sketches from exhibitions

i thought i’d collect some of these imagesP1120158together on here having previously posted some  of them on twitter.  if i’m honest, i’m not the best at getting out and about to dozens of exhibitions, but there’s a few i’ve been to fairly recently (does six months ago count as fairly recently?  i think it does), that i’ve really enjoyed.

last december i visited the paul klee retrospective at tate modern in london, with 40 students and a couple of colleagues as part of a college trip.  i certainly enjoyed the work study of paul klee's fish– making a couple of studies of his fish which i thought were colourful, humorous and i liked the patterning on them too.

i’d been to see flesh and bone – henry moore and francis bacon – at the ashmolean musuem in oxford at the end of october.  this was a great exhibition that presented studies from francis bacon's figures at the base of a crucifixionthe work of the two artists in such a way as to cleverly enable comparison between key works.  the first sketch is from bacon’s second version of his triptych – figures at the base of a crucifixion (i think).  the other two are from moore’s sculptures: the king and queen (two seated figures that were placed in front of one of bacon’s seated screaming popes), and a reclining figure that was positioned immediately below bacon’s triptych drawing attention to the contorted figures produced by both artists.  The reclining figure was fascinating and looked study of henry moore's king and queenlike a completely different piece of work when viewed from different angles.

the last sketch is from a visit to see grayson perry’s the vanity of small differences at birmingham museum and art gallery.  the exhibition is a narrative told through six tapestries, essentially giant (2m x 4m), illustrations – “the tapestries tell the story of class mobility and the influence social class has on our aesthetic taste”.   study of henry moore's reclining figureI was fascinated by the attention to detail, the bright colours, the scale of the images, some of the grotesque characters and the handwriting incorporated into the images.

I’ve been to see it twice so far, and felt so enthusiastic about the exhibition that i took my first year art students to see it (even though it had nothing to do with our current project).  they seemed to enjoy it, anyway – trying to draw the narrative from the clues in the work and the boys were particularly drawn to the corporate logos and the grisly death presented in the final tapestry in the of grayson perry's dogs  the vanity of small differences is still on in birmingham for a couple of weeks (before it moves up to liverpool), and if you’re nearby, i’d recommend popping into bm&ag to see it (especially as it’s free!)

as a memento of the visit i decided to sketch each of the dogs depicted in the series of tapestries (which were inspired by the inclusion of the dog in hogarth’s a rakes progress).  all of these are mementos, i suppose –  reminders that i was there, marking the occasion and they are more personal to me and evoke more memories than photographs.  i also simply enjoy making the images, drawing for the sake of drawing – because i love to draw.




About chris cowdrill

i'm an illustrator, i do graphic design and i teach graphics at a college
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