Saturday, 22 February 2014

Artists' Textiles in Bermondsey

Popped into the Fashion and Textile Museum in the old warehouse district that is apparently now known as Bermondsey Village... Fascinating to see how Dali, Picasso and co were marketed to the fashion-conscious, and intriguing how many post-war British artists became involved - although my favourite pieces were the few pre-war block-printed textiles in the first room. There's a nice intro to the exhibition here, with much better photos. Rather less women artists than men, but the other way round I think with the dress designs.

Not many artists could turn a scribbled date into a commercial design.... Viva Picasso!

Salvador Dali a textile designer? 

Produce books like this and who'd want a plastic one?

Wonderful designs from the 1930s

Even Cubists have to earn a crust - this fabric is by Georges Braque

Fun to see designs (by Warhol) 'on the wall' and in frock form... 

I love this photo of Andy Warhol - not only sulky, but young too. Not unlike Julian Assange.

An intriguing take on Paddington Station in simpler times, courtesy of Saul Steinberg, 1952

Steinberg again, with cowboys

And again, with apologies to Picasso?

Fabulous John Piper design...

And a close-up... but did people make dresses out of this? And if so, who wore them?

Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol is at the Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, London, until 17th May 2014 .

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Some Fragments of Medieval Glass

I came across these windows by accident recently, while sheltering from the rain. The coloured glass was saved when religious zealots destroyed the stained glass in what was then the Abbey church in Bristol, and incorporated into a new set of windows after World War II. I need to find out more about this glass, which I think is 14th or 15th century; it certainly has the humanity and character of Gothic art. Looking at it, I was reminded of the looting and destruction currently going on in Syria, the effects of which will be felt for centuries to come.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Winter Blues? Come to a Ravilious Lecture!

If you're fed up of rain, wind and general greyness, why not come along to one of the lectures I'm giving on Eric Ravilious over the next few weeks? You'll get to see lots of lovely pictures - a few will be wintry but I promise not to show 'Wet Afternoon'.

Eric Ravilious, Wet Afternoon, 1938 (private collection)
First up is 'Eric Ravilious: Watercolour, Wood Engraving and Wedgwood' at the Bristol Art Gallery on February 12. I think you may have to be a Friend of Bristol Art Gallery to get a ticket, but maybe you are one already, or would like to become one. The city's municipal art museum has some great exhibitions lined up, including the touring show of Jeremy Deller's 'English Magic' later in the spring, and the fascinating international mixed show 'City Lives', which is on at the moment. Info about joining here.

A slightly different, but equally venerable venue next. At 6.30pm on Weds 12 March I'm teaming up with Alan Powers, author of the excellent new monograph on Ravilious, to talk about the artist at Hatchards, opposite the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Alan and I will each give an illustrated presentation, leaving plenty of time for conversation.

A couple of days later, on Saturday March 15, I'll be at Towner in Eastbourne, this time lecturing specifically on Ravilious's wood engravings as part of their 'Ravilious Revealed' season. I say 'specifically', but there's always room to sneak in a watercolour or two, and some other examples of his design work.

Eric Ravilious, Farmhouse Bedroom, 1938 (V&A)
Finally, at least for the time being, I'm off to Cambridge, where another great British bookshop, Heffers, is hosting 'Eric Ravilious: A Life in Pictures'. That's probably going to be after Easter. Funny to think that thirty years ago I used to go in there for the latest Iain Banks or Martin Amis. Come to think of it, Heffers was probably where I first encountered Ravilious, in Helen Binyon's memoir.

Hope to see you soon!