Saturday, 29 March 2008

The National Gallery

Went to the National Gallery yesterday. I had forgotten what a wonderfull place it is, packed with the most beautifull treasures. I realised how my taste and appreciation of paintings has changed since my last visit a number of years ago. I found myself inspecting brushwork close up, examining skin tones and the painted folds of silks and satins.
The exhibition by their resident artist Alison Watt,'Phantom' was awe inspiring. Huge canvasses depicting folds of white cotton. The painting shown here, ' Pulse', is 304.8x213.4 cm. The sheer size of these works is what makes them so powerfull I think, it is as though the swathes of cotton are almost enveloping you the more you look at the painting.
There was a short film on the creation of these paintings, showing Alison at work in the National Gallery's studio. She was surrounded by the paintings, all at various stages, she used everything from a scaffold to a ladder to a stool to reach areas of the huge canvasses. Very meticulous in her brushwork, the greys and whites blending smoothly to create the folds of the cotton, the basic lines of the folds she had sketched roughly at the start, though she said that the paintings always evolved and changed during the process.
A fascinating film, a wonderfull exhibition.

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