Saturday, July 24, 2010

British Art Now at the Saatchi Gallery

I went to British Art Now at the Saatchi Gallery on Saturday July 17, 2010. There's something about this particular gallery that I really love –  it might be the large light well-proportioned spaces which are exceptionally inviting and pleasurable to be in. Cameras are allowed which is nice. I bought a copy of the Picture by Picture Guide which costs £1.50 and which is incredibly helpful, with b/w images and background information about each work.

The works on show are many and varied, from the large experimental oils of Alastair MacKinven who had an impressive range of work on display, to the sawn-up sculptures of Mark Pearson. Hurvin Anderson's large paintings could have been influenced in part by Peter Doig. Iain Hetherington paints a series of life-size baseball caps surrounded by abstract dabs and splashes of contrasting colour; The series, called Diversified Cultural Worker,  brought to mind Hans Hoffmann's push/pull spatial theories.

 There's a good deal of sculpture which I didn't study closely, being mainly interested in the paintings, but some of it was quite inspiring, especially the oversized work of Karla Black who chooses her media for tactile aesthetic appeal. The huge weird Nothing Is A Must (2009), made of chalked sugar paper,  was especially interesting.

Another painter whose work I liked was Phoebe Unwin. Two that stand out are Girl (2005), a strong half-length profile study in muted tones with some lovely textural painting in the girl's jumper, and Soft Person (2008), a large beautifully executed abstract in gold leaf and acrylic which reminded me of Gustav Klimt in its intricate patterning.

 Two artists hark back to the distant past in their work. Ged Quinn based his large oil paintings on landscapes by Claude Lorrain, introducing  contemporary elements into his flawless surfaces. These were really interesting to look at. The other was Pablo Bronstein who makes his original detailed architectural drawings look very old – they reminded me of Canaletto with their dead-on perspective. These are new ideas such as suggestions for the re-use of old spaces, but he frames them in actual old ornate frames, enhancing the illusion of antiquity,  As the guide says, he “dissects the lineage of ideas and ideologies, all pastiched together with a dandyish pomo flair.”   

All in all this was a wonderful and inspiring viewing experience. There was a good variety of media and styles on display and I enjoyed and learnt something from all of it.

1 comment:

surayamam said...

Sounds like you are having a really inspiring time in London. Great images you posted,nice to see that Postmodernism really does mean ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING goes. As long as the artist believes in themselves and is convined by their methods and message, they can really define themselves what it is they want to do. An idea not met at all by OCA assessors...time to become emotionally independent and start believing in our artist selves!