19 November 2013

An afternoon at Tate Britain

An evening meeting in Pimlico/Victoria gave me an ideal opportunity to pop-in to Tate Britain for a couple of hours beforehand. It was a fairly aimless ramble (as they usually are) and, helped by the connected layout of the rooms, I found myself going through some of the galleries several times.

It was a year since I had last been to Tate Britain and it had been refurbished since then, though I did not notice anything significantly different apart from the new members' area on the top floor.

The galleries were organised by date and were probably in chronological order, though I did not test this. This was helpful as I was able to walk briskly through the early rooms full of uninteresting portraits and landscapes. It was only when I got beyond 1800 did I find much that I liked.



Having seen the Stanley Spenser exhibition at Somerset House just a few weeks before it was bit of a surprise to find some of his works in the Tate. Of course they should have been expected, he is a major British artist of the last century, but I thought that I had not seen any of Spenser's works before going to Somerset House but I almost certainly did see some the last time that I was in Tate Britain. They clearly did not make much of an impact on me then.

This is part of Resurrection, a very large work, and I chose it just because it is weird. I still do not like it very much.

All the other works that I have chosen I do like.



The appeal to me in this picture comes from the mix of the abstract and the real with the waves composed of damaged aircraft. The colouring is subdued leaving the lines to do the work.



Tate Britain focuses on paintings but it does also have a number of sculptures, installations and videos. I liked this cube because it is a very precise cube despite being made, apparently, out of bits of junk of all shapes and sizes. The combination of the shapes and colours of the material made this a very striking display.

If I could trust the locals (and could afford it) I would love to have this in my front garden.



A do not usually like landscape and those that I do like are normally very dark and gloomy. Like this one. They heavy use of grey almost hides the detail, such as the man and his dog in the bottom-left corner.

This is how I imagine Scotland.



Technically, I suppose that this is a landscape too but I love it as for its abstract qualities with its large simple shapes, simple colours and contrasting blotches of white.



There were a couple of rooms dedicated to Henry Moore and while I would not call myself a Moore fan (I'm not even sure that I like any sculpture that much) this family grouping has a lot of charm despite, or because of, the passionless pose. Another candidate for my front garden.



I think that this may be a landscape too (I may have to revise my opinion on landscapes) but it is even more abstract than the last one. Indeed, when I was going through my photos to pick a few for the blog I chose this one on the grounds that it was an abstract. It is only now looking at it again that it has become a Winter scene with mountains, trees, a village and lots of people.



The one part of my visit that was planned was the hardest. I wanted to go back to the William Blake room but it was not where I remembered it and the signs to it ran out long before I go there. It was only when looking at a map on the wall my the entrance as I was leaving that I discovered that it was in a different part of the building altogether.

Other people obviously had the same problem and the two stranded galleries only had one other person in when I eventually found them.

The beauty of William Blake's work speaks for itself.

Tate Britain did all that I asked it to, including proving coffees and cake, and the mix of works was stimulating, exciting and (literally) arresting.

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