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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Visit to an exposed section of the Beacon Limestone, Hollow Lane, Shepton Beauchamp. Unfortunately much of this exposure is now overgrown.  This, I believe, is the type section.


Visited the Royal Academy of Arts in London yesterday to see, Intrigue, James Ensor by Luc Tuymans and Abstract Expressionism exhibitions.

The Abstract Expressionism Exhibition was enormous with enormous paintings and unfortunately was extremely crowded.  In general, I don’t warm to abstract expressionist art.  I find it too big, too brash and too American!  Having said that I do like Rothko’s paintings (and Barnett Newman – under-represented here).  I think that it is the multiple layers of paint that I appreciate.  The layers hidden beneath. This was a bit of an epiphany for me.  Rothko & Newman’s work appears less organic and much more structured than other artist’s exhibited.  I also like Philip Guston but I would almost say that the three people that I like are not really expressionist’s ie.  they’re not flinging their guts onto the canvas.  I learnt a lot from this exhibition and it’s got me thinking (again!).

Adrian Searle writing a review for The Guardian Newspaper points out that there are very few female artist’s exhibited so perhaps that was also an issue for me.  Joan Mitchell’s painting illustrated in this review suddenly ‘works for me’, maybe it’s the scaling down effect?  The same with the Clifford Still paintings.  Actually I really really like Clifford Still’s paintings – I need to go to Denver to see more of them!

Intrigue, James Ensor by Luc Tuymans was a complete contrast.  Small exhibition crowded with mostly small-medium sized images.  Symbolism is much more to my taste.  Laura Cummings reviews this exhibition for The Observer and there are lots of good photographs of the work here.  Ensor worked outside the mainstream.  Varied, idiosyncratic and isolated his work just didn’t fit in.  What do his pictures say to me?  Life is short, people live behind masks.  Religion clearly plays a big part in Ensor’s life and he created images of the seven deadly sins.  There is loads more about Ensor at his online museum.


I have just read a biography of Egon Schiele, Masterpieces of Art, recently published by Flame Tree Publishing.  I had no idea that his subject matter was so broad, nor his vision so idiosyncratic.  What a pity that he died in the great flu epidemic at the age of 28.

More views from ‘on high’.   These are views from the i360 that has recently opened in Brighton.   Looking west the coast round to Chichester is visible and looking  east you can see along the chalk cliffs to Bexhill on Sea.  Teresa Machan writing for The Telegraph newspaper says that this structure was conceived as a vertical pier.  It’s the world’s tallest moving observation tower.

Visit to Westminster Cathedral yesterday.  What an amazing place!  Full of extraordinary tombs, sculptures, monuments and epitaphs, plus the oldest door in England.  Vanitas were everywhere.  Death was symbolically recognized as always being close at hand in a way that we completely ignore and avoid today.  Death was part of life and was accepted as such.

From the old to the new.  Views from the Switch Room at Tate Modern.