Exhibitions & Galleries

Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler

This is a stunning piece of art installation presented at Southampton’s Hansard Gallery in September 2022. Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler It is in the form of a steam cloud against a darkened background upon which a scrolling image is projected. The image is an historic letter written by India’s Mahatma Ghani just before WWII in a gesture of peace and friendship. The installation is by India’s contemporary artist Jitish Kallat (b 1974). Who refers to Gandhi’s letter as essentially a plea for peace and refers to Hitler as ‘My Friend’. Plenty of space here for contemplation is there not? Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler Art-Tales is a magazine blog site following the journeys and reflections through the art world of artist, sketcher, art historian and critic Al Beckett. Merely to amuse, inform and entertain, Art-Tales is aimed at people … Continue reading Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler

Gormley and Caro Roche Court

The New Art Centre Roche Court near Salisbury Wiltshire is a breath-taking open air sculpture park set within the dramatic hills of southeast Wiltshire. Gormley and Caro Roche Court It is a pure joy to wander through the gardens against the backdrop of the stunning landscape and enjoy the spaces occupied by the modern and contemporary works of art. In 2019 on BBC Radio 4, Antony Gormley spoke of sculpture changing the real world, being no longer a mere reference to it and no longer dependent upon it. Sculpture doesn’t need a wall, a room or even a label to exist. Its presence occupies its own space and thus it can alter people’s behaviour. Gormley and Caro Roche Court Cast your mind to some of the world’s most dramatic and successful architecture and sculpture. Consider the landscape, the room even: … Continue reading Gormley and Caro Roche Court

Majesty of Iceland in Art

Visiting Iceland is always a joy, especially when visiting its outstanding galleries of art and museums. … Majesty of Iceland in Art The National Gallery of Iceland is an excellent case in point. This gallery prides itself on exhibiting traditional works through to modern contemporary and conceptual art. In this article I’m going to simply take a wander through an exhibition I visited recently that looked at requisitions from a local business person and collector Ragnar Jonsson who was most interested in art works depicting the emerging independent state of Iceland. So let’s take a wander … Art-Tales is a magazine blog site following the journeys and reflections through the art world of artist, sketcher, art historian and critic Al Beckett. Merely to amuse, inform and entertain, Art-Tales is aimed at people who simply wish to dip a toe into … Continue reading Majesty of Iceland in Art

Ísafjörður Museum of Everyday Life

This museum is an absolutely unbelievable gem – Ísafjörður Museum of Everyday Life Nestled away in the little Icelandic port of Ísafjörður, one could be excused for walking right by without noticing. But when you do notice – you notice. Maybe that’s why there were only a handful of visitors when we arrived or does that say something about the clientele of the cruise we were on? Best to look at their website to get a really good feel for what this original place is all about. Here it is – just click on the link … We loved the shoe and boot stories. The original owners could be heard telling stories of their experiences with their shoes and boots on display. From young people to fisherfolk, all had their real stories to tell. Just think about what tales your … Continue reading Ísafjörður Museum of Everyday Life

Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio

Discovered an interesting theory and concept whilst visiting Akureyri Art Gallery and Museum, Iceland – PICNOLEPSY. ( Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio ) I cannot do better than reproduce the text itself from the Museum. So with thanks, the source from Akureyri Museum … When Gustav Geir Bollason began work on Sandtime Psalm of Fading Flowers, he was reading Paul Virilio’s Aesthetics of Disappearance (1991), in which the philosopher describes what he calls picnolepsy, a condition marked by momentary cognitive absences, temporary disconnects. As the picnoleptic flickers in and out of consciousness, they compensate for these ‘epileptic’ discontinuities by glossing over them. Perception is thus a polished version of actual sensory experience – just as our eye stitches together discrete cinematic frames for the illusion of seamless movement. With the acceleration of information and hyperstimulation of modern life, these gaps … Continue reading Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio

Akureyri Art Museum Photography

Svarthvitt or black and white – Akureyri Art Museum – Akureyri Art Museum Photography Is this a primary role of photography – to capture the everyday, the ready-mades, that we simply walk by and ignore but which are essential to our lives, the quality of life? Christopher Taylor at Akureyri Art Museum Photography: Is this art? Recording the existential components of our routines, elevating them to perhaps a true perspective? Snaps versus capturing the essence of character, of the everyday. These thoughts occurred to me in a quiet moment visiting the art museum in Akureyri Iceland, whilst on a trip visiting the island and neighbouring Norway. These two countries have produced some fantastic art works most of which have been developed independently of the mainstream of art development, influence and avant-garde found in mainland Europe or indeed the USA.That is … Continue reading Akureyri Art Museum Photography

Lorna Simpson Thun Switzerland

Upon arriving in Thun Switzerland, we made a bee line to the Kunstmuseum to view the exhibition by Lorna Simpson ‘Haze’ Lorna Simpson is a USA artist who became famous in the 1980s with her conceptual works comprised of collages of photographs from her grandmother’s old ‘Ebony’ and ‘Jet’ magazines from the 1950s to 1970s and text snippet works. A time line. Simpson challenges the conventual view of memory, identity, history, gender, and fiction. With the ‘Haze’ exhibition, we saw many examples of her collage works as well as her interpretation of the blurred views when looking at the old magazine covers through ice (actually glass blocks). Most effective. However, her most stunning works were her large paintings of clouds and glaciers. Depicted in luminescent blue and white with splashes of black. The ‘blue hour’, the magical moment of dawn … Continue reading Lorna Simpson Thun Switzerland

Cornwall’s Pilchards – An Empathy

When visiting the gem of a gallery in Cornwall recently (Penlee House Gallery and Museum) it occurred to me that despite all the staging, drama and technical skill, why I didn’t especially identify with two works in particular. Indeed – Cornish Pilchards – An Empathy – ? Stunning to look at, enjoyable to cast a gaze at, but leaving me with no warmth towards them. So what was going on with these pictures and indeed me to give me a feeling not of involvement but antipathy. The two pictures are: ‘Hevva Hevva’ (1889) and ‘Tucking a School of Pilchards‘ (1897), two paintings by Percy Robert Craft (1856-1934). When pilchards were spotted off shore, a lookout would alert the villagers with the cry ‘hevva hevva’. The villagers would then rush to the sea and help the fishermen bag the catch. Bagging … Continue reading Cornwall’s Pilchards – An Empathy

Tate St Ives Thao Nguyen Phan

Tate St Ives Cornwall – Thao Nguyen Phan This is an exhibition by a little-known Vietnamese artist at the Tate St Ives until May 2022. We just stumbled across this event with our main purpose being to update on the works of artists working in Cornwall. It turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable and thoughtful experience. The joy of the unexpected. I cannot describe the works on show better than … … to quote the Tate’s guide: Thao Nguyen Phan (born 1987) interrogates the histories and potential futures of her homeland of Vietnam. Phan maps the turbulent history of the Mekong River with poetic observations of the diverse cultures and ecologies that rely upon it today. In painting, sculpture, moving image and sound, the artist suggests a ‘softer, gentler kind of modernity’. She proposes a past and future in … Continue reading Tate St Ives Thao Nguyen Phan

George Bissell miner soldier artist

I’m shortly to run a series of sessions on the subject of ‘Women in Art’. Female depictions of women and male depictions of women and draw some contrasts and comparisons, if there are any. ( George Bissell miner soldier artist ) Coincidence being as it is, I stumbled across an interesting article in one of the national dailies. George Bissell was an English artist miner and furniture designer. At the age of 13 George was sent down the mines, his family having moved from his birthplace in Gloucestershire, to the mining village of Langley Mill in Derbyshire. (Full bio here at Wikipedia) Then came WW1 and George joined the King’s Royal Rifles, but his time in the trenches was soon changed to time under the trenches. Because of his mining experience he was sent to be a sapper, digging and … Continue reading George Bissell miner soldier artist