Tuesday was almost as grey and uninviting as Monday. I didn't want a second housebound day so I caught a bus into the city centre to visit The Graves Gallery on top of The Central Library.
Apart from checking out current exhibits, I knew there was going to be a free talk at 1pm - all about the abstract artist John Hoyland who was born and raised in Sheffield.
I have always been drawn to art - if you will pardon that expression - and I consider myself to be quite open-minded about artistic fayre. However, I must admit that I have often been totally unimpressed by abstract canvases. Sometimes I think this is a failing in me. Perhaps I am blinkered or unenlightened but I simply cannot help what I feel.
Before the talk, I saw a wonderful, quirky tapestry created by Grayson Perry in 2014. In a light-hearted manner, it seeks to capture what it means to be British. It is titled "Comfort Blanket" and I was of course pleased to find "Yorkshire Pudding" woven in there though I could not find "The Beatles".
The talk was by a bearded academic in a stripey woollen sweater. He mainly spoke about the differences between a canvas that Hoyland created in 1969 and another that he finished before his death in 2011. I could see depth and interest in the newer picture but the earlier one left me stone cold - just big blocks of colour. What possible merit could there be in that? It reminded me of similar canvases by the American abstract painter - Mark Rothko.
It was all two hours well spent and afterwards I went to the indoor Moor Market for a sausage and tomato sandwich and a mug of tea before visiting the T.J.Hughes department store to buy a new shirt. Then I rode back home on the Number 82 bus. Living on the edge.
|Memories of Rain by John Hoyland (14.4.09)|
I'm with you on certain types of abstract art. And yet, there have been a few pieces that I've seen that absolutely struck me to tears and I've had no idea why. Art is a very subjective subject, isn't it?ReplyDelete
Your life is ALMOST as exciting as mine, Mr. P.
Living the dream MM, living the dream.Delete
We ,may not like abstract art but it's beneficial to take a look at it. We may gain something from it later on.ReplyDelete
I have often found merit in abstract art but not in big blocks of colour. I just don't get that kind of thing.Delete
What Red said :)ReplyDelete
Do all Canadians think the same?Delete
No, but he often says what I'm thinking, or sometimes just what I wished I had thought of :)Delete
It's a shame you have never met in person. You could have made beautiful music together.Delete
One's appreciation is a personal thing...a personal, individual appreciation, What one person likes/loves doesn't mean another does, or has to.ReplyDelete
We are individual in our likes and dislikes. I, for one, like to be housebound. I hate having to go out...I prefer staying at home, as humble as my "home" may be! lol
You are right about individual tastes.Delete
It wouldn't do for us all to be, or think, the same. There would be no variety in life. Art, in most of it's forms, brings colour into our lives, and it's up to us to choose what pleases us most.Delete
Very true CG.Delete
I'm glad you found something interesting to do on a cloudy and rainy day. I agree with Lee in that our individual appreciation of art is very personal. When it comes to abstract art there is some I love and some I just don't understand. But I do enjoy it when I am able to see my own interpretation of an abstract piece even if it does not match any one else's.ReplyDelete
I believe that John Hoyland encouraged individual "takes" on his work. There was never a "right" interpretation.Delete
I don't like abstract art. I just don't "get" it.ReplyDelete
I'm pleased to see Yorkshire pudding immortalised along with my husband's name, Morris!
Morris not Maurice? Did he invent morris dancing?Delete
More often than not, I don't "get" abstract art, but I am willing to have a look and listen to an explanation.ReplyDelete
As for the tapestry, I wonder how long it took to make!
Many, many hours. A true labour of love.Delete
I like Kandinsky and art like that so I must like some abstract art but splashes of colour just flicked on a canvas do nothing for me.ReplyDelete
At first I thought someone had immortalised you in a tapestry, lol
You are more cultured than I am Briony - with your knowledge of Kandinsky. I think that Grayson Perry must have been secretly visiting this blog. Hiya Grayson! Nice tapestry mate!Delete
The earlier version (looked it up) might be nice as wrapping paper but I really do like the later version above. I'd hang it on my wall. Wondered at first whether you'd caught a flash reflection but it's in the painting.ReplyDelete
The academic fellow talked through that picture and the background to it in some detail. Perhaps that white burst suggests the moon or a car headlight (John Hoyland was in a life changing car crash one night just before the picture was painted. He also underwent heart surgery.)Delete
Wouldn't it be good if actually he just thought big white splash in the picture would look great? That's my kind of explanation. Oh! Lecture finished early.Delete
Even if Hoyland had thought that, the decision would have emerged from his inner psyche.Delete
The information that Hoyland was involved in a car crash gives a lot of potential meaning to the painting and, for me, makes a lot of difference in its appreciation.ReplyDelete
I notice that the gallery visitor's jacket uses the same colour scheme.
Ha! Well spotted Philip!Delete
I know this was not the purpose of your post, but the words TJ Hughes leapt out at me.They have a branch in Eastbourne and when I used to visit my mother we would go in there. I loved their clothing and also stocked up on items to give as presents at Christmas. I do miss going there and your post just reminded me.ReplyDelete
I have bought several shirts from T.J.Hughes. It is a funny kind of shop and I have no idea who T.J.Hughes is or was.Delete
I sometimes like abstract art, and sometimes not. It's a very subjective thing, and it can be hard to define why one canvas feels effective and another doesn't. Rothkos, for example, can seem underwhelming on their own -- depending on the color choices -- but I once went to see a Rothko retrospective and seeing multiple canvases together in a single gallery was quite spectacular.ReplyDelete
I love the Grayson Perry tapestry! I'd love to look it over in detail.
I would not wish to be entirely dismissive of abstract art. Sometimes it really sings to me in ways that naturalistic art cannot.Delete
Dear Mr PuddingReplyDelete
Thank you so much for introducing me to the wonderful world of Grayson Perry. Not just a great artist but a wonderful human being. Your post this morning sent me searching for more ...all 3 episodes of his Identity portraits and the Summer Exhibition video. I loved his sensitivity and curiosity about all his sitters and his non judgemental outlook.
Time not wasted on a chilly Spring morning as I can knit and watch .
Forgot to say how much I enjoyed Tommy's little adventure, hope it had a happy ending. Adele
Hello Adele... I am honoured to have been the one who led you to Grayson Perry. He is a bright and surprising artist. That tapestry was so joyful.Delete
As for Tommy, I have no idea how things turned out for him. You will have to write or imagine your own ending. Thanks for calling by again.
I like the tapestry but I looked up the other guy and can't I liked his paintings. Not my thing.ReplyDelete
Abstraction can sometimes seem simply self-indulgent and rather exclusive too.Delete