Exhibition at Tate Britain
5 June – 1 September 2013
I visited Tate Britain yesterday. It's been a while since I have seen an exhibition in London and after sifting through several Time Out reviews and the like, I decided that it was the Lowry exhibition that appealed to me the most. So I pootled off to Pimlico in the search of some beautiful paintings. The Lowry was indeed a fabulous show - expertly curated with the first and last rooms being full of wow-factor to make sure visitors left on a high. There was also a lovely room where the staff had painted the walls a darker shade of grey in order to accentuate the Lowry pieces. Stunning. However, it was the second show which really did it for me - as is always the way with these things. It's often the smaller, less advertised shows that I enjoy the most.
|1964 View of the Bay oil on board © Patrick Caulfield 2001. All rights reserved, DACS. Estate of Patrick Caulfield 2005. All rights reserved, DACS|
After an awesome smoked salmon and tuna salad at the sandwich bar around the corner I popped back into Tate with my friend Karen to see the Caulfield exhibition. We couldn't have visited two more contrasting exhibitions!
Since the 1960s, Patrick Caulfield (1936–2005) has been known for his iconic and vibrant paintings of modern life which spice-up traditional artistic practices such as the good old still life. Celebrating the artist’s mastery of colour, graphic elegance as well as his wit, this exhibition at Tate Britain gives everyone the chance to reassess his influences and the legacy of his approach to painting. For me, it was a breath of fresh air, making me want to plunge head first into the world of paint.
|1962 Vases of Flowers oil on board 121.9 x 121.9 cm © Patrick Caulfield 2001. All rights reserved, DACS. Estate of Patrick Caulfield 2005. All rights reserved, DACS.|
What I found particularly interesting was his attraction to three subjects - plants, pots and chairs. These three things seem to feature a lot in all of his compositions (along with other things of course, like windows). The first two themes are the most interesting to me, the first because, as we all know, I am balmy for plants, the second because it is what my mum is interested in. I quite liked our two outlets being merged on a board.
I am not entirely sure why Caulfield painted plants so much, especially roses and those typical 1970s houseplants like Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) plants and Spider plants, but I do love them so very much. In some of his pieces he uses collage and cuts out the flowers so that they come out photographic in quality, while the rest is flat, bright and typically Caulfield in style. I like that technique, although possibly not so much on his work. It is something I myself would like to explore in the studio though...
|1963 Black and White Flower Piece oil on board 121.9 x 121.9 cm © Patrick Caulfield 2001. All rights reserved, DACS. Estate of Patrick Caulfield 2005. All rights reserved, DACS.|
His use of line is formidable - it makes me jealous. His way of designing a complete and interesting composition with as little in the picture as possible is also enviable. There is so much I think we can learn from this guy's work. It's not botanical art by no means, but it is still life. What I am taking away from this show is his use of scale, colour, line and collage. I can't believe I am saying this, but it is time to go even bigger... Sorry Caroline, you are now too small! If you are in the area - I totally recommend this show.