I visited the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 exhibition at M Shed while I was visiting Bristol. It was packed with amazing images from all around the world. I was expecting to see mostly animals but the subjects were broad, from insects to ice formations to birds to moss.
My favourite images were those that focused in on natural patterns and colour arrangements, for example an incredible photograph of glacier melt-water with patterns reminiscent of a forest fire.
One of the most striking was that of a red fox with an Arctic fox in it’s mouth. The photographer had managed to capture a profile shot where the position of either creatures heads mirrored each other.
This visit has inspired me to look closer at the natural world around me and be curious in order to discover some of these unique patterns and textures that could inform my work.
We also visited the Bristol Museum.
I saw a Chinese ink painting which has influenced me to work with Indian ink in life drawing FMP.
I also saw some fantastic contemporary ceramics by Wan Liya. “Birds Twitter and Fragrance of Flowers” consists of commonplace domestic disposable items such as bleach and water bottles rendered in porcelain. They were white and decorated with classical Chinese blossom designs in the style from the 18th century, known as famille rose. The concept elevated everyday items to pieces of decorative art, questioning attitudes towards waste and consumption.
We watched a video piece, “Board” (1993), by John Wood and Paul Harrison where the pair performed a choreographed routine using a large white wooden board, similar to that used in exhibitions, balancing, passing and walking across it. The concept was a visualisation of the dynamics and trust essential to a collaborative creative process. It was described as “a kind of Minimalist ballet”. It demonstrated the emotional and physical support gained from working together as well as rejecting the ideal of individual artistic genius.
I loved “Untitled (Mississippi Mud Drawing)” (Mississippi mud on paper, 1991) by Richard Long. The artist had taken the liquid mud and poured it down the paper, allowing it to form a pattern of rivulets running down the page. I liked the idea of bringing the earth into a gallery setting and sparking appreciation for the wonderful patterns created by nature.
“The Chimney, Mornington Crescent” (oil on canvas, 1987-88) by Frank Auerbach caught my eye. The vibrant colours swirled across the canvas in a free, expressive style yet it was still possible to pick out the features of a street scene. This technique created a brilliant sense of movement and vibrance to the scene. Auerbach did not paint outdoors but instead worked in his studio from a sketch, bringing his own sensory and emotional experience to the painting.