JULIE MEHRETU: At the end of last year I came across for the first time the giant, gestural canvases of Julie Mehretu. I watched youtube videos on her and her early work really resonated with me. I wasn't as keen though on her newest works shown as 'Sextant' White Cube's Mason's Yard at the end of 2018 as they don t feel as dynamic, but am looking forward to seeing her work, 'Julie Mehretu Drawings and Monotypes in the context of the new Louise Bourgeois's artist room exhibition at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/
The Guardian's review of the shows is https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/jan/21/julie-mehretu-louise-bourgeois-review-kettles-yard
November 2018 I was working teaching a psychology assessment at St.John's. capital of Newfoundland on the Avalon peninsula. Had quite a bit of longing looking at the Atlantic and wanting to see the icebergs and whales that are found in the summer months. With 150km gales the week I was there I spent a bit of time feeling a sense of the sublime walking against the wind.
Part of the Mayfair section of the London Lumiere Festival 18-20th Jan 2018 this sound and light installation in Mount Street Gardens was extraordinary.
Made by artist Apsara on thin wire lights darted about as if they were fireflies or speedy luminescent insects advancing or retreating amongst the out twigs of the trees. Wondrous.
2. Purple 6 piece immersive video by John Akomfrah (On until 7th Jan 18)
Worth looking in on
From the Barbican Website: At a time when, according to the UN, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at their highest levels in history, with people experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, including shifting weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events, Akomfrah’s Purple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation. These include animal extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming. Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation. https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2017/event/john-akomfrah-purple
I really liked work in King's College's Melancholia Exhibition (to 10th Dec 2017).
I liked the Tacita Dean's Bless Our Europe drawing but the stand out work for me was the 54 minute video Nummer veertien , home by Dutch Artist Guido Van der Werve. It covered extreme sports, landscape, journey, a sense of the absurd and a really beautiful score also written by the artist himself. Text below from the catalogue.
The issues of climate change and how psychology can perhaps help is an important on-going area of reference of my art work.
A book on this subject that is really good is Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall (Author)
Key articles that explore how psychology can help us with the challenges of climate change include:-
I was also really like the work of the arts organisation Invisible Dust who have just been awarded National Portfolio (NPO) status by Arts Council England. "Invisible Dust works with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art and new scientific ideas exploring our environment and climate change". I recommend signing up to their newsletter at invisibledust/newsletter
I liked David Shringley's comments (in Evening Standard last Thurs) a lot!
"Well, as an artist you have to believe your work makes the world a better place. Art is a positive intervention, even if it deals with something difficult".
How Not To Be Seen: At Tate Modern last week this was the work of the new hang that really stood out for me, for its combination of reality and humour. Her installation explores todays ‘world made of pictures’ and how and why we might hide within it.
Here's the Tate information sign.
How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Dichotic Educational 2013 borrows the format of an educational video. He works across video and installations as well as delivering performative lectures and she appears in this work as a performer.
This video flips playfully between the ‘real world’ and digital recreations. This visually disorientating mix contrasts with the blandly authoritative automated voice delivering advice for ‘how to become invisible’. Settings include a virtual reality tour of a gated community and a desert site covers in huge patterns used to focus areoplane surveillance cameras echoed in the layout of the benches in front of the screen here. Her work addresses recent developments in the way digital images are created, shared and archived, it also refers to the ‘disappearance’ of political radicals that has taken places under dictatorships across the world and the cultural invisibility of women. The work balances criticism and humour showing how ‘not being seen’ has both oppressive and liberating possibilities.
Whitstable Biennale Satellite Exhibition
Intertidal investigated the impact of water as it slowly erodes and reshapes earth, human-made objects and coastlines over time. The tide line mark in the Whitstable Baptist Church Hall, recording the 1953 flood, was a jumping off point for these three London-based artists’ separate investigations of water and tides. Fiona Fouhy explored the impact of tidal waves through a series of successive mono-prints and animation; Catherine Jacobs showed immersive psychological landscapes using photography and video; and Marcia Teusink looked at the effects of the sea on human artifacts through photography and objects collected on walks by the sea. A shared interest in natural processes, amateur archaeology and the poetics of decay ran through the exhibition.