Malcolm Ryan - "The Bookshop"

Exclusive: Malcolm Ryan In 2015

Last year I featured my very first artist interview with the wonderful artist Malcolm Ryan, it was one of your favourite posts ever on Brogues In A Coffee Bar! After interviewing him about his beautiful work a friendship has blossomed and he has been kind enough to send me a sneak preview of some new work that he’s been working on… I just had to share!

Inspired by a recent trip to London Malcolm Ryan has captured the hustle and bustle of the city and yet manages to imbue a stillness to the scene, as if time has stopped in the most perfect moment.  His work always give me shivers…

Malcolm Ryan - "Falling Rain Fading Day"

Malcolm Ryan - "The Bookshop"

Malcolm Ryan - "Waiting for the lift"

See more paintings by Malcolm Ryan or to purchase his work see here. To read more in my interview with him click here.

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Maggi Hambling painting from 'Walls Of Water'

A Wall Of Water: Maggi Hambling At The National Gallery

Maggi Hambling’s current exhibition at The National Gallery, titled ‘Walls Of Water’ (26th Nov – 15th Feb 2015) has received a mixture of reviews since it’s opening. Notably from Jonathan Jones who said in the Guardian…

What is art for? This is a question Hambling appears never to have asked herself. Her paintings are acts of egotistical imperialism, with no purpose except to claim space for themselves.

Quite a damning review (read the rest here). I read this whilst in The National Gallery coffee bar right before I went to see ‘Walls Of Water’ in the flesh and I have to say I agree (sort of). I live near Hambling’s beach sculpture ‘Scallop’ which has been defaced by graffiti several times since it’s installation in 2003 and I happen to quite like her past works so I had high hopes for this new exhibition. Consisting of 8 paintings measuring over 6x7ft and one smaller piece ‘Walls Of Water’ is inspired by Hambling’s musings from the sea wall at the Suffolk seaside town Southwold. She pictures gigantic waves crashing against the seawall and says…

The crucial thing that only painting can do is to make you feel as if you’re there while it’s being created – as if it’s happening in front of you.

However, I was left feeling pretty flat when confronted with the large pieces. Created from 2010-2012, I have stood many-a-time on the windy beach and pier at Southwold where Hambling would have experienced the waves and perhaps even on the same day and I have seen how wild it can get with the coastal winds. ‘Walls Of Water’ however, are empty, they do not evoke the drama and emotions felt when experiencing the wilds of nature and they remind me more of our great British rain rather than waves. There is no obvious concrete sea wall, just a white expanse behind the Pollock-esque drips and Monet like blurriness.

It’s as if Hambling has pulling out every trick in the book to create these, including Van Gogh style brush strokes and abstract dribbles in the foreground and yet they seem to lack impact and fail to evoke any real emotional response. There is something a little bit contrived and too controlled about their creation. They look interesting in these small images (below) but when seen in the flesh it’s very clear that size isn’t everything.

Maggi Hambling 'Wall Of Water'

Maggi Hambling with two Walls of Water paintings at National Gallery, London

Maggi Hambling 'Wall Of Water'

I think the thing that lets the exhibition down is writing about the contemporary parallel between Hambling’s ‘Walls Of Water’ and the seascapes by Peter Balke (1804-1887) which are shown only a few rooms away. They just do not compare.

Peder Balke 'Nordkapp'

In ‘Walls Of Water’ Hambling has apparently hidden outlines of animals and even made a homage to Amy Winehouse. Why?! What is the point in this? What does Amy Winehouse have to do with the drama and power of our coastline? The only animal form I could see in one image was a white splodge that could have been Jemima Puddle Duck which yes, made me laugh but just shows how feeble the artwork really is. Can you spot Jemima? I would say if you are interested do go and see the show but don’t expect to be bowled over, I certainly wouldn’t pay to see it.

Maggi Hambling painting from 'Walls Of Water'

For more inspirational art and features on Brogues In A Coffee Bar click here and don’t forget you can see updates and follow me on Twitter!

Dream Room V&A Installation

V&A Exhibition: At Home In A Dolls House

For those of you who are fans of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (which I reviewed here) I have some exciting news… The Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood have a new exhibition opening on 13th December exhibiting some of the most prized and best-loved dolls houses in the UK. Titled ‘Small Stories: At Home In A Dolls House’ the exhibition will showcase the fascinating stories behind the dollshouse history and takes you on a journey through the history of the home as well as the relationships and people who live within them. It baffles me how The V&A have managed to condense there vast collection of dolls houses down to just 12 to exhibit in ‘Small Stories’ – the exhibition shows a range spanning 300 years of manor houses, Victorian town houses, high rise flats and even the humble suburban semi.

The V&A have resorted over 1200 miniature dolls house objects dated from 1712-2001 and these will be displayed alongside a specially commissioned art installation called ‘Dream House’. 19 contemporary designers have been commissioned to create their very own miniature dream room, complete with people and a fully decorated miniature interior. What a fantastic idea! The designers involved, namely Katy Christianson and Molly Meg (see their dolls houses below), and many more have decorated their own rooms and as a finale for the exhibition they come together to form a larger installation. The Museum of Childhood says…

 Many of the dolls’ houses in the Small Stories exhibition were made as ideal spaces, or fantasy rooms. In miniature, we can experiment freely and try things otherwise not possible. So for Dream House, designers were asked to think about their own desirable rooms – aspirational, fantastical, whimsical, technological, practical or historical.

 I have *GOT* to go and see this! A new book has also been written by Halina Pasierbska to accompany the show (this can be purchased at the exhibition for £14.99) and for those of you who follow the wonderful author of The Miniaturist on Twitter (if not, why don’t you?!) she has confirmed that she will be opening the exhibition. Apparently, one of the creators of the early dolls houses got into so much debt making her miniature town she had to rely on charity from nuns to live!

Small Stories: At Home In A Dolls House will run in London until 6th September 2015 so theres plenty of time to make sure you don’t miss out. The museum are also holding events throughout the exhibition such as: a fun tour of haunted dolls houses.

For more inspirational art and features on Brogues In A Coffee Bar click here and don’t forget you can see updates and follow me on Twitter!

Anselm Kiefer Exhibition

Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy Curator’s Tour

I have been meaning to write about the current Royal Academy exhibition of Anselm Kiefer’s work since it’s opening at the end of September. However, not having seen it yet (I must go soon) I have been waiting. The RA recently tweeted a video of curator Kathleen Soriano introducing some highlights from the show which has spurred me to share it with you. I have long been a fan of Kiefer’s dark and historically poignant artwork and when I saw his piece “Fates Of Nations: The New Theory Of War’ I was entranced…

Measuring almost 17 meters and consisting of 2 large glass vitrines filled with a fleet of rusty, sinking and emerging u-boats Kiefer has created a parody of Damien Hirst’s work. I absolutely adore the Victorian cabinet of curiosities and here Kiefer has created an enlarged version of these right in the middle of the Royal Academy’s courtyard. The second vitrine lists great naval battles and as The Guardian review says:

 …he has resurrected the terrors of the 20th-century in a shocking, pungent and explicit way that defies both the politeness of forgetting and the evasiveness of appropriate speech. He would rather you were angry than amnesiac. He will not let the ashes of history’s victims blow away, but thrusts them in your face as a handful of truth.

I cannot wait to go and see this in the flesh! What also really stands out for me from Kathleen Soriano’s overview (see video below) is the textural element in Kiefer’s paintings. He uses ash along with paper, straw, glitter and cracked clay to create complicated works of art that transform a painting from a picture to be contemplated to a fact and story which crashed out of the wall and into your world.

History is not just a theme for Anselm Kiefer, it is entangled in the way he paints. Memory makes his art.

I hope this quick tour inspires you as much as it has done me to go and see the exhibition which ends on 14th December. If you have already seen it, do let me know what your favourite piece/element was.

For more inspirational art and features on Brogues In A Coffee Bar click here and don’t forget you can see updates and follow me on Twitter!

The Collector

Frieze London 2014: Corrado N, AKA ‘The Collector’

It has a fish preserved in formaldehyde, 10 people wearing one hat, a giant dice (Gagosian Gallery) and The Smile Face Museum. Of course, it’s Frieze London time again. One of the world leading art fairs housed in Regents Park is the most important date in the calender of many galleries, collectors and art lovers alike. I have always followed what goes on, I find the whole spectacle that is Frieze fascinating. From the fashions, heals are out and polo necks in this year in case you wondered, to finding out astonishing facts about the fairs visitors and artists. Did you know  200 kilos of coffee will be consumed over the 3 day event?!

There is usually the typical piece of artwork used as a brash marketing strategy for the gallery. However, this year Cork Street gallery Helly Nahmad have captured the media’s attention with it’s unusual display showing a staged set from the louche Paris appartment from 1968, called Corrado N a k a ‘The Collector’. A massive difference to the stark white walls and minimal displays which so often disorientates when walking around the fair (it’s no wonder so many coffee breaks are needed), Helly Nahmad have hung Picasso’s and Miro’s alongside socialist posters and hung a Lucio Fontana above a fake desk.

In an attempt to distill the philosophy of what the ideal collector should be the gallery hired set designer Robin Brown to create the cluttered space. Complete with dirty dishes, keys strewn on top of a Warhol book and it’s very own unmade bed. When talking about the ideal collector the creator says he is…

Passionate, intellectual, reclusive. He’s not living to entertain people here, he’s living and breathing art.

The piece has a wonderful nostalgia which I find so refreshing to see at Frieze. It reminds me of the 2008 Frieze Project by Kling & Bang. Where an interactive Sirkus, a bar in downtown Reykjavik, was constructed within a booth. I remember walking in with my Dad for a drink and suddenly feeling like I’d actually come in from the Icelandic cold, the atmosphere was fantastic.

Corrado N a k a ‘The Collector’ is immersive and emotional and represents so many older art collectors environments, it is entirely unexpected. In it’s way it acts as an intimate diary for so many collectors in the art world and as a key performance has attracted a lot of attention throughout the world. See more images below…

 For more inspirational art and features on Brogues In A Coffee Bar click here and don’t forget you can see updates and follow me on Twitter!

Delphine Lebourgeois - Photo de Classe 2014 (launching at The Other Art Fair)

The Girl Has A Gun: Delphine Lebourgeois

Delphine Lebourgeois, a graduate from Central Saint Martins has been working in London as an illustrator for more than 10 years, her works and prints are now extremely collectable and on 16th-19th October she will be launching an exciting new collection at The Other Art Fair, Brick Lane, London.

Primarily interested in the power of crowds and the masses her new collection of artwork titled ‘The Girl Has A Gun’ depicts army like groups of women layered with rich colours and transparent human forms. Her women are both elegant and menacing, some in protective head gear and unusual fashions….

Delphine has been the winner of Image 29 critics award (2009) and Nominated by public Vote for the Club Monaco Emerging Artist Award in November 2011. You can buy very low edition prints of her illustrations from approx £300-£700. Contact here here but even better go and see her new collection in the flesh at The Other Art Fair (visiting info here).

Making Colour

Making Colour At The National Gallery

From lapis lazuli to cobalt blue, to dazzling gold and silver – travel through the story of colour with the National Gallery.

From 18th June – 7th September an explosion of colour is to hit The National Gallery, London. An artistic and scientific voyage of discovery, ‘Making Colour’ comprises of a series of colour themed rooms. Exhibiting artefacts from sparking minerals and insects to the surprising objects and minerals often used to create certain pigments. ‘Making Colour’ shows a history of colour making from the early renaissance, right through to the impressionist movement of painters.

It is very unfortunate if any of you are colour blind, as this exhibition is set to excite the senses and introduces a whole new world on how we perceive colour. An interactive display will challenge how we see colour and will reveal how our brains process and cope with colour. I know for me, when it comes to colour the brighter the better!

What is your favourite colourful artworks? Here are just a few of mine…

 For more inspirational art and features on Brogues In A Coffee Bar click here and don’t forget you can see updates and follow me on Twitter!

Raphael Mazzucco 'Montauk' (Vietnam)

Raphael Mazzucco ‘Montauk’ Launch, Mayfair

World renowned Canadian fashion photographer and artist Raphael Mazzucco is best known for his editorial work and portrait photography for Vogue, Victoria Secret, Ralph Lauren and Playboy to name a few. For the past two years he has been travelling the globe presenting his new collection of artwork to Milan, Florence, Hong Kong, Singapore, LA and Miami Art Basel – reaching critical acclaim.

His highly anticipated new collection of artwork is going to be unveiled in it’s first UK exhibition at Castle Fine Art, Mayfair for one month only. Opening with it’s private view tomorrow night (12th June 2014)  and continuing on public display until 13th July, I urge you to go and see the exhibition.

His collection titled ‘Montauk’ merges his love of photography with the sensuality of painting and poetry. Inspired by his home in Mautauk he mixes paint, found objects, pen, photography and many more materials to create ethereal and beautiful images encased in layers of protective resin.

Dubbed as ‘the next Worhol’ it is clear that Raphael is a creative force not to be reckoned with. His entire previous collection of work was purchased by the one and only Damien Hirst for $750,000 and his work has never been exhibited in the UK before. I am very excited to say that Brogues In A Coffee Bar will be attending the private view. For more information contact Castle Fine Art and view the online catalogue here (prices range from £6,000 upwards). Speaking about his work Raphael says:

‘I feel that life is a circle, it’s a journey that always ends back at home. Montauk is where I live, and where I create most of my work. I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings and love being in the moment… but even if the work is photographed in the remotest location, the journey always comes full circle back to my home, back to Montauk and my paint covered floors.’