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Monday, 9 July 2007

Tate Gallery, Liverpool - Gallagher & Blake

We went to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool at the weekend. Liverpool's preparations to become European City of Culture next year are going well. There are new buildings appearing all over the city centre, and the roads are slowly improving as a result of much road digging and disruption.

There were two fabulous exhibitions which we saw. The first, on the ground floor, is by Ellen Gallagher. To quote the Tate's site:

"Ellen Gallagher (born 1965) is a leading contemporary painter who also creates drawings, prints, sculptures and films. Her works explore the language of Modernist painting with symbolic or narrative content, often touching on issues of representation. In her recent work she has explored the myth of Drexciya - populated by a marine species descended from captive African slaves thrown overboard for being sick and disruptive cargo during the gruelling journey from Africa to America. Ellen Gallagher's Tate Liverpool exhibition includes a range of work to reflect the breadth of her practice."

The work is very subtle, requiring lots of close attention. I really liked the mythical underpinning to the collection.

The other exhibition was a major retrospective of the work of Peter Blake. Most people will be aware of his paintings in the form of pop culture, particularly the cover to 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles. He also did the cover to 'Stanley Road' by Paul Weller and the recent compilation album by Oasis.

The impressive thing about this exhibition is the sheer range of Blake's work. When an artist becomes famous for a particular style, it is easy not to realise the sheer breadth of work achieved, as is the case with Blake.

There are paintings from his Pop art work in the 60s. But there are also paintings that are more abstract, many pieces which use collage, and a series of illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. This is the largest exhibition of his work since 1983 and contains paintings drawn from a wide range of galleries. The work divides into sections:

  • The 1950s

  • Pop

  • Deja vu

  • Wrestlers and Pin-up girls

  • The Brotherhood of Ruralists

  • Venice Beach

  • The National Gallery Residency

  • Marcel Duchamp's World Tour

  • From this moment on...

The final section contains paintings which are unfinished. It's an inspiring exhibition. Whatever your own art form is, the range of work by Peter Blake and his ability to borrow from others and make things his own, makes me want to experiment myself. I was impressed with Peter Blake's technical ability and his creative range. An exhibition well worth a visit!


Claire said...

Hi, I used to have a blog on here called 'freezing frog', dunno if you remember? We discussed music, briefly..over one or two emails. Its been a couple of years. Anyway....glad to see you are still going (and growing) Your blog is looking fantastic! I am making a website, in which I am linking to interesting sites. Can I link to yours? (Thought I had better ask first, lol)

P.S. Just discovered The Gossip, headed by Beth Ditto. Utterly amazing woman/voice/attitude.

So yeah....umm, just thought I would pop round and say hello. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi sorry, me again - my blog was called Eclectic Artisan, not freezing frog. I just found a comment I posted on your WriMo. Gosh, 2005 seems so far away...