Wednesday 30 April 2014

South London Gallery

Passed a pleasant hour or two at the South London Gallery recently.   I called in initially to have lunch at No 67, their cafe/restaurant.  It was extremely good and I only wished I'd had room for the delicious looking cakes as well.  Their current exhibition is Welcome to Iraq which was very interesting.  I particularly appreciated the imaginative recycled seating by Akeel Khreef ...

Akeel Khreef - Woollen rug on metal generator frame
Akeel Khreef - Bicycle parts
Seat detail - from tyres

Kadhim Nwir's untitled paintings were colourful, quite abstract and the use of some text and numbers gave them a graffiti like quality.

Kadhim Nwir - Untitled

Furat al Jamil's Honey Pot sculpture shows honeycomb frames dripping into a broken pot.  This is supposed to convey sweet melancholy combining the sadness she feels for her homeland but also hope for the future.

Furat al Jamil - Honey Pot

The Welcome to Iraq exhibition, which includes lots more, is on until 1 June 2014.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Sensing Spaces - Architecture Reimagined at the Royal Academy

Alvaro Siza in the RA Courtyard

I was lucky enough to get along to the Sensing Spaces exhibition at the RA before it closed.  I wasn't quite sure whether I was going to like it but actually it was hugely enjoyable!  This seemed to me to be about experiencing architecture in a very direct way through the use of light, sound, smell, touch, structure, movement and participation.  Seven architects from around the world were involved.  

Alvaro Siza (Portugal) was represented in the entrance courtyard with columns reflecting the columns on the building.  

Inside Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal) had made casts of two of the archways between the galleries drawing your attention to the differences between them which otherwise might have gone unnoticed. 
Eduardo Souto de Moura's Cast Arch

Eduardo Souto de Moura's Other Cast Arch

Grafton Architects (Ireland) played with light and the contrast between light and dark. 
Grafton Architects from Light


to Dark

Kengo Kuma (Japan) used light and smell in his installation - not so effective for me as I don't have a very good sense of smell.  
Kengo Kuma - Light & Smell

Construction detail

Diebedo Francis Kere (Burkina Faso & Germany) brought colour to the proceedings and an active chance to participate and colour the surroundings while moving through his tunnel.  His was the most crowded part of the exhibition when I was there and the exhibit where people spent the most time as they made their contribution to the piece.  

Diebedo Francis Kere - Outside of Tunnel
Tunnel View
Add your own colour and detail

Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile) had constructed an interesting tower accessed via winding staircases or a ramp and from which you could peer out from spyholes at different heights.  This looked the most monumental in structure.  An unexpected benefit was that you could also see the RA's decorative features up close.
Pezo von Ellrichshausen - Tower

Winding staircases emerge at the top of the tower
Tower gives close up views of RA decoration

Finally my favourite was Li Xiaodong (China) who brought a sense of the outside in (wooden walls), added sound (crunching pebbles), space (mirrored wall), light (walkways lit from below) and surprising spaces and lots of texture. 

Li Xiaodong - Wooden passages lit from below

Hidden spaces
Mirrored room - adding space with a mirrored wall + sound with pebbles underfoot
 It was a great exhibition!

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Rachel Lombard - Contemporary Stitched Textile Art

Embroidered Mirror - Rachel Lombard

Rachel Lombard was another of our speakers at the City of York Embroiderers' Guild. Rachel is a textile artist & designer based in the North East.  She believes that everyone has an innate creativity and that part of yourself comes out in your work.  Rachel stresses the importance of choosing a theme, then developing your ideas through to a finished piece rather than starting with the idea of a finished piece.  Her works make extensive use of paper, print together with hand and machine stitched surfaces.  She has written How to Be Creative in Textile Art with Julia Triston and they have another book, Contemporary Appliqué due out later this year.

Take a look at some of the great work she brought along to share with us ...

Embroidered Mirror - Rachel Lombard
Artist's Book - Rachel Lombard

Embroidered Boxes - Rachel Lombard
Embroidered Panels - Rachel Lombard