This week Olympia hosted ‘Top Drawer’ the show where the buyers go to source new, unearth the latest trends and discover emerging talent, and buy for the coming season.
According to Flamingo Trend Predictions , there are four key trends this season the first being Playful Chromatics. Described thus, as a fun filled palette of block colours that bring modernity through mid tone brights. Varied hues are achieved through mixed material densities.
A key colour is neo mint and it adds a fresh and positive start for 2020. Kat Burroughs, Interiors Journalist of the Times, mentions in her predictions for 2020 the Pantone colour of ‘Classic Blue’, which is more or less Royal Blue, and also lilac being used in some home wares.
Blue also features in another of her 2020 predictions, chintzy china. There was a great deal, of that old favourite, blue and white china, much of it with a modern twist.
The second predicted trend is ‘Rare Bloom’ powerful, pigmented florals grounded with soft brown leathers. Florals add deep intensity of reds, oranges and purples clashing with acid lime, and tempered with soft peachy coral.
The show certainly had many surface designers who have taken their inspirations from nature with fine examples of flowers and insects.
‘Mad About The House’ journalist Kate Watson Smythe, in her predictions for 2020 describes how we are turning away from the minimalism of recent years and embracing pattern, particularly with a new take on English country style with layers of colour and pattern.
Unadorned Tactility is the third trend and that is formed from new interpretations of traditional materials. Organic prints and textured layered on to geo shapes give a bio-futuristic look.
The fourth trend is Serene Warmth. Described as dappled sun warmth and cool shade, colours are juxtaposed in the raw fabrics, rich prints and smooth pale marble and concrete.
This warmth aspect of this trend fits in with Kate Watson Smythe’s prediction that ‘the fashion for brown furniture, which I wrote about last year, has now become part of the sustainability movement and will, rightly, continue to grow in popularity. We will buy more from eBay and vintage stores, we will paint and customise and up cycle more and we will continue to reupholster and repurpose.’
This small but packed exhibition is on from 27th October 2019 until 26th January 2020 in the Sackler Wing at The Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House Piccadilly London W1J 0BD https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/
Ok let’s start with the biographical bit, Freud was born in Berlin in 1922 and moved to the UK in 1933 to escape Nazi Germany. In the late 1940’s he chose to make portraiture his primary focus of practice.
Freud had two obsessions painting and sex. Author John Richardson once remarked ‘ He turns sex into art and art into sex- there is no differentiation; the two aspects of his senses came together in the act of painting”.
Because Freud was renowned for his works of startling intensity, and for frank, often disquieting nudes, he often required his models to sustain uncomfortable poses for long periods of time. Freud stated that it was only fair that he should subject himself to the same process.
The exhibition shows his work from his early years, including his painting Man with a feather (self portrait 1943) It was exhibited in the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1944.
The first portraits are in pencil and or ink. Encouraged by his mother, Freud had drawn obsessively since childhood. His approach to painting at this time was marked by a preoccupation with line, combining expressive force with a quality of draughtsmanship that led the critic Herbert Read to describe him as the ‘Ingres of Existentialism”
From around the mid 1950’s Freud turned his attention away from drawing to painting, and for a period of about seven years stopped drawing altogether. In order to free up his painting he stopped painting sitting down and from then on painted standing up. His last painting made sitting down is Hotel Bedroom 1954 and is a double portrait of himself and his second wife Lady Caroline Blackwood.
Between the 1950’s and the mid 1960’s Freud’s painting gradually freed up. In 1961 he took up using watercolours, replacing the linearity of pen and pencil with loose painterly washes.
From the mid 1960’s Freud used Mirrors to help him paint his own likeness. He didn’t use photographs and only kept mirrors in his studio not in the rest of his house. He liked the way that a mirror could suggest a new and unexpected angle or perspective.
Freud said of himself ‘ My work is purely autobiographical. It’s about myself and my surroundings…I work from the people that interest me and that I care about in rooms that i live in and know.”
Throughout his career Freud held a succession of London Studios, in Holland Park, Paddington and Notting Hill. They provided the stage for his encounters with sitters- each an intimate environment that was erotically charged.
A series of exhibitions in the late 1980’s and 1990’s cemented Freuds reputation internationally. From then on he held an exhibition every year for the rest of his life. He continued to paint self portraits that display his self- possession and extraordinary mastery of colour, form, light and shade.
Freuds late self-portraits become increasingly built up with thick layers of paint sometimes smoothed at others scratched as though responding to the changes in his physical appearance. He almost disappears into the surface. there is a narrowing of the space between the painter and his work. This is a very popular exciting exhibition and you will need to book to see it.
Antony Gormley is an internationally
renowned sculptor. Known mainly for his huge sculptures such as Angel of the
North. This exhibition covers his work from his early beginnings in the late
1970’s to his latest works.
human body is at the core of his practice, but he is not interested in
realistic likenesses, or depicting an ideal form. For Antony Gormley the body
is a vessel for feeling. It is both the unique site of our individual journeys,
and the one thing we all share.
This exhibition has work I had not seen
before, including works on paper, fabric and other media. I loved his
sketch-books full of workings for his often very complex sculptures.
is one particularly unusual wall hanging made from white pieces of bread hung
together in a grid with a cut out human form made by biting into them. Called
Mothers pride !
fabulous wall hanging is made from clay and blankets and is from 1983 and is
called Blanket Drawing.
you enter the courtyard of the RA curled up on the floor is a tiny figure, which
were it not for people around taking photo’s, it would be very easy to miss. The life size
cast iron form is of his daughter when she was six days old.
of the first rooms you enter is full of slab works, they are dense hard, edged
and look like enormous bronze versions of Lego bricks. They are extreme
geometric abstractions of the human form. I persuaded a friend to sit next tone
one of the smaller galleries is a single life-size body form, with head bent,
contemplating the ground on which he stands. He is formed of tightly packed
vertical and horizontal steel bars that map the internal space of the body.
VII 2019 is an amazing space the artist calls it ‘drawing in space. In this
interactive sculpture the viewer climbs in and out and walks round the room
that consists of 8 kilometers of square section aluminium tube, coiled and then
allowed to expand and uncoil until restricted by the walls and the ceiling.
Inside the gallery, gravity appears to
be defied and space folds in on itself as bodies project from all sides, floor
and ceiling all at odds with one another. The works are perpendicular to the
rectangular architecture of the room, the effect as you move between them is
A more recent work is Cave, it is a sculpture on an architectural scale. The work can be walked into or you can walk round it. Inside it is dark and the viewer or participant has to feel their way through relying on senses other than sight.
Another 2019 work is Host. A room filled with an expanse of clay and seawater. Described by Gormley as ‘an invasion of the inside by the outside’, the work provides a stark contrast to the gilded ceiling of the nineteenth-century gallery
This is a breath taking awe inspiring
exhibition well worth a visit.
Currently on Show at the Gallery Downstairs at The Department Store 248 Ferndale Rd London SW9 8FR
2nd -14th November 2019 Opening hours 10.00-17.00 Nearest Underground: Brixton
I happened to be walking in Brixton last Sunday when I came across a sign advertising an exhibition of portraits. What a piece of serendipity, these are colourful joyful and an outstanding collection of portraits.
Sarah Jane Moon is an award winning professional painter based in London, who exhibits and teaches regularly in the UK and abroad. Her portraiture frequently explores identity, sexuality and gender presentation.
Moon’s portraits represent a cross section of contemporary queer LGBTQ+ life and love. Her subjects are often people close to her or whom she admires greatly for their commitment to live authentically and forge ahead in their chosen industry.
Those depicted include writers, landscape designers, doctors, lawyers, artists and more, and together they create a powerful statement on contemporary life lived with pride.
Moon has been gaining increasing attention this year and this solo exhibition follows swiftly on from her inclusion in the prestigious Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition(9th -24th May 2019, Mall Galleries, London and the internationally renowned and highly competitive BP Portrait Award Exhibition (National Portrait Gallery London- Currently touring to Edinburgh and Belfast.)
The subjects in Moon’s earlier portraits are presented in their backgrounds, offices, sitting rooms etc. You get a glimpse of that person’s life, their choice of furnishings, books and their style. The backgrounds in her later portraits are abstract with bold colourful marks, your eyes are drawn to the subject who has been painted, rather than the peripherals of their life.
Last week the RCA opened their doors for the public to view the degree shows. As one would expect it was a mixed bag of styles, standards and end results. It was all fascinating. Here are some of the offerings from students studying in many different disciplines including, print, painting, photography and video, ceramics and glass, and contemporary art practise.
What do you feel is the purpose of art ?
Coming to a show such as this it raises many questions.
Is the purpose of art to hold up a mirror to society?
To open people’s eyes?
To add beauty to a dying world?
To give a new perspective on what exists?
To show skill and craftsmanship?
Here are just a few examples of the work that was on show.
The first artist shown above has developed her practise to show in visual terms what poor mental health looks like. She has made insightful video’s of people on the edge. Her work informs, enlightens and and educates the viewer.
Having lost her partner to a freak accident, and already embarked on her MA, Mirielle’s work explores grief in its various forms and and attempts to to embody a sense of a personal and universal loss. The work considers clouds as feelings and a metaphor for grief.
The work of the artist shown above is about plastic pollution and its environmental impact.
National Portrait Gallery, London 27 June – 15 September 2019
Cindy Sherman’s groundbreaking series,Untitled
Film Stills, 1977-80, is currently on public display for the first time in
the UK, in a major new retrospective of the artist’s work at the National
Portrait Gallery, London. Cindy Sherman, explores the development of her
work from the mid-1970s to the present day. The exhibition features around 180
works from international public and private collections, as well as new work
never before displayed in a public gallery.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading
contemporary artists, Cindy Sherman, (b. 1954), first gained widespread
critical recognition for Untitled Film Stills, the series that she
commenced shortly after moving to New York in 1977. Comprising 70 images, the
work was the artist’s first major artistic statement and defined her approach.
With Sherman herself as model wearing a range of costumes and hairstyles, her
black and white images captured the look of 1950s and 60s Hollywood, film noir,
B movies and European art-house films. Building on that layer of artifice, the
fictional situations she created were photographed in a way that recalls the
conventions of yesterday’s cinema. As a result, each photograph depicts its
subject, namely the artist, refracted through a layer of artifice – a veneer of
It is important to realize this is in no way similar to today’s instagram selfies. Unlike those who post themselves on instagram, wanting to be seen and admired, Sherman uses herself as a blank canvas that is hidden, transfigured and disguised. The exhibition sees all five of Sherman’s Cover Girl series, completed when she was a student in 1976, displayed together for the first time. Other key works are from the artist’s most important series including Rear Screen Projections, Centrefolds, History Portraits, Fairy Tales, Sex Pictures, Masks, Headshots, Clowns and Society Portraits. In a revealing juxtaposition, Ingres’s celebrated portrait of Madame Moitessier has been borrowed especially for the exhibition and is displayed alongside Sherman’s version of that historic painting.
‘Centrefolds’ was a commissioned piece by Art Forum magazine in 1981. It was presumed that Sherman would photograph women laid out for delectation of the male gaze, but instead she showed women as a psychologically frail, and with personality. The work was rejected by Art Forum as it showed an opposite impression to delectability, that of vulnerability.
Cindy Sherman is at once disgusted and fascinated by magazines. Between 1983- 84 she was asked to produce some fashion shots of the clothes of Jean Paul Gaultier so she shot them, on her disguised self, looking fraught, depressed and deranged. The irony is, that the more she attacks the fashion industry the more the fashion houses love her work.
Cindy Sherman focuses on the artist’s manipulation of her own appearance and her deployment of material derived from a range of cultural sources in order to create imaginary portraits that explore the tension between façade and identity. She is famous for her use of make-up, costumes, props and prosthetics to create complex and ambiguous photographic images. A range of source material from the artist’s studio is shown in order to provide unprecedented insights into her working processes. Taking a quotation from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film, Rear Window, which Sherman has cited as an important influence: ‘Tell me everything you saw and what you think it means’ as its central theme, the exhibition examines in detail Sherman’s rich and varied visual language – which draws on cinema, television, advertising and fashion.
Paul Moorhouse, Curator, Cindy Sherman,
says: ‘Cindy Sherman’s art is completely distinctive. By inventing fictitious
characters and photographing herself in imaginary situations, she inhabits a
world of pure appearance. No other artist interrogates the illusions presented
by modern culture in such a penetrating way – or scrutinizes so tellingly the
façades that people adopt. Probing the elusive connection between appearance
and meaning, her work explores contemporary life – and with sharp observation
exposes its deceptions.’
Cindy Sherman is curated by Paul Moorhouse, independent curator and writer,
formerly Senior Curator of 20th Century Portraits and Head of Displays
(Victorian to Contemporary) at the National Portrait Gallery. He is the author
of Cindy Sherman, published by Phaidon in 2014.
Cindy Sherman 27 June – 15 September 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery, London www.npg.org.uk
Tickets without donation: Full price £18, Concessions £16.50
Tickets with donation: Full price £20, Concessions: £18.50
Free for Members and Patrons
Cindy Sherman is sponsored by: Calvin Klein
Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE, opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00
(Gallery closure commences at 17.50) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday:
10.00 – 21.00 (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground:
Leicester Square/Charing Cross General information: 0207 306 0055 Recorded
information: 020 7312 2463 Websitewww.npg.org.uk