all of her available work and our joint pieces, as well as the small selection of my work. Much like the summer's opening East Prospect exhibition, the turn out was not as high, however those who came very much appreciated and engaged with the work. This, truly, is the most important thing for any exhibition, from an artist's viewpoint. We want people to see our work and to think about it and to talk about it!

From four thousand miles
Mixed media on board, 12x12" / 30x30cm
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner.
Very excitingly two of Megan and my joint paintings sold! This means that from the fifteen paintings we created earlier in the summer, only four are now left for sale! This is brilliant news for us and great validation of the work we created. I know that I am not alone in wanting to thank everyone who has supported Megan and I throughout our adventures and especially those who have bought our work.

You can find out more about Megan and my joint paintings here. Currently four pieces from A place called home and six from A question of chemistry are still available to buy.

Coming soon to the Art Market

Silent reply
Mixed media on paper, 5.25" x 8.5"
Out of the Blue's quarterly Art Market grows closer, taking place on Saturday 20th – only eight days away! I have been preparing for it over the past week, working out which paintings and other work I will take with me. I am planning on taking a few of my smaller Worlds Apart paintings, my remaining small paper pieces (one shown left), my car illustrations, my camera prints and my pop art greetings cards. With all of that on show, I think I might well have quite a bright and diverse stall!

I have also decided to create some new paper paintings. These pieces, which are currently still inside my mind, will be in keeping with my most recent work. While some of those pieces (you can see most of them here) deal with some dark ideas and themes, I believe that in a simpler form and on paper, I will be able to create some dynamic and eye-catching work – expect to see a preview here next week!

The Britons are coming!

Last weekend I took a trip with a friend to visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, to see their Picasso and the Modern British exhibition. This is again one of the gallery's larger exhibitions, covering more than one floor and encompassing a multitude of works.

Picasso was, of course, the big name draw and, on a sunny Sunday, the gallery was surprisingly busy. Naturally he was well represented in the show, with a fine range of the work he produced before the Second World War. It was educational to see some of his early post-impressionist pieces, as well as be able to see his development as an artist over this period.

For me, however, it was the modern British work that was the most eye-opening. For a long time, little of this work has merited much attention, so it is very welcome to see this selection in a major museum. While I understand the reasoning behind tying all of the work to Picasso (it's the money, naturally), at the same time I felt that the exhibition could have easily, and perhaps more successfully, stood on its own without him. Of course, it would almost certainly have created a far quieter gallery last Sunday and there's no money in that and out galleries do have to be careful, now that the nasty bastards are in charge again.

Wyndham Lewis, 1913
Pen, watercolour and graphite on paper
© Wyndham Lewis and the estate
of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis
The first of the British contingent I was struck by was Wyndham Lewis. I have been peripherally aware of his work since undertaking a series of Vortographs a few years ago. As the prime instigator of Vorticism (seen as a British offshoot of Cubism), I have to admit that there was some sense in showing his work along with Picasso's. I did not, however, confuse the two styles, finding something engagingly graphic in Lewis's approach that I'm not sure I've ever seen in Cubism. However, perhaps I am simply being patriotic (although this seems rather unlikely). 

Later in the show, a few rooms showed work that is seen as a reaction to a tour of the United Kingdom made by Picasso's Guernica, in the year's following that great painting's completion. (Apparently its last showing on this island was in a Manchester car showroom!) Here I found an artist I had not previously encountered, Graham Sutherland. The works of his shown, made in the years around the Second World War, were sinister pieces, sharp and angular and with hints of foreboding. They were reminiscent in some ways, of Francis Bacon's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion‬, which was the splendid centre piece in the next room.

Green Tree Form
Graham Sutherland, 1940
Oil on canvas
British Council Collection
© The Estate of Graham Sutherland
By the time we reached the upper floor of the exhibition, I was beginning to suffer from art fatigue. There was so much to see in the show, that it became impossible to truly take it all in during one visit. This left me with the feeling that the exhibition was simply too big. Of course large public galleries regularly show more work than this, however in a curated exhibition such as this, there is more onus to pay attention to every artwork and read every wall card (there were a lot of wall cards). It made for an exhausting visit, not in any way helped by the unnecessarily dim rooms which made reading any wall card a strain on the eyes (not to mention the wayward shadows intruding across many of the paintings).

While I would certainly consider a second visit, to return to the pieces I enjoyed and pay attention to the areas I ended up bypassing, at £10 a ticket I really do not think that this is likely to happen. By all means, take this fantastic opportunity to see a unique collection of modern British paintings, just be sure to pace yourself (and take a head torch!).

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