Category Archives: Places

Hiding in Plain Sight: Female Abstract Expressionists in 1950’s and 60’s America at Amar Gallery

Go down the stairs at Amar Gallery in Islington to encounter a gem of a show about the female Abstract Impressionist artists working at the same time as those male painters we’re already so familiar with: Pollock, Rothko, De Kooning, Newman etc. It was a very macho movement with the women producing work of equal power and interest but not promoted in the same way due to their gender.

One of the better known women was Helen Frankenthaler whose  charismatic Moon Spin  I could have sat in front of for hours.Photo by Caroline BanksOther impressive work included Warm Rain I by Ethel SchwabacherPhoto by Caroline Banksand one of her luminous colour studiesPhoto by Caroline BanksWhite by Grace Hartigan reminded me of the colouring of Jackson Pollocks’ Blue Poles – hers is dated a year before his painting.

Photo by Caroline BanksUntitled, Bull abstract by Elaine de Kooning captures the force and dynamism of the beast.
Photo by Caroline BanksI can see a direct link between the work of Mary Abbott’s Untitled – Haiti and that of Chris Ofili 50 years later.Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 4 of 4

The architecture room at the RA Summer Show is full of beautifully produced models and drawings. This huge one ( coming in at 2.3 x 1.3 metres and 45cm high) however, of the Google’s View Mountain Campus in California, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and BIG, fascinated me with the amount of detail and how lovingly it had all been constructed. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksBoth the exterior below and interiors made me wonder what it would be like to work here.Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 3 of 4

Another piece from the Blue Room was this glorious hanging by El Anatsui, aptly named Change in Fortune, made from his traditional bottle tops stitched together. The whole piece is a beautiful shimmering sweeping stroke on a grand scale.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksThis geometric hand folded polyester film by Tony Blackmore impressed me with its delicacy and complexity.
Photo by Caroline Banks
Photo by Caroline Banks
A more traditional piece was a portrait of the poet Hugo Williams by Humphrey Ocean. It was hung high so the photo unfortunately doesn’t do it credit.Photo by Caroline Banks On a different note is one of Rebecca Salter’s mixed media drawings, Untitled AK17. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 2 of 4

The Phyllida Barlow room was, as you can see, pretty busy when I visited (and no, I don’t know the smiley woman in front of Tony Cragg’s Lost in Thoughts sculptures in this shot)Photo by Caroline Banks The beautifully smooth laminated wood invited touch which practically everyone seemed to do.Photo by Caroline Banks

David Nash showed Red Holed Column, this wooden trunk with charred drilled  holes Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks as well as Blue Column, one of his prints. Both so sensual.Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 1 of 4

As the years go on I seem to know and recognise the work of an increasing number of artists exhibiting at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, several of whom have featured in previous blog posts.

Kate MccGwire is one such and I was delighted to see that she had won the Jack Goldhill Award for sculpture with Squall, pictured below.

Other pieces which caught my eye included Katie Walker’s Fragile. I’m not sure if she’s the furniture maker but the care and craftsmanship of this piece would indicate that it might be. Can anyone help here? Photo by Caroline Banks Another prize-winner, of the Charles Wollaston Award, was Mike Nelson with this unnerving piece, Untitled ( Public sculpture for a Redundant Space) a prototype for a series of sculptures made for the High Line in New York. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksExpanded Narcissistic Envelope by Toby Ziegler was humorously displayed with most people nudging past and practically ignoring it. It moved so easily, swaying gently as it was buffeted by the crowds but is a metal structure with some very sharp angles. Photo by Caroline Banks

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud & a Century of Painting Life at Tate Britain

A recent study of oil painting techniques led me to visit Tate Britain for this exhibition of figure painting. I enjoyed the standard greats including Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

Photo by Caroline Banks

but was more interested in examining the less-famous artists in the last room of the show; these painters were really exciting for their handling of materials.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye creates each painting in just one day according to the information at the show – quite an achievement for the scale of work she can produce. I love the looseness and confidence of her brushwork dealing with the “what” more than the “who”.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksCelia Paul’s painting is much more heavily worked with compelling intensity.

Photo by Caroline Banks

I have long been an admirer of Paula Rego and was wowed once more by her use of pastels. Look at her treatment of fabric in this piece, particularly the veil.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksJenny Saville  specialises in hugely over life-sized representations of the female form in oils. The materiality of her work mesmerises. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Forgotten Streams by Cristina Iglesias

Most of my journeys through the City of London are by bike so I’d missed this low-level sculpture outside the prestigious Bloomberg Building, installed in 2017.Photo by Caroline Banks

Forgotten Streams by Cristina Iglesias reminds us of the rivers of London, most of which are now hidden underground. It marks the Walbrook river which flowed on this site.

Photo by Caroline BanksThe cast bronze looks like layers of compressed branch debris and provides a contemplative spot in one of the most expensive areas of London real estate.
Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banks

Sculpture in the City

My former studio-mate, Amanda Lwin, is one of the artists in this year’s Sculpture in the City and led a tour for Nocturnal Creatures, the arts festival organised by Whitechapel Gallery so here are a few pictures of her work with some of the others we saw.

Her piece, A Worldwide Web of Somewheres is in Leadenhall Market Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Bankswhere you can also find I’m Staying by Shaun C Badham.Photo by Caroline BanksThe Adventurer by Gabriel Lester thoughtfully includes seating  Photo by Caroline BanksMichail Pirgelis sliced a section of an Airbus 300 for his piece UNIVRS  Photo by Caroline Banksthen we came across Tracey Emin’s Your Lips Moved Across My Face hidden away in a narrow alley. Photo by Caroline BanksThese were only a few so visit the website to see more.

East Wall – Storm The Tower, directed by Hofesh Schechter

I know it’s a sign of climate change – I’ve even stopped checking my weather app – but I do love it when you can plan an evening out and know it’ll be warm and dry. This was the case for East Wall at the Tower of London, part of LIFT festival.

Photo by Caroline Banks

A collaboration between East London Dance,  Hofesh Shechter Company, Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT ,   the evening celebrated the variety and diversity of East London.                          Hofesh Schechter’s trademark percussion instruments stood at the back of the stage, Photo by Caroline Banksready to accompany the different young amateur dancers. One of my favourite pieces was Three, choreographed by Duwane Taylor (I’m a fan of Krump.)Photo by Caroline BanksThere were 6 pieces in all, exploring migration,  the immigrant experience and the history of East LondonPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banksculminating with an exuberant  finale where the Band of the Irish Guards joined the other performers in the moat.Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banksall overlooked by a sole archer and the ever-present plane passing overhead.Photo by Caroline Banks

Mark-making workshop by Modern Eccentrics at Cass Art

Ever keen to learn new skills I signed up recently for a workshop run by Ross and Jonny of ModernEccentrics at Cass Art where we learned about making our own brushes and ink.

Here are some of Ross’s beautiful brushes – these are not actually intended for use.
Photo by Caroline Banksand the trolley selection of materials to make our own.Photo by Caroline BanksAnother trolley set up for ink production Photo by Caroline Bankswith avocado ink on the boilPhoto by Caroline BanksHere’s my first attempt at brush-making: a multi-branched combo that began disintegrating almost immediately with use as you can see.Photo by Caroline BanksIt has to be said I was quite hard on them so once I’d broken off the limbs drew exuberant dancers using a concentrate of oak gall inkPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksContact Modern Eccentrics for info on more of their courses.