Last week I ventured to the Tate to see their new exhibition, ‘All Too Human’, looking forwards to seeing uncomfortably realistic Freud and soul-sucking, nihilistic Bacon. I also discovered a new artist, who has certainly struck a chord with me… I even bought a postcard. Christ, his work must be good.
The work of Michael Andrews (1928-1995) certainly held my gaze the longest, captured both by the subject matter and his beautiful, ethereal painting style. In ‘Melanie and Me Swimming’ (1978-9) the acrylic paint saturates the canvas; the dark, cool water had seeped into the painting, pooling around the figures. It’s a snapshot of human interaction, a fleeting event that may not seem significant.
With ‘The Deer Park’, Andrews uses luminous washes of colour, muted shades of violet and green. An exclusive club inhabited for eternity by ghostly figures, whispered rumours, illicit dalliances and too much champagne. There is something very Twin Peaks about this… Andrews used photographs of celebrities for inspiration – can you spot Marilyn Monroe?
Cheerful, mesmeric – and a little bit like a much needed hug.
I visited Tate Modern’s Calder exhibition for the second time last week – after the first viewing, it was blatantly apparent that I would have to come back. The exhibition has something of a hold on me – similar to the magnetic pull of Rothko’s awe-inspiring Seagram Murals (that room is one of my favourite places in London. Coincidentally, did you know that Mark Rothko was found dead the very same day those paintings reached the Tate Modern?)
But back on track. Calder is an artist I knew little about – mobiles, he is the guy who invented the mobile.This exhibition leads you through his developing practice; as an artist it’s so reassuring to find clear experimentation and progression. In my book, a good art exhibition is one you can fall into, appreciate without shuffling around, your nose in a leaflet or squinting at little labels. Calder was consuming from the start, with his little wire drawings of circus folk and animals; so deceptively simplistic, three-dimensional sculpted in the air – charming and witty.