The first exhibition visited was at the Simon Lee Gallery, to see Michelangelo Pistoletto’s silkscreens on super polished stainless steel. I have grown to like his work, initially finding my image in his mirrors unsettling, but this is Pistoletto’s idea, drawing the viewer and the environment into the work creating a virtual space where both interact. In this show he has taken his idea further with industrial storage units laden with tools showing different trades with more emphasis on the static object.
We next went to a Rene Magritte exhibition at the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery, a large house in Savile Row where an attendant unlocked a door on the first floor, explaining there was no photography. While we looked at the work, he stood on guard! A strange experience as we were the only two in the gallery. I was not familiar with any of Magritte’s early work done when he was in Paris in 1927-30 taking part in the activities of the French Surrealists circle. I really enjoyed it, as it seemed more serious and less jokey than his later work. The blurb explained it being to do with semantics, hence the title ‘Rene Magritte (Or: The Rule Of Metaphor)’.
Spruth Magers gallery was next to see Anthony McCall, someone my husband met years ago when in New York. He had warned me I possibly wouldn’t enjoy the show (he was right, I am not a lover of shows in darkened rooms, Bill Viola the exception). When in this darkened basement room, again unlocked by an attendant who came in with us, I felt extremely disorientated besides a projected light creating partial ellipses at different speeds expanding and contracting. There was also a cold mist haze machine in operation. The notes encourage visitors to manipulate the changing light by physically passing through it. This was not for me, I passed and left!
Next was Hauser & Wirth gallery and Matthew Day Jackson. I didn’t like the work at all at first, finding the silkscreen imagery on formica very slick and unpleasant. On further looking, especially close up, the effects were fascinating. Different qualities of textures had been created using lots of materials together. This series of still life paintings, so the blurb read, are direct representations of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Younger’s genre-defining series of flower paintings from the 16th & 17th centuries. Unfortunately I found the overall effect too manufactured and couldn’t spend enough time fathoming out the total idea.
Lorna Simpson, also showing at Hauser & Wirth, was interesting, her work was to do with the representation of identity gender and race, using painting, photography, collage and sculpture. I best liked her ice blocks made of glass – underneath were stacks of Ebony and Jet magazines, distorting the cover images of women. Something I learned from her work was that the expression to be ‘on ice’ is to do with being in prison. No more exhibitions were visited this month.
Having what I think has been a block with my own work, trying out different subject-matter, at last I have gone back to my love of various paintings of the 20th century & I have started to paint again.
Aside of my gallery visits & my painting, I have always enjoyed writing and poetry. Throughout my childhood I remember poetry books belonging to my parents. My father liking Rupert Brooke, typical of many men during the 2nd world war. My mother’s being ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’, a beautiful book she had with hand painted illustrations. Her favourite lines were, ‘The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on’ which she could recite, as she could with so many poems that she was taught at school.
At art school in the 60’s, along with my student friends, we really enjoyed the Beat Poets. I particularly liked Alan Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara and Jack Kerouac.
My husband recently gave me a book of Langston Hughes, who I didn’t know of. This is one of so many I like called ‘Heaven’:
The place where
And birds sing –
To each stone
Stone answers back,
“ Well! And you?”
Having never had any poetry tuition, I have so wanted to express thoughts I have had, & this is me having a go with ‘For Mr Klee’:
Lines of colour
Maths and more
A Puppet yet
Death’s at the door.
All for Felix
Dots and Dashes
So the end of my March Journal with clocks gone forward, here’s to a lovely spring & summer.