sat 18/08/2018

Visual Arts Reviews

Lumiere London review - London in a different light

Katherine Waters

It seems they’re having trouble with the lights. Thirty-five past five and they’re not yet on. “Typical,” laughs a woman, surveying the huddle of hi-vis chaperones. Palm fronds wave in the wind, suits leave work. St James’s Square slowly fills with people. The huddle of technicians breaks up and in a short moment, candy coloured bulbs strung in rainbow belts between plane trees light up and everyone goes “Oooooh” and gets out their phone.

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Selma Parlour: Upright Animal, Pi Artworks review - incandescent colours

Mark Sheerin

In the dark days of January, white cube galleries are luminous spaces. This is especially true of Pi Artworks right now: the Fitzrovia gallery is showing an incandescent array of 23 paintings by Selma Parlour. Taken in at once and at first sight, her abstract works arrest the eye with unlikely chords of colour and angular planes that suggest competing vanishing points.

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Art UK, Art of the Nation review - public art in a private space

Katherine Waters

Art fairs are vaguely promiscuous. So much art, so many galleries, so very many curators. They’re a glut for the eye yet curiously anodyne — the ranks of white cubicles could belong to a jobs fair, except there’s a Miró round the corner. And it’s impossible not to price-perv, that sly flick of the eye down to the label just happens.

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Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, V&A review - nostalgic family fun

marina Vaizey

What was it about the privileged male Victorian/Edwardian British writer that led to such a fantastical outpouring of books for children that were to embed themselves so thoroughly that they have stayed with their readers into adulthood?

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From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

Florence Hallett

Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal Academy approaches its 250th anniversary.

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Rose Wylie: Quack Quack, Serpentine Gallery - anarchy at 83

Sarah Kent

Three years ago Rose Wylie won the prestigious John Moore’s Painting Prize. She was 80 years old and had been painting away in relative obscurity for many decades. You might suppose, then, that the prize was given in recognition of past achievements – a reward for dogged perseverance.

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Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Katherine Waters

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the figure of the artist as wretched, damned.

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The Machines of Steven Pippin, The Edge, University of Bath review - technology as poetry

Sarah Kent

Our universe seems to be in a state of equilibrium, neither collapsing in on itself nor expanding ad infinitum. The metaphor used by physicists to represent the delicate balance of forces needed to maintain this happy state of affairs is a pencil standing on its tip. In his sculpture Omega = 1, Steven Pippin miraculously turns the metaphor into physical reality.

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Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

marina Vaizey

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its scenic beauty, in winter darkness and here, summer night. Finland possesses almost 190,000 lakes, depending on your definition.

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Highlights from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 - raw emotion, not always human

Bill Knight

What does it take to be included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition? This year 2,423 photographers entered 5,717 images: 2,373 of those photographers are left wondering what it takes to make the grade.

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