Art Talks and discovering artists new to me

John Atkinson Grimshaw, Liverpool from Wapping

Last night I went to a really interesting talk by Sue Edwards on the stories behind paintings. She was not a painter but an art historian and so her slant was on the hidden stories, the significance of objects/settings, the social commentary, the background of the artist etc. And she really knew her subject. Fascinating. Some I knew some I didn't. It was a really interesting night.

This was one of the paintings she showed and it introduced me to an artist I didn't know, John Atkinson Grimshaw. The light in his 'moonlight' series was beautiful - here the warm colour from the lights on the right, it's security and safeness contrasting with the cool light and possible danger of the docks on the left. The glow reflecting off the cobbles and those difficult dusk/night colours, things disappearing into the gloom in the distance are all handled brilliantly. I'd like to go and see some of these in real life.

His faeries I could live without! very Victorian and why the poor little things had to be floating chillily naked in diaphonous drapes isn't quite clear - apart from an excuse for Victorian gentlemen to look at nekkid ladies ;>) The Victorians did love their fairies (along with nymphs and shepherds who also had clothes with a tendency to fall off ) - I suppose our modern equivalent is the sexy vampire?

This group often has interesting speakers, though lately we've had a couple who hadn't checked out the experience level of the group and talked as if we were all total beginners - boring in the extreme. A group of 100, long established artists , is highly unlikely to be all beginners! The poor speakers found rows of empty seats facing them after the mid session coffee break as some members bailed out! but still they didn't change the pace or level in response to the lack of enthusiasm. A good speaker should be able to adapt if things clearly aren't interesting their audience, working on the wing and not simply sticking to the formula they've worked out.

The group consists of varied levels from enthusiastic, experienced amateur to a high number of professionals, the speaker should certainly have learned this before deciding on their presentation.

I've been asked to speak to societies and won't! I can teach, I'll do workshops - but demos and talks - NO!!! I think you owe it to the audience to be good, interesting, knowledgeable, flexible and responsive to each different audience - involving them and invoking replies and ideas and also fun. I'd mess up the demo, hate all those eyes watching my every move ...... not for me!


Jean Spitzer said…
Yes, the vampire probably is our modern equivalent. I can live without all the hyper-romantic stuff too.
vivien said…
yes I don't do icky!

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