I think I have said before that I am lucky to live in an area where our local libraries are still very good, with extended opening hours, and new books, seemingly every week. I suspect that the librarian responsible for purchasing is a bit of an art fan, as there always seems to be lots of book on art. I have borrowed several in the past few weeks, with varying levels of enjoyment.
First, " The Unsophisticated Arts" by Barbara Jones, first published in 1951 and now republished by Little Toller books
I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book, but to me, the text came across as rather patronising and elitist, and I believe the intention at the time was to be completely the opposite. Perhaps this is changing styles of writing, and I'll need to seek out the opinions of other people. The drawings are beautiful, particularly a two page spread of quick sketches made at the beach
and a detailed drawing of party food.
Next, 3 wonderful books of the paintings of Laura Knight. Laura Knight in the open air, Laura Knight at the theatre, and Laura Knight Portraits. These are beautiful collections, and the quality of the reproductions in each book is very high.
Lastly, a book I wanted to enjoy, Constable, the making of a master, published alongside the exhibition of the same title at the V and A. Although the cover image is spectacular, the remainder of images in this book seem to be very dark and details highlighted in the text are extremely tricky to see. The text is also frustrating as it constantly refers to images that are not in the book, so seem a little pointless to mention, unless you are a scholar of the influences that Constable was seeing when he was painting. On a more positive note, the book has made me want to get to the exhibition to see the paintings in real life.
Two exhibitions in person this week. First Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy which finishes this weekend. Huge, powerful mixed-media works, many of which include sheets of lead from the roof of Cologne Cathedral. I found this exhibition rather overwhelming, both in the subject matter and in the number of pieces on display, but am glad I went.
I love these paintings, and if I could afford it, I would have bought the huge piece that incorporates his ripped up, checked shirt as part of the surface of the canvas.
And yet more art, as this months' round robin has the theme of the Matisse cut outs. Luscious colours and shapes to work with.