mon 20/09/2021

Visual Arts Reviews

Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - adventures in print

Florence Hallett

When you stand in front of Helen Frankenthaler’s Freefall, 1993, in your mind you drop into its gorgeous, blue abyss. It is enveloping, vertiginous, endless and yet there’s none of the terror of falling into a void, only intense, velvety comfort as the bluest blue melts into emerald green.

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The Lost Leonardo review - an incredible tale as gripping as any thriller

Sarah Kent

It’s been described as “the most improbable story that has ever happened in the art market”, and The Lost Leonardo reveals every twist and turn of this extraordinary tale. In New Orleans in 2005, a badly-damaged painting (pictured below left) sold at auction for $1,175.

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Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Tate Modern review - a creative talent that knew no bounds

Sarah Kent

Sophie Taeuber-Arp gave her work titles like Movement of Lines, yet there’s nothing dull about her drawings and paintings. In her hands, the simplest compositions sizzle with tension and dance with implied motion. Animated Circles 1934 (main picture), consists of blue, grey and black circles on a white ground.

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Paula Rego, Tate Britain review - the artist's inner landscape like never before

Dora Neill

It is conventional for artists to reflect their surroundings, experiences and inspirations, whether this be in a subliminal manner or overtly. But Paula Rego is by no means conventional. She is a rebel, a nonconformist, a freethinker. Rego doesn’t simply reflect the world around her, but soaks it in like an emotional sponge, before squeezing every last feeling out onto the canvas with passion and vigour.

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Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

Mark Sheerin

As Karla Black’s first retrospective opens to the public, the institution she has paired with, Fruitmarket, also reopens with a new £4.3 million extension. In lockdown, the Edinburgh gallery has had the builders in.

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Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Simon O'Hagan

The domestic realm has moved to the forefront of our lives in recent times. It’s been doing service as our place of work and our place of entertainment. Eating in has replaced eating out. Our hopes and dreams have been largely limited to what’s attainable within our four walls.

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Afterness, Orford Ness review - a breath of fresh air, literally

Sarah Kent

The boat ride lasts only a few minutes, but it takes you to another world. Orford Ness is an island of salt marsh and shingle banks off the Suffolk coast inhabited by birds, rabbits, hares and a few small deer.

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Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours, Ashmolean Museum review - a rich array

Dora Neill

Drawing is the cornerstone of artistic practice, but is often overshadowed by "higher" forms of visual art, such as painting and sculpture. When we walk into an art gallery, we find ourselves gravitating towards the large, impressive oil paintings. They are considered the "main event", the best representation of art and its history – but is this really the case?

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Dark Days, Luminous Nights, Manchester Collective, The White Hotel, Salford review - a sense of Hades

Robert Beale

Did you wonder what all those creative musicians and artists did when they couldn’t perform in public last winter? Some of them started making films.

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The Making of Rodin, Tate Modern review - surrealist tendencies

Florence Hallett

Undoubtedly the strangest thing in this exhibition dedicated to Rodin’s works in plaster is a rendition of Balzac’s dressing gown, visibly hollow, but filled out nevertheless by the ghostly contours of an ample male form.

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