Friday 31 January 2014


In Jephson Gardens in Leamington. Same spot as last year and all the years before, and such a joy to see that they have come up again.







Tuesday 28 January 2014

Preliminary Studies for Picasso's Guernica

While I was in the White Room Gallery in Leamington, enjoying the Bridget Riley exhibition which you can see here , I noticed some other prints on the floor which turned out to be prints of Picasso's preliminary studies for Guernica.

Picasso made 45 sketches between May 1 and June 4 1937. Some stand on their own as complete drawings and some are very rough sketches - one is drawn on wrapping paper and you can see that one below. Dora Maar took photographs of the different stages of his work on the composition

Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs - I did my best, but there was too much reflection.





The sketches were published by Unesco and the European Council as an homage to all those who work for world peace.


Sunday 26 January 2014


The first snowdrops are out, and it's such a delight!

Friday 24 January 2014

Cindy Sherman - 3

Cindy Sherman - A Retrospective, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
This is the last post on this exhibition, you can see the first two here and here.
Throughout her career Sherman has broken down stereotypes while at the same time enforcing them: there is no real sex in the sex pictures, there is no nudity in the centrefolds. Her work reflects our culture at large and how the images we are bombarded with participate in the construction of culture, consumption and ideology. In the 1980s she was furthermore, one of the main agents challenging traditional ideologies of art.
Following the Sex Pictures, Sherman's next project was art history itself, with the
The History Portraits (1988-89):
Turning into the subject of art history itself, Sherman photographed a series of classically composed portraits which refer to the Old Master paintings in their format and size. The portraits borrow from a number of historical periods, the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, and make allusions to Raphael, Caravaggio, Fragonard and Ingres. With the exception of a few works that were inspired by specific paintings most of the subjects are anonymous - they toe the line between humorous parody and the grotesque often poking fun at the treatment of female anatomy in those paintings.  Large noses, bulging bellies, squirting breasts warts, make for less-than-graceful portraits of the nobility. For the first time in Sherman's work men played a big role in the series.









as Madame de Pompadour






based on Caravaggio's Sick Bacchus, believed to be a self-portrait of the artist as Bacchus



based on Raphael's La Fornarina

refers to Judith beheading Holoferenes, illustrated by numerous painters, including Caravaggio, Donatello, Botticelli.



Clowns (2002-04): 
The relationship between artificial surface and inner psychology was explored in the series of the Clowns which evoke circus posters in their style but represent a range of emotions and states from hysterical passion to tragedy: her clowns are cruel, wicked, disturbed and even lustful. 'Intense, with a nasty side, but also with a real pathos'. 






Society Portraits (2008):
These are portraits of women of  'a certain age' from the top echelons of polite society: old-money blue bloods and the nouveau riche. These women struggle with the impossible standards of beauty that prevail in our youth- and status-obsessed culture. The psychological weight of these pictures comes through the unrelenting honesty of the description of aging and the small details that belie the attempt to project a certain appearance. With this series Sherman doesn't just critique ideas of glamour and standards of beauty - she is also takes on issues of class.
The pictures represent a synthesis of the compulsions that plague women: bodily self-loathing and the quest for youth and status.



Cindy Sherman: Johanna Burton and John Waters, MoMA