Nestling amongst the skyscrapers of the City and within the distance of a First Thursday Art Walk from the renowned Whitechapel Gallery, the Leyden Gallery is hosting a show by Nude for Thought, a group of artists specialising in the male form.
This year’s show “re: Defining beauty” features a thought-provoking and wide range of styles. Jon Armour’s striking pieces dominate the entrance floor, he represents the painted skin of a male body displayed both splayed flat as a pelt and explored on video while still three dimensional, which he terms the enjoyment of a Visio-haptic experience. It’s worthwhile trying to work out exactly what body parts are being explored!
Counting cranes in the City of London from the vantage point of the café at the sixth floor of Tate Modern at Bankside, South London. We’d enjoyed a brief visit to the Pop Art exhibitions featuring works by Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Liechtenstein, dating from the sixties.
It is the detail and scale which is large part of the joy of the direct viewing experience when viewing the original artwork of familiar images: the unexpected huge size of the canvas of Liechtenstein’s “Wham”, the detailed differences between instances of Warhol’s “Marilyn” screen prints and the way Hockney in "Man in Shower in Beverly Hills 1964" melds elements of a Californian residence with a post-cubist disregard for literal scale and relationships.
For the record, Jim and I lost count at thirty crane jibs...
Wildlife photographer Simone Sbaraglia gave a fascinating talk illustrated with many of his memorable, intimate, photos to a joint meeting of City of London and Cripplegate Photographic Society and RPS London.
Moving on from long distance photography using telephoto lenses, Simone has learnt to get close to the animals and, through patience, become accepted as part of their groups. This technique has yielded a succession of award-winning photographs in an intimate style akin to human portraiture where he has brought back in the image his emotional connection with the animals. The animals are letting him make the photograph. His training as a mathematician has informed another string of stylish animal photos which reveal much beauty, symmetry and tenderness, from which a human viewer implies emotion. His photos of Japanese cranes (tsuru) displaying on the ice are particularly memorable.
“The Strength of Art” is a solo exhibition of work by Arcangel Soul from Barcelona. A dozen paintings displayed horizontally at the Bhavan Centre, West Kensington, London. Each piece is 2m x 2m acrylic on solid wood. No particular titles offered but talking with the artist after his presentation suggested that the inspiration of each piece derived from a close experience with the natural world. The volcano on the Canary Island of Lazarote inspired the piece dominated by reds and oranges whilst the Atlantic inspired the piece in turquoise and deep blue. Arcangel Soul is also a biker, having customised several choppers; he tells me he currently rides a BMW retro motorcycle.
Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age
Barbican Art Gallery
A comprehensive survey of photographs of buildings starting with a selection of Berenice Abbott’s dramatic photographs of a dynamic New York City and moving through to near-contemporary photographs of construction in China and destruction in Iraq; finally, celebratory, hopeful pictures of humans living despite architecture in Caracas, Venezuela.
These are largely the photographs the architects want us to see, photographs which communicate the vision. So we see Le Corbusier's work through the lens of his preferred photographer, Lucien Hervé. Viewed as a group from afar, these high contrast prints are reduced to records of the implementation of the design concept rather than dwelling places for real people.