I feel in the need for some inspiration having taken a break from blogging over the last month or two in order to help with some big projects, Now I find myself a little removed from any creative ideas…
So over the next couple of weeks I am going to take a closer look at the work of some of my most loved artists.
Hans Op de Beeck (1969, Turnhout) is a Belgian visual artist who lives and works in Brussels. For over twenty years he has exhibiting internationally.
I first viewed his work at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny back in 2014 and was instantly taken by his film making, I love his view of the world and the way he reflects on the passage of time in his videos.
Here is just one such a film : Staging Silence
‘Staging Silence’ is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. The video images themselves are both ridiculous and serious, just like the eclectic mix of pictures in our minds. The decision to film in black and white heightens this ambiguity: the amateurish quality of the video invokes the legacy of slapstick, as well as the insidious suspense and latent derailmentof film noir. The title refers to the staging of such dormant decors where, in the absence of people, the spectator can project himself as the lone protagonist.
Memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialise before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering and improvising hands. Arms appear and disappear at random, manipulating banal objects, scale representations and artificial lighting into alienating yet recognizable locations. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator. The film is accompanied by a score which, inspired by the images themselves, has been composed and performed by composer-musician Serge Lacroix.
Born 6 April 1917
Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England
For me leonara Carrington is one of histories great Artists, Personally and I feel the best female artists of all time(IMO), although correctly she fought all her life again the label of “Female Artist” and just wanted to be call an ARTIST period !
Her work should be much better known and would be so but for a few facts , she was producing art at the same time as some the now best known European artist, who would later become house hold names but also she lived and worked during the Nazi period of European Art theft and art control, because of this she ended up in the end making her home in Mexico in a period when no one took anyone not working in Europe or America seriously.
In 1936, Leonora saw the work of the German surrealist Max Ernst at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London and was attracted to the Surrealist artist before she even met him. In 1937, Carrington met Ernst at a party held in London. The artists bonded and returned together to Paris, where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938, leaving Paris, they settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in southern France.
The new couple collaborated and supported each other’s artistic development. The two artists created sculptures of guardian animals (Ernst created his birds and Carrington created a plaster horse head) to decorate their home in Saint Martin d’Ardèche.
With the outbreak of World War II Ernst, who was German, was arrested by the French authorities for being a “hostile alien”. With the intercession of Paul Éluard, and other friends, including the American journalist Varian Fry, he was discharged a few weeks later. Soon after the Nazis invaded France, Ernst was arrested again, this time by the Gestapo, because his art was considered by the Nazis to be “degenerate”. He managed to escape and, leaving Carrington behind, fled to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, who was a sponsor of the arts.
After Ernst’s arrest, Carrington was devastated and fled to Spain. Paralyzing anxiety and growing delusions culminated in a final breakdown at the British Embassy in Madrid. Her parents intervened and had her hospitalised. She was given “convulsive therapy” and was treated with the drugs cardiazol, a powerful anxiolytic drug (eventually banned by some authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)), and Luminal, a barbiturate. After being released into the care of a nurse who took her to Lisbon, Carrington ran away and sought refuge in the Mexican Embassy. Meanwhile, Ernst had married Peggy Guggenheim in New York in 1941. That marriage ended a few years later. Ernst and Carrington never resumed their relationship.
In 1939, Carrington painted a portrait of Max Ernst, as a tribute to their relationship. The portrait was her first Surrealist work, and it was called The Inn of the Dawn Horse. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The person in the painting is a cross between a male and a female, who is seated in a room with a rocking horse on the wall.
She also painting this portrait with him as the main character ..
Portrait of Max Ernst
Oil on canvas
date created: About 1939
From the very first time I viewed Leonara’s art works I was captivated, her paintings are full of mystery and magical subjects, without falling into more traditional and classical mythological stories.
I found myself wanting to understand more about the fantasy world that her painting capture, a world of hidden meanings, I still don’t fully understand and here in this video she tells us not of over analyses art and just to enjoy living in the moment. However just looking at her creations you know she must have held many stories in her mind, I will keep looking and discovering!
(6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011) was an English-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. Carrington was also a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s.
Looking at many of her painting you can clearly see that her life and work is the source for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, Director: Guillermo del Toro, Writer: Guillermo del Toro , set in the falangist Spain of 1944, about a bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world, the very same kind of fantasy worlds Leonora Carrington imagined and reflected on in her work.
The best surrealist movie of all time 🙂
Leonora Carrington – Imagination is everything !!!
Since I returned to Ireland from a holiday in Germany during November, I have found myself turning to my drawing and painting much more again. This is only natural I feel during the winter months , so far this November and December we have had nearly 200mm of rain here in county Kilkenny, (amazing when you think that this is more than double the about for the entire summer) so its been hard to carry and use a camera as much as in a normal winter.
To help me get inspired and make a start I always find myself looking at my most admired classic painters like John Constable.
To me Constable is one of the most misinterpreted classic artist, mainly due to the fact that today his art work has become Synonymous of twee landscapes used on box’s of chocolates and for jigsaw puzzles. Yet when he was starting his carrier as a painter very few people would take on landscape painting and expect to make a living of any kind. Most of the artists of his day would paint classical works reflecting upon mythical stores or portrait works as commissions for the super-wealthy of his day.
The idea that an artist as good as John Constable was, would spend his time painting open landscapes, farms or rivers made little sense to any of his tutors or his peers, many disowned him for doing so. It is this fact that pulls me so much toward his work, he was one of the first of his kind and cutting edge!, sketching and then painting from life, mostly outside in the surroundings he was painting.
The simple truth is that he was and still is very cutting edge when it come to his abilities to capture people in the landscape, if it were not for the fact he did so and produced so much work, little memory would remain of the places and people he captured.
The Stour 27 September 1810
The Stour is one of the first of his painting I ever looked at and I still love this painting very much today, I love the loose use of the oil paint and brush work, the limited palette of colours but above all the atmosphere he has captured.
Its also painted in the format I love the most, at 23×23 a Square format. Its not easy to compose an image in a square! but I feel that the results can produces a great painting or photo with great concentration on the subjects you want to capture the most.
Painted Between 1808 and 1816 – the year of his marriage to Maria Bicknell – Constable spent most of his summers at East Bergholt, sketching in the fields and the surrounding countryside. From 1810 he began to paint images of the River Stour, and the activities associated with it, particularly in the area near his father’s mill at Flatford. Indeed, the bulk of his subjects during the first half of his career are images of Suffolk. Many of these are rapidly executed, evocative sketches, painted entirely, or substantially in the open air – often depicting transient atmospheric effects.
Constable painted this view outdoors in the vicinity of Flatford Lock at sunset. He cut his canvas to fit into the paint box he carried, and pinned it to the opened lid while painting.
The landscape around the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale had been admired by poets and artists before Constable (Tate 1991, pp. 53–54), but he made the area particularly his own by painting it over and over again. Constable wrote in later years: ‘I associate my “careless boyhood” to all that lies on the banks of the Stour. They made me a painter (& I am gratefull)‘ (Beckett VI, p. 78).
poet William Blake
#11 on top 500 poets
The Angel – Poem by William Blake
I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!
And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart’s delight.
So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.
TTOPOLOGY – Dennis McNulty, at the Carlow Visual arts center – OMG I am so confused about Contemporary art ?
This afternoon I took sometime off and visited the County Carlow , Center for Visual arts, having read a description of an exhibition by the Contemporary artist Dennis McNulty LINK HERE!.
Its about a month since I last visited this Gallery, when I did I came away as so often just a little confused as to just what I had witnessed? the work consisted of a single image of a sunset that did not change for 30mins (maybe the video was frozen?) to the sound of bird song in the background!
The latest Exhibition By Dennis McNulty I am afraid to say just left me with the same head scratching feeling, it was described as follows
03 February – 20 May
TTOPOLOGY, an exhibition of new and retrospective works by Dennis McNulty considers the technologies and systems that have been developed, cast aside, or revised in order to advance our human potential. Coupling technology and art, McNulty explores the fields of science, engineering, built environment, retro technologies and future possibilities. See this link for more details ……
All my life I have been a lover of art , a viewer of many forms of artistic expression, open minded and well able so soak in new ideas – yet I feel it must be many years since a visit to an art exhibition from a currently working artist has produced anything other than a feeling of massive disappointment and total confusion as to the state of modern art.
Personally I feel the time has come for me to stop looking deeper and doing my very best to find that small percentage of good – within the work I take the time to go and see!
I feel its time that the art loving public as a whole start to make it very clear that we are getting sick and a little drawn out with looking at exhibitions that we are just meant to get or at the very least in some way forgive the artist for because at the end of the day, well they art artists aren’t they! and they get something we don’t?.
Fact is however Most people who walk away from a modern art exhibition these days do so with nothing other than confusion if not a little anger, because basically they feel cheated, let down and taken for fools!
I have felt for a long time that currently working modern artists have no interest what so ever in what the viewers of their work think, In fact I wonder just who they are producing their work for? it cannot be for the 99% of the public! I don’t feel that its acceptable any longer to just act as if its the responsibility of the viewing public to get on board or just be dismissed because they don’t get what is at the end of the day trashy, Lazy and ill conceived work!
From my basic understanding of formal art study, artists spend four to five years in an art school taking a degree of some form. During this period the work they produce can be of many kinds and make use of many forms of artistic media, this type of work by itself should not and does not need to be presentable to the public. At the end of each academic year there is usually an end of year show building up-to the final degree show held as a presentation of the students work put forward as their final degree submission.
When you understand these levels that go into passing an art degree, maybe just maybe you can start to understand the kind of work your looking at in some current art exhibitions!
There is also another factor that the viewing art minded public needs to understand and that is that many art tutors in art school are required to hold their own exhibitions each year so that they can show that they are at the very least practicing artists and not just a teacher. Still however these artists work relates in form very closely to the kind of experimental work produced during art school study , basically because these tutors are the very people who are judging their students work!
So here are some questions !
Is the art work that most of the public views in public galleries these days, no more than art school/student level and experimental level work and not the work of professional artists would have not only passed an art course of some kind but also spent many years building on their art study to become a professional artist and with an understanding of the real world?
If this is the case, then would it be fair to say that the confusion around modern art is that we are just not being told about the level at which the artists involved in some if not most of the exhibitions we see, site in their level and progression of work ?
My own feelings are that, the current type of modern art works that I view in most of the exhibitions I take time to go and see, is for me personally for whatever reason basically lazy, fuzzy, repetitive and unacceptable ( well under worked, not over worked for sure!) IMO!. I feel that Modern art finds itself in a position where it is being produced for other reasons than for my pleasure as a viewer of it! I also wonder if the formal art world is not just feading on itself until there is basically nothing left and the bottle is empty!
Will I keep going to art exhibitions, Hell yes! just in the hope that one day I get to see something that I truly do understand and end up walking out of the door once again with a smile on my face !
If Dennis McNulty ever reads this post, not likely ! I have respect that your putting your work out there , its just not for ME!!!
Gallery of an exhibition.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
A look at : Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Her most popular poem, Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s “Solitude” is about the relationship between the individual and the outside world. The poem is built on a series of contrasting conditions: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you;/Weep and you weep alone.” At first, the words may seem like a guide advising the reader to maintain a positive attitude. It becomes clear, however, that the poem is more complex than that, operating as a road map for the difficult realities of life. At the core of Wilcox’s philosophy is a belief that we all exist in a state of solitude. Wilcox wrote this poem after encountering a grieving woman on her way to Madison, Wisconsin. Despite her efforts, Wilcox was not able to comfort the woman over her loss. Distraught, Wilcox returned to her hotel and after looking at her own lonely face in the mirror, began to write this poem. The context of the poem suggests that what follows is not a parade of moral platitudes but a series of choices. If you laugh, sing, rejoice, or feast, the world will be drawn to you. If you weep, sigh, fast, or grieve, the world will abandon you. After all, in the end, “one by one we must all file on.” The poem is neither an anthem of positive thinking nor a dour account of existential loneliness. It is an invitation to move through the world with practicality and self-reliance.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919)
I felt this poem by Andrew Voigt matched this great location on the yorkshire moors very well !
Here I Am Still Breathing
A Poem For The Brokenhearted
The night is dark and I’m alone
Searching for a place called home
Silence rings within my ears
Fear and pain flood my tears
Hope feels far, isolation nears
What if God isn’t really there?
Well, maybe I simply fail at dreams
A hollow chord with broken strings
Stars go black, night turns grey
Light is gone, far from day
Will the sun rise once again?
A distant dream, a long-lost friend?
Maybe I simply can’t understand
A single word of this master plan
It hurts like hell, my spirit screams
Life in the land of broken dreams
I sit back down to concentrate
Reminded of the things I hate
Depression, fear, regrets of time
Desiring just to press rewind
Yet, here I am still breathing
This heartbeat song unending
This life is still worth living
This life is still worth living
I pick myself up off the floor
Remnants of the mask I’ve worn
Face the mirror while it stares back
Accepting all the things I lack
Reflections often mirror shame
Yet, tonight they simply aren’t the same
Within the tears upon my face
A light reflects in a darkened space
Could it be the day awakes?
The winter gone, new hopes to chase?
Well, maybe I’m just seeing things
Like a blind man lost in the midnight sea
But what if hope still remains?
And what if love is not in vain?
Could there be a God of love?
Who walked this earth and gave his blood?
My head is spinning within these thoughts
Could God really care for souls so lost?
We turned our backs and swore His name
Yet, still He loves us in our shame
Yes, here I am still breathing
This heartbeat song unending
This life is still worth living
This life is still worth living
Andrew Voigt is a writer and blogger discussing thoughts on God, dreams, and brokenness. He has served as a contributing writer for publications such as Patheos, Fathom Magazine, and Kingdom Spark. Andrew holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from Liberty University and lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and orange cat named Pumpkin.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí 1951, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
At the start of May this year (2017) I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgowm, there are many great works of art there, including a full collection of works by the Glasgow boys group of artists, I will share some of their paintings very soon.
One of the most famous works of art in the Gallery is “Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí painted in 1951”, the painting has its own viewing room with subdued lighting and a set of seats, so you can spend sometime viewing this amazing work of art by Dali. It was while in this room that I captured the above image of the painting.
There is something deep and spiritually moving about this painting even if your not a believer in its subject matter.
Here are some details :
Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns, because, according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle evident in the painting was revealed to him.
The painting is known as the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the “three” but in the four, merry they be.
On the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained its inspiration: “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!”
In order to create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle  and also envisage the pull of gravity on the human body. The depicted body of water is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí’s residence at the time of the painting.
The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s by Tom Honeyman, then the Director of Glasgow Museums. Honeyman bought the painting for £8,200, a price considered high at the time although it was less than the £12,000 catalogue price, and included the copyright, which has earned Glasgow Museums back the original cost many times over.
The purchase was controversial and a petition against it, arguing that the money should be spent on exhibition space for local artists, was presented to the City Council by students at Glasgow School of Art. The controversy caused Honeyman and Dalí to become friends, corresponding with each other for many years after the original acquisition.
The painting first went on display at the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on 23 June 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands. It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display. In 1993, the painting was moved to the city’s St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but returned to Kelvingrove for its reopening in July 2006. It won a poll to decide Scotland’s favourite painting in 2006, with 29% of the vote.
It is said that the Spanish government offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting.
This painting has continued to generate controversy. At the time of its purchase by Honeyman, the verdict by Modern Art critics was that producing such a traditional painting was a stunt by an artist already famous for his surrealist art. In 2009 The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as “kitsch and lurid,” but noted that the painting was “for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century.”
In May 2013, in BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives, British poet John Cooper Clarke described this image as being utterly different from any other image of the crucifixion, as the angle of view conveys the hanging pain of this method of execution, whilst hiding the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen in such depictions.
Last weeks Holiday in Yorkshire was at times a true step back in time, as you can see here with the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and our visit to Howarth, in the heart of Brontë Country we enjoyed an action packed first day out!
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway runs like a ribbon though Brontë Country, where you can expect to take in some of the most breath taking and famous landscapes in the world. A windswept land of heather and wild moors – it is hardly surprising that this area became the inspiration for the classic works of the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
The Railway has appeared in many TV and film productions including Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Where The Heart Is, A Touch Of Frost and many more. Perhaps most famously, the Railway, and in particular the charming station at Oakworth, were used as the location for the classic 1970 film The Railway Children.
If you get off the Train at Ingrow West station, you will be at the home to two award winning transport museums. You can Travel back in time at the The Ingrow Museum of Rail Travel, where restored carriages, vintage artifacts and sound and video presentations bring the past to life. The Ingrow Loco Museum boasts several locomotives as well as displays, exhibits and archive film. Both these location allow you to discover the long history that the UK has with its rail systems.
There are many special events that run throughout the year. You can get a Cream Tea . The old train lets discover the magic and glamour of the glorious days of steam-hauled, in beautiful surroundings. You can also join an annual Beer & Music Festival with over 120 real ales.
For those that like the great outdoors the railway has plenty of spectacular walks and nature trails. Every stop offers a walk, whether it’s a moorland walk or one of The Railway Children walks – you can try the Top Withens Walk, which takes you out of Haworth, the village where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote, along pathways they walked and through the moorland that inspired them.
At the start of April this year I promised myself that I would go and visit some Art Gallery’s and cultural museums one of these vists was to The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The museum and art gallery in located in Glasgow, Scotland. It reopened in 2006 after a three-year refurbishment and since then has been one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions.
The gallery is located on Argyle Street, in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin (opposite the architecturally similar Kelvin Hall, which was built in matching style in the 1920s, after the previous hall had been destroyed by fire). It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.
Floating Heads Installation by Sophie Cave
Just one of the many installations the Gallery has to offer is by Artist Sophie Cave …
If you Ever had that feeling that a hundred set of eyes are watching you then Sophie Cave sculptures turn the feeling into a reality!
The Floating Heads installation located in one of the open public areas in the Gallery, literally turn your head around the moment you first see this work. Sophie Cave has created over 50 sculptures of heads, each displaying different emotions including laughter and despair. The heads are completely white, but are lit so that their expressions are accentuated, which gives the installation a somewhat eerie feel. Since the installation is hung over the foyer, it is one of the first things youwill see when they enter the museum.
Its a great installation as it truly makes you stop and look at each of the heads as they slowly move around to face your direction, I relay enjoyed this work 🙂 🙂
Kelvingrove, Art Gallery, Glasgow