Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Broadstairs Folk Week

The annual Folk Week at Broadstairs went ahead a short while ago. Website here I really enjoy the atmosphere there on the streets. The Morris dancers were taking turns along the promenade with musicians and dancers.

One of the hobby horses dressed in tatters was being stopped by children, who enjoyed seeing him move his wooden mouth.

In the old shelters, groups of musicians were jamming together and clog dancers danced alongside.

There were craft, food and other stalls near the bandstand where the daily activities for families was taking place.

Quite a lot of us rushed for the marquees when we had a brief but heavy shower of rain.

Most of the day time performances were taking place in pubs this year, which was a bit of a shame I think. It would be good to have some in caf├ęs and perhaps in the bandstand or outside.

The Chimney Boys were playing in one of the hotel gardens later in the afternoon so I stood nearby to listen to them. Their facebook link here
The beach filled up with people during the afternoon enjoying themselves in the sunshine.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Oyster Festival at Whitstable

Whitstable's annual Oyster Festival opened last weekend with the Landing of the Oysters  and their blessing by the  Rev Simon Tillotson from St Peters Church, the seafarers church in Whitstable, which recocnizes St. James of Compostela, the patron saint of Oystermen.

Many thousands of people come to the festival which has a week long programme of events. Festival website here

The tide was in for the landing of the oysters and I was struck by how close the various boats were to the shore. I also had a sense of how lovely it must be  for all the children and youngsters in boats enjoying themselves.

After the blessing of the oysters the cart and clergy and dignitaries joined the parade through the town.  Some great paper mache heads and fish and the two giant figures along with a wonderful steam punkish  metal crustacean vehicle.

Along the harbour were hundreds of stalls, most with food and drink for all the crowds. There were the longest ques at the oyster stalls, which seems right as it was an oyster festival. 

It was very busy  and very hot, I needed to cool off in the small areas of shade  every so often.
But I enjoyed the atmosphere, the parade and seeing the landing of the oysters.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Red Ladies come to Margate

I was down at the harbour and Turner Contemporary Gallery on Friday to see The Red Ladies from Clod Ensemble. Their website here  They are part of the Summer of Colour, website here  Lots more events to see and take part in on the website.

This is an ongoing performance that takes identically dressed woman, in black raincoats, red head scarfs, red heels and red cases and puts them in various site specific perfomances.

 Their appearance reminds me of 1950's styles and there is something a little bit menacing and a little bit exciting about seeing them appear, silent and purposeful.

The Red Ladies appeared inside the gallery, up on the roof, around the harbour and on the steps.

Some also took to the sea in boats, waving from a dinghy and a sail boat as they sailed around the harbour arm.

Members of the public looked on some amused some curious. I liked the juxtaposition of the Black Riders from Poland, and the Red Ladies. The bikers were also down around the harbour.

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.