Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Saturday, September 13, 2014

London Journal 4: National Portrait Gallery and Saatchi

Portrait painting is more than alive and well in the UK, it is blooming.We viewed the BP Portrait Awards 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery now in its 25 year and showing 50 of the best and brightest.  Thomas Ganter was the over all winner and the golden glow of the negative space in the fence really makes you think of a saint..and maybe homeless men are rather like saints in our society. Hopefully Mr. Ganter is himself glowing with the
£30,000 prize money. 

Seeing these portraits in real life is much more impressive than viewing them online. Large images that look like photographs are actually oil on canvas.

Ganter says, ‘After being in a museum, I saw a homeless man and was stunned by a similarity: the clothes, the pose, and other details resembled what I just saw in various paintings. However, this time I was looking at a homeless person wrapped in a blanket. By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative or dependent on socio-economic status’.
Edward Sutcliffe with Li Wu Da, This is a portrait of the forger John Myatt and the small upside down is a commissioned duplicate by Li Wu Da.
Tanya Wischerath
Patrik Graham,
Anna Wypych
Sticking with our theme of FOOD: This is a portrait of Henrietta Graham by her husband Tim Hall, working on a series of portraits of chefs in Great Britain and one of those painting below also got into the show:
 James Martin by Henrietta Graham
Fergus Henderson another chef by Paul Benney
Maria Carbonell
We also viewed the exhibition about the life of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group including her sister Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Remember this is a portrait museum so they told her life in portraits.I especially liked these two following images as you can imagine them painting her at the same time as the hair and clothing is the same. A trip to the National Portrait Gallery which has a huge historical collections, always reminds me that real people make up our history, not just stories of their deeds, but people who choose how to dress and who to choose to portray them and who reveal themselves in so many ways pictorially. This particular show has inspired me to read Orlando, based on the love affair of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West. Virginia Woolf had terrible depressions and eventually in her mid 60's took her own life, leaving her walking cane by the side of a river and two notes, one for Leonard her husband and one for Vanessa, telling them how much you loved them and how she could not bare to impose her illness on them any longer. It appears that her circle of friends including Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, was not able to prevent this tragic end. 

Virgina Woolf by Vanessa Bell
Virginia Woolf by Duncan Grant
A fun shot of a busker in front of the galley in Trafalgar Square
Lovely lanterns in China town where we had lunch

This is the sheep which is the symbol for Brooks Brothers. The sheep you see in the window on Regents Street is made up of hundred of models of the sheep

Here is a close up of part of the leg of the sheep
Yes, we are cooking and here is my beet, goats cheese and white anchovy salad with tomato

Pork pate with mushrooms, wensleydale  cheese with cranberries, white anchovies, apple and the most lovely crackers amazingly enough from our local Tesco

The house if full of leftovers from restaurants when we got doggie bags and this rice and duck tastes great with some black pig sausages we got at the market last Sunday
Pangaea: New Art From Africa and latine America at the Saatchi Galleries

Pangaea or Pangea was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It existed approximately 300 million years ago when the continents of Africa and South America were joined together. What we see in this exhibition is works by artists from both continents and although the connection is slim, the show is strong.

The Saatchi Gallery space in Chelsea is large and the works are always very well displayed, never crowded and dramatically lit when called for. Moreover there is no fee to enter, the gift shop is clever and as you will see below there is a good cafe attached.  But the really impressive thing about Saatchi is how they have grown their online presence. They offer free websites to thousands of artists. When you subscribe to their newsletter, they dive into that resource and you get news of one of their featured artists and sometimes a theme  is explored and a special selection of works is chosen that fit the theme. The newest service is a free consultancy for anyone who wants help buying a work of art. Now remember, the works in the museum are not for sale, this is not a private sales gallery. So this is just a way they have discovered to help artists by using the Internet. I have been watching them develop the site since they closed their last space at City Hall and starting re-inventing this impressive new space. I think that what Saatchi has done is not only a gift to the city of London but a wonderful service for artists all over the world. I would like to see published statistics on how many sales they have engineered online and if this is really a way forward for the visual arts.  I know that the start of the museum certainly helped raise the status and thus price/value of Saatchi private held collection. But now it seems to have morphed into a social experiment as well. 

Rafael Gómezbarros - can creepy also be fascinating, yes indeed. Look close and the bodies are resin and the legs are twigs held on by hemp wrappings.

Casa Tomada
Rafael Gómezbarros - Born in 1972, Santa Marta, Colombia
Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia
Ibrahim Mahama - This huge room, it must be about 30 feet high, is completely covered in burlap, roughly sew and patched.

Ibrahim Mahama - Born in 1987, Tamale, Ghana
Lives and works in Tamale, Ghana

Boris Nzebo - Born in 1979, Port-Gentil, Gabon
Lives and works in Douala, Cameroon

Jose Lerma -
Born in 1971, Seville, Spain
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL

I was attracted to both these works because of the unusual non-hanging device. They are set on top of common object and resting on the floor and leaning against the wall.

Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou  - Born in 1965, Porto-Novo, Benin
Lives and works in Porto-Novo,Benin. Modern nudes wearing African wood carved Masks

Vincent Michea  - Born in 1963, Figeac, France
Lives and works in Paris and Dakar 

Vincent Michea - I just couldn't resist these cool retro images

Departures: Xavier Mascaró

This flotilla of metal and boats with canvas sails reminds you of a packed harbor in Asia


Close up of a the couple below

close up of the line of deities in the front patio

The restaurant at Saatchi is called the Gallery Mess short for Messhall as this was previously the barracks for the pensioners from the world wars. The interior arch has this fun neon art work

Service was slow but the food was first class, we had a wild mushroom risotto and a cabbage slaw with a fantastically flavor filled Parmesan on top. This chocolate tart with well placed raspberries was a song on your tongue

Fashion weeks starts Friday and Selfridges was prepared with this giant sculpture in front of the usual clock over the entrance. We found the store less improved than I had hoped since I was watching the PBS drama about the store before we came over and expected a more innovative make over by the Canadians that purchased it. We couldn't find anything to buy at all and even the decor seems quite ordinary so don't rush over to Oxford Street expecting anything special.

Dinner at the Red Pepper was a delight as all of the suggestions have been from our hostess Lesley. We had a marvelous fresh tuna with papardelle noodles and a delicious tomato and onion salad and tiramisu for dessert. If that sounds like a lot don't worry, we split it and it was the only meal today as I slept until 3 pm. Jet lag is not quite over and we have been burning the candle at both ends. Tom Sergott told me about a restaurant that we are trying to book called Story where the candles are made from tallow so the dripping can be eaten!

Those pale lumps are actually fresh tuna that was lovely and pink inside and the thing that looks like an eyelash is the fern from fennel.
Charles III - the play about the man who will be king. This play imagines Queen Elizabeth’s funeral; Diana, Princess of Wales, as a ghost;  Prince Harry running off with a grungy art student he meets at the London nightclub; and a tank parked outside the palace as Charles becomes paranoid and power obsessed. It is a very very clever play, extremely well acted with the dialogue in classic Shakespeare's sonnet form of iambic pentameter adding a delightful sophistication. The pivotal controversy was freedom of speech, and politics was prevalent with the prime minister and head of the opposition, but you did not need to be English to enjoy this, only aware of various allusions to the history of Charles, Diana, Camilla, William, Kate, and Harry. We all recommend this as it was funny but brought up issues of the responsibility of monarchy. 

We are all anxiously awaiting the results of the referendum of independence for Scotland. Darwin and I will be traveling up north the day after the vote and hope to give you some first hand reactions.

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