Since I was a little girl I've been making dens....and don't think I'll ever stop..........

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Remedios Varo - Surreal Friends


I couldn't miss out Remedios Varo, the third and final artist in the Pallant House Gallery's Surreal Friends Exhibition. I think that technically Varo was a better painter than Carrington. There is a great deal of attention to detail in her work, for example the parquet floor in Armonia, which must have been a painstaking task. Especially as it isn't the smallest of her works. In other's she layered the paint to make trees look three dimensional and yet others, used the most delicate strokes, that look as though they had been painted with a needle. It's probably because I'm not a painter that I find these elements in her work so fascinating. As to the content, although just as surreal as Carrington's, I felt that her inspiration came more from fairy tales than Biblical hell and hades. There is something very attractive, almost Heath Robinson, about the little contraptions in her work.

Varo like her two contemporaries appears to have had her share of romance being married three times in total and living a Bohemian lifestyle. It's her earlier life that was of more interest to me though. Apparently a great deal of her inspiration came from the blueprints and technical drawings of her father a hydraulic engineer. You can definitely see this in her work.

Friday 27 August 2010

Surreal Friends - Kati Horna

Kati Horna

Hungarian photographer, Kati Horna was one of the three artists whose work was on show in the Surreal Friends exhibition. You can read the gallery's short biography of her life and work here. It would appear that not only did all three artist's have fulfilling practices as artists but also time for very romantic and often intriguing personal lives too. This recent article in theIndependent discusses Horna's secret relationship with war photographer Robert Capa who she had known since she was seventeen.

Possibly Horna's work was the highlight of this exhibition for me. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find images of my favourite pieces and was only allowed to take a couple of photo's for my own research purposes. Although I do love the top photo of the little girl's face, my favourite pieces were photo montages. One that stood out consisting of a small boat, which I think is possibleythe one in the photograph below of the child in a boat. This was obviously taken in her studio and I presume for the purpose of the montage. It also involved a dilapidated tower building which reminds me of the work of a Japanese artist that I'll look at soon. The composition was beautiful. Although it's obvious that Horna used the most advanced photographic techniques she had to hand at the time, like double exposure etc. I'm sure that these montages are actually cut-out and pasted together. They couldn't help but remind me a little of the work of contemporary artist Agnes Montgomery, who also uses this technique. You can link to some examples of Montgomery's work here.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Leonora Carrington - "not so much painted as brewed"

I visited an amazing exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester last Saturday, which is running until the 12th of September. I definitely recommend a visit if you're in the area. It's entitled Surreal Friends in Mexico and shows the work of close friends, Leonora Carrington, Ramedios Vara and Kati Homa. Three women Surrealist artists who met in Mexico City in 1943, after fleeing the war in Europe. Carrington having eloped to Paris, the heart of the Surrealist art world at the time, with artist Max Ernst. It was here that she met and befriended artists Salvador Dali, Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

I'd vaguely come across Leonora Carrington's work when flicking through Phaidon's, The 20th Century Artbook. You know the little pocket book that lists about five hundred artists in alphabetical order and shows an image of their work and a mini biography? Carrington's work was a was a self-portrait, The Inn of the Dawn Horse. I remember the image but I can't say that it made very much of an impression on me. If you'd mentioned the name Carrington, the work of Dora Carrington would have sprung to mind. Leonora often being described as a muse rather than a serious artist. That is until last Saturday. When I was introduced to much more of her work.

Carrington who is still living in Mexico appears to be an articulate and vibrant women and apparently the most famous living artist in Mexico. You can watch a recent Guardian interview and here and link to an Independent interview that makes biblical and Renaissance references to her work which is said to have Celtic and mythical inspiration.

I think one of the things that attracted me most to the group of artists was the description in the text put up in the exhibition. It paints a wonderful illustration of the three women who it says "would spend hours in their kitchens discussing the links between cookery and the alchemy, between magic and art and between mythology and reality. Buddhism and
Kabbalah, witch's nluals and sacred ceremonies, Greek myths, Gothic literature and science fiction; the more esoteric, the more likely it was to capture their imaginations. Edward James said that Carrington's work was not so much painted as brewed."

Friday 20 August 2010

The Asmolean Museum

I couldn't resist a quick look in the Ashmolean the other day, however brief. There always seems to be something I've not have time to look at before.
I just love the patterns on these Aegean artefacts.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Up coming CSN review

I've been asked to write a review by CSN. They are a company that has online stores where you can find all sorts of things from ceiling lights to furniture. I recently became aware of them when they partnered me for a free giveaway a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't heard of CSN before and was a little bit wary. I did lots of research and found that they sell amazing products on-line at reasonable prices. They sell good quality well-known brands but they seem to be a good percentage cheaper than in other stores. They are based in America and now venturing into the UK. I found lots of things I would have liked to order for myself and so I was really happy to go ahead and give somebody out there the opportunity to benefit.

Well now they've come back and asked me to do a review. I'm excited at having a go for myself and then writing an honest review. I think they had me as soon as I heard the work lighting! As you know I definitely have a penchant for lamps and lanterns, Kafka would have been proud of the moth in me!!

It feels a bit like Christmas I'm going to have a fun time choosing something nice to review. I really love this Anglepoise Original Lamp but have just bought a vintage 1970's one. Thank goodness because I wouldn't be able to decide which colour to choose! It also comes in cream, red and blue. But I need a wall lamp so best go and check them out. I'll let you know how I get's going to be so doesn't have to be a lamp they have some amazing cookware too...and I love the Le Creueset Cast Iron wok....ooh what a happy dilemma!

If you want to check any of the other CSN stores you can link to them here:

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Ana kras

I can't stop banging on about Serbian Artist Ana Kras. Not only is she an illustrator and photographer but she also produces amazing objects. Not only are they beautiful but ingenious too! Like the m lamp, which basically is just a frame that you can drape with anything from an intricate lace skirt to a wooly jumper and make your own subtle light, to the Ksilofon clothing rack which is basically a simple wooded clothing stand with a hanging lamp. Her ideas do seem so simple but they're really clever.

Free Fran & Josh TIckets.

I've just found a message from Josh offering a couple of pairs of free tickets to see Fran & Josh in Croatia but the deadline it 6pm tonight, the 18th. Why not have a go they are an amazing band.

Here's his message:
We have 2 pairs of tickets for SMS festoval in Croatia
in just 2 weeks?.....!!!!

All you have to do is respond to this
with a joke you know, by tomorrow,
6pm, and we will award one pair of
tickets to the best joke, and one to
the worst, courtesy of SMS festival,
you just have to get the flights.

No joke!
Hahaaa see what we did there.. I think we
should win.. just for that..

Check it out:
Get the jokes in!

Sunday 15 August 2010

Walton Street - Jericho


Lovely new window display at the hat!

....and you can check out their website and blog here.

Friday 13 August 2010

Jenny Kim

Recently graduated from Capilano University Canadian Artist Jenny Kim is producing lovely artwork inspired by the simple things in life. You can link to her website here.