Earlier this month I visited Ronald Searle ‘Obsessed with drawing’ at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. It is a brilliant exhibition, I had an interest in his work to begin with but I learnt so much more about him by visiting the show!
Firstly, I did not even realise he was born in Cambridge and rather aptly, used to visit The Fitzwilliam during his youth.
When you think of Searle’s work, you might think of his St. Trinian’s or his animal illustrations, however, Searle worked across a range of different genres. In this exhibition you can see examples of his work as a war artist. In contrast to this are Searle’s illustrations for books, magazines, theatre, film and political satire. Before visiting the exhibition I was unaware how much Searle’s style varied throughout his career.
For me, one of the highlights of the show is Trafalgar Square: ‘The People of Porridge Island’, 1951 – I love the detail of this image, lots of things going on, but even the characters in the background are part of the story being told.
I was really drawn to the vibrancy of the colours used in some of the illustrations, the catalogue images do not do them justice, something you must see in person! Examples of this are Molesworth, 1999 and Raven with Parachute, 1990.
The other week I had a great time at The Bookhive in Norwich, where Illustrator Richard Horne (elhorno) has installed his Print Vend machine! The vending machine is full of original prints and is loads of fun to use! If you are in Norwich go and have a go! (Plus there are tonnes of brilliant books in store!)
I also saw two pieces of sculpture, the first being the Rothschild bronzes, a pair of bronzes believed to be made by Michelangelo and a maquette of Antony Gormley’s ‘Angel of The North’.
Unfortunately because of my late blog posting most of these exhibitions have now closed. However, ‘A Michelangelo Discovery’ is on display until 9th August. The ‘Angel of The North’ maquette may also still be on display.
Yesterday I visited London and came across Sotheran’s of Sackville Street, an antiquarian book and print shop, which had an exhibition of Eric Gill prints on. I was able to see a selection of Gill’s wood engravings, most of them printed on delicate Japanese paper. I was glad to find the shop as, not only did it have a great exhibition, it had some lovely books for sale too! I was able to get a copy of the Eric Gill catalogue, ‘Ravilious Wood Engravings’ and ‘An Alphabet of London’ by Christopher Brown! There are also many other prints available to purchase by a variety of artists.
If you are in or planning to visit London it is well worth a visit. The Eric Gill exhibition runs until 10th April 2015.
I had not come across Pacheco’s work before but really enjoyed seeing it for the first time. The prints, mainly drypoint etchings, convey emotions of the characters in them very well, with some haunting figures lurking in the background of a few of the large scale prints. It’s also great to see very large scale prints on display too!
The sculpture ‘The Banquet’, shown above, was brilliant! I loved the scale of the piece, how you could move around it and get up close to see the eerie expressions on the faces of the men, all of which had a set of real teeth! It amazed me that it was carved out of wood, the heads looked like they were marble! It felt at times like the men were about to stand up out of their chairs, there is a realness to these menacing yet slightly humorous characters.
The exhibitions run until 25th April 2015. I am hoping to see the others before they close!
A couple of months ago I visited The Polar Museum in Cambridge. Admittedly, I did not think I would be that interested in a museum about polar exploration, but I was very wrong! I did the audio tour, which I think it made more enjoyable and would recommend doing it if you have the time. The museum has hundreds of artifacts from several historic polar expeditions, the main focus being on Captain Scott’s journey. Stand out pieces on display include Captain Oates’ sleeping bag and the letters the men wrote when they knew the end was near. One of my personal highlights are the items of food, including the large sledging biscuits and pemmican. Especially with the audio tour, you get a good sense of what it must have been like at the time in those conditions and the sadness towards the end of Scott’s expedition.
Another thing you get a sense of is what life is like in the Arctic, including the modern day. I was surprised and happy to find printmaking on display, along with other Inuit artworks and carvings. The above picture, ‘Boy Feeding Birds’ is one of the prints I saw. It is created using a stonecut technique. This was the first time I had really looked at Inuit art, I found the simplicity and honesty of some of the pieces refreshing. Being a fairly small museum there is only so much art on display, but the collection is available to view online here.
The Polar Museum is definitely worth a visit, even if you think it isn’t for you, you will be surprised!
From 3rd – 26th October printmakers Angie Lewin and Carry Akroyd had an exhibition of work at Cambridge Contemporary Art. I was fortunate to catch the exhibition before it closed, it consisted of large and small scale prints by both artists, the majority of which were inspired by nature. For me there were too many pieces that I liked to be able to list any highlights! Cambridge Contemporary Art is a gallery/shop which regularly stock original prints and artworks by printmakers. If you are interested in finding out more about Angie Lewin and Carry Akroyd please visit the links below:
During the weekend I also visited the Cambridge Original Printmakers exhibition. The exhibition includes over 40 local printmakers, both established and up and coming. The event also hosts guest speakers and printmaking demonstrations, for example I saw a demonstration of Chinese Woodblock Printing by St. Barnabas Press.