Museum Week: Behind The Art

This post is published on the UCL Art Museum blog

Under Milk Wood by Paula Rego 1956, oil on canvas

Under Milk Wood by Paula Rego 1956, oil on canvas

It’s Museum Week, which is proving to be a brilliant opportunity to get to know new galleries, explore a museum’s history and join in with celebrating the wonderful work that museums do – not to mention the art they have and the imaginative spaces they create!

There has been a different theme each day – and today it’s ‘Behind The Art’. Here at UCL Art Museum we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover some of the many female artists that studied at The Slade next door and whose work is part of the UCL Art Museum collections. We’re thinking Gwen John, Winifred Knights and Paula Rego.  Continue reading

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Late Turner: Painting Set Free

This article is published in Trebuchet magazine. I wrote it after attending the Tate’s Press launch at the Athenaeum Club, London. 

‘Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus’ exhibited 1839. Oil paint on canvas support: 914 x 1219

‘Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus’ exhibited 1839. Oil paint on canvas support: 914 x 1219. Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Turner. An artist that has inspired or angered many art historians, critics, journalists and art lovers from his day to ours. An artist who prompts firm and possessive statements about his life and work. Opinions of his character, art and styles rage – and range – radically. It is, then, a big deal that Tate Britain has decided to present a major exhibition on Turner, a new Turner.

One of the aims of this exhibition will be to dismantle the myths that still perpetuate around Turner today. Thus, the exhibition is appropriately entitled Late Turner: Painting Set Free. In light of this, the joy of this artist is that he inspires so much intrigue and the possibility for his art to be re-thought and re-investigated. He will never get old.  Continue reading

Ruin Lust: Tate Britain

Published in Trebuchet Magazine

A short title for many art exhibitions these days and yet one that promises, or is suggestive of, so much. Notions of desire and aesthetic pleasure immediately come to mind, offering up an exploration into different types of desire in the themes and subjects of the work displayed. Perhaps less obviously, ‘Ruin Lust’ also directly references the book by Rose Macaulay called ‘Pleasure of Ruins’ from 1953, which looks at the nostalgic pleasures of monuments and ruins of civilisation across different periods and cultures.

Not having been to a Press View of an exhibition before, I was eager to see how the journalists would ‘make’ something out of ruins, how they physically go about constructing stories – and mapping histories – out the wreckage of a past presented in specific, and often political, contexts. This idea of creation out of destruction is, of course, one of the prominent themes of the exhibition itself. An important part of this aesthetic and potentially political idea is the notion that ruins can point towards futures, potentials, opportunities and constructions of the new, as well as to endings, such as the end of Empire (a particular trope for which ruins were used in the 18th and 19th centuries), failures and even degeneration. In this way, ‘Ruin Lust’ aims to include investigations of both obvious and more surprising ways in which ruins have been used from the 16th century onwards. It is both a serious and humorous project. This sense of duality is something the exhibition cultivates in terms of themes, artists and curatorial decisions of presentation.  Continue reading

Reflections on Time-Based Media Exhibition at UCL Art Museum

Published on UCL Art Museum blog website

Exhibition open 1 – 5pm Monday to Friday, until Friday 28th March

I am unique and so is everyone else (video still)This exhibition gathers together some of the most prolific time-based work from UCL Art Museum’s growing collection, which centre around the dependence upon and manipulation of technology with respect to time. The artists exhibiting are graduates from the Slade School and have each been awarded the annual William Coldstream Memorial Prize that selects outstanding achievements over the whole academic year. This accounts for the diverse collections of artwork on display, illustrating the eclectic variety of contemporary time-based media works.

It is a refreshing and new type of exhibition for the UCL Art Museum, completely immersed in technology, conceptual installations and time-based media techniques. You will be greeted by many television screens that allow for a sense of unity to the works and for you to make comparisons between the way some of the themes are expressed. The screens are also placed with enough distance for each piece to be absorbed in contemplative isolation. Intriguing sounds also drift around the gallery, enticing you to follow your senses and discover and explore their source.  Continue reading