Thursday, 18 January 2018

Diamonds in the Rough

Cathy Lomax hunts for treasure at the London Art Fair 2018

Anna Katrina Zinkeisen, The Dark Lady, 1938, oil on canvas, 
Nottingham City Museum and Galleries

As always the London Art Fair is a mixed bag. Star of the show is the not-for-sale Art UK exhibit where five art stalwarts; Sonia Boyce, Haroon Mirza, Oscar Murillo and Rose Wylie, have each selected work from UK regional collections. This means that an eclectic group of works, that I imagine have been stashed in cupboards in small provincial museums, have their five minutes in the 2018 limelight. Rose Wylie’s choices include Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid’s In Spinster’s Salt Collection. While Haroon Mirza has used an algorithm to make his selection, thereby subverting the very idea of the elitist notion of selecting itself, and has maybe turned up with my favourite painting of the bunch, Anna Katrina Zinkeisen’s The Dark Lady.

Lubaina Himid, In Spinster’s Salt Collection, 1989, 
New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Sex and Work at Frieze 2017

Cathy Lomax digests a female-centric Frieze art fair.

Mamma Anderson, Side by Side, 2017 at David Zwirner

Many contemporary artists (whose work is not included) scream in horror and put their heads in the sand during Frieze week in London. Of course the entrance price is enough to dissuade many from visiting, but if you can cadge a ticket, Frieze really should be a must-see. Sure it can be distasteful with restaurant tables of be-suited ‘wealth management’ types (the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge actually existed at this year’s Frieze) and designer dressed, super-rich roaming the aisles sporting their plastic surgery experiments. But these are the people (or collectors as we prefer to call them) who finance art – maybe their taste is questionable, but surely its best to know who they are and in my experience there are very few artists (and even fewer galleries) who check the ethical credentials of their buyers before taking their cash.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Face2Face In The Dining Room

Torquay's historic Torre Abbey hosts Face2Face an exhibition of contemporary portraits. The newcomers, who are keeping company with the likes of Admiral Nelson and King George III, are causing a bit of a ruckus.

Richard Billingham, Untitled (RAL 49), 1995
Sarah Lucas, Eating A Banana from self portrait series, 1990-98

Torre Abbey sits on the seafront with the air of a country house, an historical document in stone with new additions of brick and glass. The permanent collection within befits the building and Face2Face, an exhibition of portraits curated by the Arts Council, has been introduced to converse with the masters. It is the type of show I like, old paintings alongside the new in an historical setting.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Garageland visits the Venice Biennale

Kirsty Buchanan acts as Garageland tour guide for this year's Venice Biennale, where she trembles at the Irish pavilion and joins a whale hunt in the arsenale. 

Huguette Caland's sensual line drawings and wearable dresses

This year the theme of the Biennale was VIVA ARTE VIVA a title which excited me with its bold and simple exclamation. 

In the Arsenale there seemed to be a focus on earth conscious, hippy world art such as Bonnie Ora Sherk’s work about the Crossroads Community or Ilana Halperin’s video documentation of what appeared to be a forest community of women holding hands in a circle. I particularly enjoyed these video works as they had a nostalgic feel to them.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

All The World's Females

With the 2017 Venice Biennale soon to kick off, Garageland's Kirsty Buchanan looks back on what we learned from the last one.

Martial Raysse, Makeup, 1962 at Palazzo Grassi

The theme of The 56th International Venice Art Exhibition, situated at the Giardini and Arsenale, curated by Okwui Enwezor was All the World’s Futures. In the expansive labyrinth of the Arsenale, one couldn’t help having an immense sense of misery. Heightened by the contrast between the high bright sun outside it felt prison-like almost apocalyptic. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Imagining Emma Hamilton

Arlene Leis talks to Dr Amber Ludwig Otero about the self-made, seductive celebrity that was Lady Emma Hamilton

George Romney, Head Study of Emma Hamilton as Miranda,
@ The Jean Kislak Collection

During her lifetime, Emma Hamilton (1765-1815) was considered one of the world’s great beauties. Men were fascinated by her charm and good looks, and throughout her lifetime, she formed several important, romantic attachments with prominent men, including Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh, George Romney, Charles Francis Greville, Sir William Hamilton and Horatio Nelson. These alliances helped establish her position in various social circles, in London and on the Continent, but they also caused her downfall. While her life echoes the typical rags to aristocracy tale and the artist Elisabeth Louise VigĂ©e Le Brun, once claimed that ‘The Life of Lady Hamilton reads like a romantic fiction,’ she was never fully accepted into London society. Emma’s own tragic end - debt, prison and death in Calais at 49 - reaffirms her reliance on the men in her life, and it also reveals the restrictions placed on women. Women could use their beauty to create new opportunities and careers, and in some cases even influence governance, but they were still chastised. 

I spoke with Emma Hamilton scholar Dr Amber Ludwig Otero about the exhibition Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Elizabeth Price Curates: In A Dream You Saw A Way To Survive And You Were Full Of Joy

"I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. We do not remember. We rewrite memory much as history is rewritten. How can one remember thirst?" Chris Marker

Price says that in curating this exhibition she wanted to bring together objects that will give us a sense of the  social politics of today. The main gallery spaces of The Whitworth are divided into Sleeping, Working, Mourning and Dancing. I approached these rooms with a random wandering on my first walk around and then in a more ordered fashion on subsequent viewings but I don't think it really matters, few of the works are ambiguous in their category.