Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mondrian and Colour exhibition in the Turner Contemporary, Margate.

The Turner Contemporary Gallery is showing an exhibition of Mondrian's work called Mondrian and Colour.
Gallery website here

Farmhouse with Wash on the Line (circa 1897)

I have been to see the show a few times now and really recommend it.  The exhibition takes work from Mondrian's early start to the abstract grid designs of his later life.  These geometric canvases are probably what most people would recognize as they have been used by designers and advertisers to date.

But for me the highlights of the show are the earlier works, where Mondrian is exploring the spiritual in art. I feel a sympathy for this process as my work is also about this exploration.

 The Red Mill (1911)

There are some beautiful landscapes and tree paintings and a few of the iconic windmills that were a common sight for Mondrian. I loved the colours he used from the more subtle tones to his later exploration of colour as its own force, such as in the red windmill.

Devotion 1908 image from Haags Museum
There were several portraits in the exhibition of which Devotion was one that stuck me the most. A beautiful portrait of a young woman gazing upward and giving us a sense of the spirituality that Mondrian was exploring.

 Mondrian became interested in Theosophy 1908  and in 1909 he joined the Dutch branch of the Theosophical Society in common with a number of other painters at the time.
He also  became interested in Steiner and Goethe's theories on colour.  Link to an article on Goethe's theories on colour here Link to Theosophical society here
Link to Steiner house here

"His journey towards abstraction accelerated after 1908 when he became interested in theosophy and, in particular, colour theory. He came to believe that painting could simultaneously embody nature and spirituality. After reading Goethe’s Theory of Colours he saw this union as best captured in blue (representing darkness) and yellow (representing light), with red intensifying each colour. “To approach the spiritual in art,” he wrote, “one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual.” extract from the review in the New Statesman.

 Mondrian discovered cubism in Paris where he returned after the war in 1919. It was through cubism that he found a way to move from representation altogether. In using these lines and colour combinations Mondrian was seeking a way to express the underlying spiritual order in life. He was using a clear universal aesthetic language that he and others in the Stijl movement hoped would transcend divisions in cultures

The exhibition is well worth a visit or two especially to see the unfolding of Mondrian's work. It is on till 21st of September.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wingham Wildlife Park

Ruth and I went to visit the Wingham Wildlife Park last week. I always have mixed feelings about seeing the animals in wildlife parks, on the one hand I really enjoy seeing them but on the hand I wish they were not in captivity. There were also a lot of birds like the ducks with their ducklings that were just free to come and go.

Here in the Wingham Wildlife Park the enclosures were all pretty good. They are investing in upgrading all the facilities for people and animals since they took over the site.
Website here

I liked the fact that their two lions were rescued from a French circus and that they are involved in other conservation projects.

There is a little bit of everthing in the park including animals like lions, tigers and meerkats, owls and birds of prey a tropical house, otter enclosure, penguins pool and peacocks wandering the site along with exotic chickens.

I found quite a few feathers on the paths walking around, lovely huge goose feathers I think, an owl feather and some from the tropical birds and others I can't identify.

The peacocks seemed to enjoy showing off their beautiful feathers when not chasing the chickens from potential food.

You could buy food for the meerkats, which we did and you can look over their enclosure and drop the food in. I liked that you could get quite close to some of the animals with warnings of course about putting fingers near them.

They have various experience days including one where you can help feed the tigers or be in with the lemurs and photography sessions too.

Monkton Open Gardens

The village of Monkton holds an annual Open Gardens each year. I really love the idea of opening your gardens to the public and several organisations promote them, including the National Gardens Scheme link here  Monkton has some lovely old buildings and a lot of their gardens were looking  beautiful even if they were not part of the Open Gardens.

It was a bit too hot on that day for me, but a brilliant blue sky and bright colours.  I liked the fact that these were ordinary gardens, so not immaculate, but still lovely.  The owners were all keen to talk about their gardens and plant varieties, something I'd have a problem with, as I forget all my plant names. It is good to see where particular plants thrive in the gardens, what conditions work best for them.

Most of the gardens had plant sales so we had a boot full on the way home, resisting giant cacti and focusing on perennials. It seems a fitting activity to take away a bit of the gardens you like for your own garden.

The Village Hall sold refreshments and the popular home made cakes to take away and they were doing a good trade with all the visitors. We were all walking along the village holding the guide maps in our hands.

I have managed to nearly fill my garden this year so can only buy limited plants now, but I enjoy seeing all the variety and remembering where I bought them from.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sandwich Le Weekend

Ruth and I went over to Sandwich for their Le Weekend event.    The small station is one of those places where the platforms and surroundings have flower beds and the ticket office has books to read, just lovely.  Walking up what I think would have been the ramparts I was struck by the amount of yew trees and a lovely sense of ancient place.

 Sandwich is a picturesque town and apparently is one of the best preserved medieval  towns in England. The centre is a maze of streets with lovely buildings everywhere you look.  Sandwich was also a main Cinque Port until the river Stour silted up. Boats are still moored along the river though. Sandwich website here

It's a bit confusing though at first finding your way around, but as the town is quite small you can walk around easily. We went into St Peters Church for a brocante just as a thunder storm opened up.

Fortunately the sun came out not too long after and the stall holders were able to fix their stalls.
Down by the river Stour were vintage cars and bikes, a medieval camp and food tents.

The Barbican anf Tollbridge are well preserved buildings  and people had to pay tolls to cross the bridge till 1977.  The toll charges are still listed inside the Barbican. It's a bit of a competition with cars around there and single file along the bridge. The streets are pretty narrow of course but there is a square in front of the ancient Guildhall, where on this weekend there was a French Market, the best place for baguettes and croissant.