Pierre Bonnard has long been one of my favourite artists. He was one of the lesser known impressionists, but painted with such sensitivity and understanding of colour.
After a chance meeting with an old school friend, I arranged a trip to London and couldn’t wait for March to come.
I’ve only been to London a few times before so I was pretty excited about my trip to the big smoke. Tricia has lived in London since she left school and knows it like the back of her hand, so I had the perfect tour guide for my two days away. With snippets of history, landmarks, the contrast of old and new, the spirit of each neighbourhood we visited and how it has changed along with some great food experiences and drinks from the top of the gherkin we walked, talked, had a few wines and a few laughs and it was just the best break .
I had been following the Bonnard hashtag on instagram avidly and had a feel for the exhibition before I went, but there is nothing that prepares you for a gallery experience where the scale and paintings comes alive. It was also my first visit to Tate Modern and it is huge!! The Bonnard exhibition filled 13 rooms and of those Room 8 stood out. Containing the work he made in 1927, several of the artworks had been removed from their frames to give a sense of them just having been finished and the room had a continuity and cohesive feel set against a soft grey backdrop. (all the rooms had been painted to reflect his palette or indeed the colours of his original home). The bathroom paintings had such a light which bounced around the room and the garden paintings just jumped out at you with their vitality.
I read a great article by Barry Schwabsky which really resonated with me and helped me explain my own painting practice. ‘Standing on the edge of space, painting the feeling which is constantly changing, the painting is never finished and lives on. Working from memory, capturing fleeting moments and moods his paintings are filled with the rhythm of life. ‘
In contrast to the Bonnard and totally unplanned Tricia suggested we go to see Tracey Emin at The White Cube Gallery. Using a limited palette with lots of raw canvas left showing and with massive space around each artwork which allowed it to breath with some huge mind blowing sculptures and vast reflective floors, it was an assault on the emotions. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from her. I really liked the palette but I think feminine sugary pinks used almost made you think she has come to terms with what she was working through.
Very abstract and on a scale that was massive, the gestural strokes had a lot of energy through a very cathartic process of love, anger and loss in ‘A Fortnight of Tears’.
I could write so much more. I loved my foray to London and hope that Tricia and I keep the friendship going. I can’t wait to go back. It amazing to be able to live in such a beautiful place here in Bude, but what a gift to be able to go to see such amazing art on such a scale.
A little footnote. If you go across the millennium bridge be sure to look down . I can guarantee the little painted chewing gum montages will make you smile.