Thursday 16 May 2013

Walker Art Gallery - new acquisitions

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, new acquisitions.

In the Comfort of the Bonnet
Paula Rego, In the Comfort of the Bonnet, 1935 (lithograph)
This image of Jane Eyre is part of  the 'A Sensuality of the Stone' series. Rego makes Jane Eyre look like a middle aged queen Victoria in mourning dress with an aged face and slumped posture. The bonnet cradles her head making her appear downcast. The scene probably represents her dejection towards the end of the novel when she discovers that she cannot marry Rochester. Rego says: 'the only comfort she can get is from the bonnet because Rochester is not particularly nice to her'.
Artwork by Paula Rego: 'School Room'
Paula Rego, Schoolroom, 2001-2002
One of the first images from the series 'A Sensuality of the Stone'. The print is based on Jane Eyre, relating to the beginning of the novel where the orphan Jane is subjected to the cruelties of the Lowood charity school. The scene reveals some of the horrors of  a Victorian school room. On the left a teacher whips a pupil. A grim, hunched man on the right, probably Mr Brocklehurst looms over a tiny girl. There are no books in the room, and the pupils, are, as she says, 'bored'.
Paula Rego, Abortion Series Set of 8 Etchings Untitled VII

Paula Rego, The Abortion Series, Untitled VII, 1999
In in 1998 Portugal held a referendum on the legislation of abortion. By a tiny margin the country voted against legislation except in cases of rape, danger to the woman's health or danger of foetal abnormality. This inspired Rego to create a series of etchings of women undergoing backstreet abortions. The laws have since changed. Women are permitted to have terminations within the first 10 months of pregnancy.
Paula Rego, Abortion Series Set of 8 Etchings Untitled I
Paula Rego, The Abortion Series, Untitled I, 1999

A painter and printmaker, Rego is one of Britain's foremost artists and a staunch feminist. Born in Portugal, she was raised under the repressive dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. She left to study at the Slade School of Art in 1952. She has lived and worked in London since 1963.
Paula Rego, Abortion Series Set of 8 Etchings Untitled VIII
Paula Rego, The Abortion Series, Untitled VIII, 1999
Louise Bourgeois, Ears, 2005

Through twelve minutely different images of her own ear, this print reveals Bourgeois' interest in the examination and expression of the 'self'. For Bourgeois the ear symbolises her desire to understand others and her need not to be isolated. The print uses an unusual combination of techniques and materials to fuse fine and decorative art. She has printed the images onto a piece of fabric and each ear contains a punched-out hole, individually sewn like a button hole. The cloth is a piece from her wedding trousseau which included all the linen and clothing she would need to start her married life. The work is perhaps intended to include the early and late stages of the artist's career.

 Anish Kapoor, Red in the Centre, 1982 (bonded earth, polystyrene, oil glaze and pigment)


Harvey Quaytman, The Sport of Kings, 1987 
Inspired by Malevich and Mondrian, Quaytman was interested in the formal qualities of painting like shape, texture, colour and composition. The cross in this painting is not symbolic: he saw the cross as the logical product of overlapping lines of squares and rectangles.

 Yoko Ono, Liverpool Skyladders, 2008

Liverpool Skyladders featured in 2008 Liverpool Biennial. It was shown outdoors in the bombed-out remains of St Luke's church. The ladders were donated by members of the public. The piece grew as they arrived. Each ladder has a handwritten note and message from its contributor. Liverpool Skyladders derives from Sky Event, a 2008 performance artwork Ono dedicated to John Lennon: 'the ladder takes you a bit closer to the sky'.

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