The Drawing Works at the London Art Fair

It’s always interesting to me to look back on what has particularly caught my eye at an art event and this year’s London Art Fair was no exception. Photo by Caroline Banks

The Drawing Works presents work by artists where drawing is a central part of their practice. This time they showed a mainly abstract selection including these ink on paper pieces below by Susan Michie .Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksThe obsessive repetition of mark making has become ritualistic, inducing a feeling of contemplation in the viewer.
Photo by Caroline BanksThis Indian ink drawing by Nigel Bird was one of a couple on the stand  Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Bankswhile this “burnt light” drawing, is one of a series by Julia Hutton.Photo by Caroline Banks

Artist Jake Wood-Evans seen at Unit Gallery

I can’t explain the appeal of paint – it just gets me and I stand there gawping, jaw agape, occasionally uttering “ooohh” before remembering where I am (usually a public place).

Paintings by Jake Wood-Evans have been known to have that effect on me. His show at Unit Gallery was filled with lush classically-inspired oil paintings.
Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks

Yes, I get the grand master classical references, but for me the magic is in his application of paintTransitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline BanksThe light, spaces and bare areas and their interrelationship. Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks The whole point of course, is that this can’t be expressed in words. If it could there would be no need to paint.Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks

Rail Mail, riding the train under London’s streets

The experience of riding in the Rail Mail train at the London Postal Museum is a joy for any age (unless of course you suffer from claustrophobia). RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksFrom the excitement of seeing the little train arrive RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksto getting in (it’s a pretty tight squeeze for two adults side by side as these carriages were designed for mailbags, not people)RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksthen riding through the tunnels, sometimes only centimetres away from the walls.RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksWatch an audiovisual history on one of the platformsRailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksbefore returning to base. RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksYou can even sit in the engineer’s train and press some switchesRailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksbefore moving on to interact with more exhibits. I enjoyed seeing engineer John Scott’s toolbox made from an old mail carriage, look at all those tobacco tins lined up and labelled.RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks

Cheerful decorations for a dull winter’s day

Given the grim winter weather this week I thought I’d share these festive images. OK, so Christmas is over but the festive decorations at Le Printemps department store in Paris  were so charming that they merit being seen even after the event.

Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline BanksCome on, who wouldn’t smile at the idea of meerkats in space? Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline BanksThe sunbathers with their foil neck reflectors at the bottom of this photo are a lovely touch Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks

Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain

I’ve long been an admirer of Rachel Whiteread’s work which can be seen at Tate Britain for another couple of weeks. Best known for her large scale sculpture projects, one of my favourites includes this one, Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) 1995, laid out in the Duveen Galleries

Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksI almost expect to see the elements vibrate with the memories of the space they contain. Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksMost exhibits are displayed in one large room with no internal divisions; I enjoyed walking from one area to the next and turning back to see the room from different angles  Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksDue Porte, featured on the catalogue cover, looks quite different from the side.Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksI hadn’t seen these studies and domestically scaled sculptures before, which resonated for me  in a different way. Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline Banks Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksRachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksRachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline Banks Rachel Whiteread. Photo by Caroline BanksHer work strikes me with its humanity regarding memory.

Marlborough House, London

Another discovery for me during Open House was Marlborough House on Pall Mall. Well I say on but pedestrians actually go through a little gateway and down an alley

before coming to this splendid entrance below. No photography was permitted inside as it is the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Nations and the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Built for Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough and Queen Anne’s confidante, it remained the Dukes of Marlborough’s London residence for over a century. This grand palace backs on to the Mall – I’ve often seen the flags visible over the wall and wondered what they meant.

Now I know. Look at the size of it!

The flagpoles look tiny in this shot which gives you an idea of the scale

St James’s Palace is the next door neighbour seen here in the background, so convenient when Anne needed Sarah, which by all accounts was frequently.

and they even have a pet cemetery in a little glade.

Natural Selection exhibition by Artangel

Artist Andy Holden and his father Peter Holden share a fascination with birds. Peter is a bird  expert, running the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists’ Club amongst other activities.

Father and son worked on Natural Selection, an exhibition staged by Artangel which was a combination of education and art. There was much more to it than this one room but I wanted to share the seductive beauty of the eggs, so realistic yet all painstakingly made of porcelain and painted by hand.

Porcelain eggs. Photo by Caroline Banks Porcelain eggs. Photo by Caroline Banks Porcelain eggs. Photo by Caroline Banks Porcelain eggs. Photo by Caroline Banks

Olafur Eliasson room at the Monochrome exhibition, National Gallery

Olafur Eliasson shows us in the last part of Monochrome, Painting in Black & White at the National Gallery, that monochrome doesn’t automatically mean only black & white.

After a fascinating exhibition of more traditional interpretations, including some staggeringly convincing trompe l’oeil painting, you walk into a bright yellow room and everything becomes tones of that colour.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksThe ceiling is lined with sodium yellow monofrequency lamps, a colour that suppresses all others.
Photo by Caroline Banksand even my pillar box red jacket cannot resist the influence of the shadow-free light.Photo by Caroline Banks

Everything at Once exhibition at 180 Strand , London

The Lisson Gallery & The Vinyl Factory held Everything at Once at Store Studios recently to mark its anniversary with this exhibition. Of the 24 artists included I’ll mention 2: Richard Long with Pelopennese Line, a temporary mural made directly on the wall.Pelopennese Line by Richard Long. Photo by Caroline BanksPelopennese Line by Richard Long. Photo by Caroline BanksAl Arabia Al Madfuna III by Wael Shawky had me transfixed; here are a few stills from the film where the production in negative created a mythical and dreamlike atmosphere whilst  the text dealt with history, estrangement and, at times, horror.Still from Al Araba Al Madfuna III by Wael Shawky Photo by Caroline Banks Still from Al Araba Al Madfuna III by Wael Shawky Photo by Caroline BanksStill from Al Araba Al Madfuna III by Wael Shawky Photo by Caroline Banks Still from Al Araba Al Madfuna III by Wael Shawky Photo by Caroline Banks