Archive for February, 2015

Elvis in White

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Niall Macdonald was born in the Outer Hebrides and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art.  He now lives and works in Glasgow and his latest exhibition, Elvis Nipple Plinth, is a solo exhibition at the Kendall Koppe Gallery.
We visited on Saturday and really liked the work, which yet again I’d discovered on social media (Twitter to be precise).  It’s not a very big exhibition, the Gallery space is only small, but you spend a lot of time trying to work out the links between each of the objects.  Apart from one piece, which sits on the far wall, there are two objects on each plinth, all created in white, and one object sits on top of the plinth and one on the front of the plinth.  E-Book Skull Plinth has a very small skull sitting on the plinth and an e-book reader on one side of the column.  We couldn’t decide if the skull represented the death of the book and the rise of the digital format, or if it was the artist’s thoughts about the impact of digital books.  By placing the objects out of context the artist manages to change their meaning and Niall is particularly interested in the concept of ‘must have’ objects, in particular technology.
The Elvis Nipple Plinth, the title of the show, has a bust of Elvis on the top with a teat, or nipple, attached to the plinth.  Make of these juxtapositions what you will but you will have fun doing it and come up with some interesting ideas.  The artist himself describes his Exhibition as more Space Odyssey than Elgin Marbles and the stark whiteness of the objects, plinth and gallery appear influenced by the Kubrick film which conicidentally was shown on BBC2 this weekend.
The Kendall Koppe Gallery is at 6 Dixon Street, just off St Enoch Square, so it’s very central and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11.00am to 5.00pm.  Press the buzzer for the Gallery to gain entry and it’s on the first floor. You won’t be disappointed…

Bowes Museum

Monday, February 16th, 2015
Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum

I visited this Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham for the first time this weekend after discovering it through social media.  What a unique and fantastic venue.  The building stands out in the market town of County Durham as it is built in the style of a French Chateau!  Helpful staff show you how to access the building and we started with a background to the Museum and its creators.  Appropriate for Valentine’s weekend, this is a story of the love of a couple and their combined love of the arts and collecting.  The Museum was built by them with the intention of housing their collection for the public to visit.  A very philanthropic project.

 

The art within the building is outstanding and some of my favourites included El Greco’s The Tears of St Peter; a classic blustery Boudin called Beach Scene at Low Tide; the portrait of Olive Boteler Porter which was recently discovered to be a genuine van Dyck panting; and a small atmospheric Goya titled Interior of a Prison.  The breadth of work is impressive, collected during John and Josephine’s time in Paris, and you gain a real understanding of the way in which  French art evolved to become to be a dominant force.  Although many of the art works are hung very high on the walls of the galleries, there are labels with images for each painting which means you don’t miss a thing.  As well as art there are galleries housing silver and metals, archaeological objects, toys, ceramics, furniture and textiles.  I really liked the recreations of the rooms as dining rooms, bedrooms and sitting rooms with the most fantastic items of French furniture.  Their fashion and textile collections are world renowned which his why you will find so many fashion exhibitions are held there.  Having supported their crowd funding project to restore their fifteenth century altarpiece I can now keep up to date with its progress on their blog.

 

As well as the main gallery spaces there are several temporary exhibition spaces.  These currently include the Birds of Paradise: Plumes and Feathers in Fashion exhibition which showcases breath-taking haute couture gowns including an amazing outfit by Thierry Mugler which greets you as you enter.  Another exhibition was Confected, Borrowed and Blue where artist Paul Scott has decorated familiar crockery and dinner ware with contemporary stories which include the Cockle Pickers Tea Service alongside plates with images of Gaza. You will also see work by Julian Opie scattered around the building including a walking woman who doesn’t seem to get very far and his cheeky version of the Manneken Pis as you enter! It is well worth the entry fee as you can spend the whole day here, stopping for lunch or afternoon tea in the café.  With an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition arriving in July this Museum is a must for fashionistas as well as art and museum lovers.  I definitely intend to return soon.