Bosch, strawberries, and high fashion

Detail from Hieronymus Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights: one of many strawberry symbolising the pleasure of forbidden fruit

I always learn something from the regular Sotheby’s Selects emails. This month the focus is on Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights c.1490-1505. Here, I’m adding a little to Sotheby’s excellent summary. This reminds us that Bosch’ triptych starts closed to display the third day of the Biblical formation of the earth . The left wing …

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Dorothea Lange and the Politics of Seeing

Barbican exhibitions of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship 2018

I was excited to go to the Barbican exhibitions of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship‘s photography. But what I found out is the Politics of Seeing can be just as rotten as any other Politics. Lange has been described as “principled .., a heroine of the lens“. After her most famous photo, Migrant Mother, was …

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Looking round corners with Black mirrors

This gazing ball is one of those black mirrors that tempt you into looking off to the side, at the unseen and unseeable. Find out more in my Birkbeck blog on walking around a black hole.

What tremendously thoughtful fun I had meandering round Birkbeck with a black mirror, gazing into a fairy ball!  Sheila Ghelani had designed our route by placing one of the mirrors she’d created onto a map: we were going to meander around the black hole thus created. Decked out with palm-size pebbles of mirrors in black …

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Gazing at a new planet: the Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi,c.1500 Leonardo da Vinci, oil on walnut 45.4 × 65.6 cm. Image from Wiki

What can we learn from how we look at Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi? I’m really interested in how we look at things. I already mentioned the Mona Lisa as an example of something that maybe we look at in the same way every time. I compared this with the ‘art’ on 15th and 16th century mosques …

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The birth of art photography: collodion

Here's a pop-up collodion studio. As you can see, the birth of art photography is not straightforward.

Collodion underpinned the birth of art photography. Some of this was shown in the 2018 NPG exhibition on Victorian Giants. I’m mainly working digitally now – but collodion offers a much more physical process. You’re not going to take scores of shots and spend time picking the best one. And you can’t just press undo …

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Surface work

Adriana Verejao’s 2018 Azulejao (Moon)

Surface work in Victoria Miro ‘s Mayfair gallery  “reflects the ways in which women have been at the heart of abstract art’s development over the past century, from those who propelled the language of abstraction forward, often with little recognition, to those who have built upon the legacy of earlier generations … to open new paths of optical, emotional …

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4. Cycle of Life: digital collage

The Cycle of Life. This 'forest' grew from the acorn heart in 'Heartbeat', watered by my tears into a sprout. Then the warm water used to wash my dad's body 'grew' it into a forest, with more and more fruit

As I washed my dad’s dead body, I thought of how much of a Cycle of Life there is. How life cycles on and on. My dad must have washed me when I was a baby: his first child. I freshened him up through his time in the hospice. Just because he died, I wasn’t going to stop washing …

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3. Heartbeat: digital collage

Heartbeat: This image shows what happened when my dad took his last breath

This digital collage is about what happened to my dad’s heartbeat when he took his last breath. I’m showing the sound and light and movement during the multimedia performance in the Showroom gallery. The image shows a colleague clapping my dad’s heartbeat (on the left) and me talking (on the right). On either edge are (white on …

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2. Deathbed Skiing: a digital collage

When my dad was so near death that he’d stopped talking, he got out of his bed to stand as though he was deathbed skiing his last Black Run.

This digital collage of Deathbed Skiing shows me talking into, walking and standing alongside one of the Showroom Korean ‘machines’ that underpinned ‘Dawn Breaks’ (the ‘story bus’). The words I said are here. When my dad was so near death that he’d stopped talking, he got out of his bed. People that close to death don’t get out of …

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Praxis Forum submission

The Cycle of Life. This 'forest' grew from the acorn heart in 'Heartbeat', watered by my tears into a sprout. Then the warm water used to wash my dad's body 'grew' it into a forest, with more and more fruit

This is a very brief summary of my Praxis Forum submission. Praxis Forum put out an open call for visual artists who are interested in collaboration and in pushing the boundaries of their artistic practice. Applications from disabled artists were especially welcome. There is to be a year-long programme of monthly peer mentoring forums, including peer crits, discussions, …

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