About ms6282

I'm a consultant and trainer specialising in the recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards in the workplace. I'm based in the North West of England, but am willing to travel (almost) anywhere

Mary Swanzy the IMMA

Untitled

After a busy day on Saturday,I was up early the next morning to drive over to Holyhead to catch the boat to Dublin as I’m back over working in Naas this week. The boat arrived at the port just after midday, so I had an afternoon to do a few things rather than just spend the whole day travelling.

I decided I’d drive over to the Irish Museum of Modern Art out at Kilmainham as I hadn’t been there for a while and I quite fancied seeing the exhibition of work by the German photographer, Wolfgang Tillmans. 

Untitled

To reach the Tillmans exhibition I had to pass through several rooms devoted to the work of an Irish artist, Mary Swanzy . She was born in Dublin to a prosperous Protestant family – her father was a distinguished eye surgeon – and grew up around Merrion Square in the south side of the city but during her long life relocated several times and travelled widely. From viewing the exhibition it’s clear she was an accomplished artist, but isn’t well known, no doubt because she was a woman. As she herself is quoted as saying on the exhibition website

 ‘if I had been born Henry instead of Mary my life would have been very different’.

It was the last day of this exhibition and it was clearly popular with the Irish public as it was very busy and the catalogue had sold out. She was born in 1882 and worked right through to her death in 1978. She trained in Dublin and then in Paris and was influenced by the styles that emerged during the early 20th Century. So it was interesting to see her work having just visited the Fernand Léger exhibition at Tate Liverpool the previous day as both artists are particularly known for their Cubist and Futurist paintings, but also created works in other styles, such as Surrealism.

In her early work in Paris, she adopted a Post Impressionist style, as in this portrait of her sister

Untitled
Portrait of Miss Muriel Swayzey (1907)

She later adopted the Cubist style

Untitled
Young woman with white bonnet (1920)

Besides portraits, her subjects included landscapes and flowers

Untitled
Cubist landscape (1928)

In 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, she left Ireland travelling through Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Hawaii and Samoa. One of the rooms was devoted to paintings from this period, which have similarities with Gaugain’s work from his time in Tahiti.

Untitled

Afterwards she moved to London before relocating to Dublin at the start of WW2

Her style changed over time, becoming more figurative and in some cases adopting the Symbolist

Untitled
This is portion apart (group of sorrowing women) (1942)
Untitled
Potato Famine (1940)

Untitled
Female nudes with horse and viaduct (1930’s)

After the war she returned to London. The works from her later years, displayed in the final room, are quite different and difficult to classify. Many of them feature caricatures of people and animals. As the exhibition guide tells us

This strange assembly of characters make the images appear like scenes from the world of science fiction rather than deriving from an art historical lineage

Untitled
Revolution (1943)
Untitled
Reading employment offer column (1972)
Untitled
Opera Singer (1944)

One of the paintings from the 1940’s was a portrait of her sister. Quite different to the one she’d painted early in her career, really illustrating the evolution of her work.

Untitled
Portrait of Muriel Swanzy Tullo (1942)

Art and about in Liverpool – Part 2

Leaving the Tate we made our way across the city centre, heading towards the Walker Art Gallery. Needing something to eat we stopped off at the
Bakchich  Lebanese “street food” restaurant just off Williamson Square – the second one in the city, the original being in Bold Street.

We wanted to see the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci drawings at the Walker, which is part of the nationwide event organised by the Royal Collection Trust. A total of 144 of Leonardo’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection are on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions in Galleries across the country, including Liverpool and Manchester. In May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

Arriving at the gallery, the room where the drawings were being exhibited was, not surprisingly, very busy and was hot and stuffy.

Untitled

So we decided to take a look around the Gallery as we hadn’t been for a while. Here’s a few of the paintings we saw

Untitled
Good Time George (2008-9)by Maggie Hambling
A portrait of her friend, Liverpool born George Melly
Untitled
A view of Liverpool from across the water by L S Lowry
Untitled
French cyclists with a girl (1925) by Christopher Wood
Untitled
Kin Cattrall (2017) by Samiro Addo
A portrait of the Liverpool born Canadian actress by the winner of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018
Untitled
An early self-portrait by Rembrandt
Untitled
A bust of Einstein by Jacob Epstein

We made our way back to the Leornado exhibition. It was still crowded but managed to look around (we’ve been in much busier “blockbusters”). There were some beautiful drawings, most of them small but full of intricate detail (magnifying glasses were provided for visitors to use). This one, the head of Leda from Greek mythology was certainly my favourite.

Untitled

I didn’t take snaps of any of the others – the crowd made that difficult and the glass covering the drawings was reflective. There were a range of studies – preparatory sketches for paintings and sculptures, pages from his notebooks of anatomical and nature studies and other subjects. Some of the drawings included samples of his writing – it was tiny – famously written backwards and back to front.

You don’t often get the chance to see so many Leonardo drawings all together and I think it’s a really good initiative that they have spread them around galleries across the country. We’re off to Manchester next Saturday and hope to see some more at the Manchester City Art Gallery. I hope it’s not too crowded!

Art and about in Liverpool – Part 1

Untitled

Last Saturday we drove over to Liverpool as we wanted to have a look at a couple of exhibitions. It was a fine day and quite pleasant for walking by the waterside to the Tate Gallery on the Albert Dock.

First stop was the exhibition at the Tate of works by the Fench artist
Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955) . There were over 40 works on display, including paintings, collage, book illustrations and film spanning his career. He’s an artist I was familiar with, but hadn’t seen many of his works, so the exhibition was an opportunity to learn more.

Some early works were influenced by his experiences in the First World War between 1914 to 1917 , when he fought on the front-line at Argonne and Verdun, including an abstract Cubist style painting of soldiers playing cards.

The part of Chart, 1917 - Fernand Leger
La partie de Carte (1917)

His early works were Cubist and Futurist and he had his own approach dominated by cylindrical shapes earning the moniker “tubism”. But, as with many artists, his style changed over time

Léger’s work was heavily influenced by his surroundings and his experience of modern life. Included in the exhibition are his collaborations with architects Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand. Also on display is his experimental 1924 film, Ballet Mécanique.

He dabbled with Surrealism, often combining Surrealist and Cubist styles.


Leaves and Shell (1927)

He often used bright primary colours,particularly in his later works.

Two women holding flowers (1954)

Politically on the left, fleeing the Nazis he lived in the USA from 1940 to 1945 but returned to France after the war when he joined the Communist Party. Many of his later works were influenced by his politics.

He believed the primary purpose of making art is to enrich the lives of everybody in society. In order to bring art into people’s everyday lives he worked on posters and murals as well as on the easel. His paintings depict construction workers and people enjoying leisure activities. These everyday scenes are reflected back to us in a new light and the characters are given dignity in their normality. (Tate website)

In the next room to the Leger retrospective there was a free exhibition of works by two South Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho. It was centered on a new film commission Anomaly Strolls 2018, largely shot in deserted alleyways and pubs across Liverpool with some scenes shot in Korea. 

Extending their project News From Nowhere 2009, the artists use science fiction to question the role and importance of art to our present day society. As they have said: ‘Sci-fi is always the fable of the present. By employing a way to look at the future instead of the present, we wanted to address current issues, especially in relation to what art is and what art could be.’   (exhibition website)

Untitled

The exhibition also includes Moon and Jeon’s 2012 film El Fin del Mundo (The End of the World).

On separate screens, we see different points in time: a man remains committed to creating art as a global catastrophe unfolds, while a woman goes about a sanitised life in its aftermath. Documenting relics of the past, she comes across a strange object the man had incorporated in his artwork. The encounter triggers profound new emotions in the woman, and her strange discovery connects our two protagonists across time. (exhibition website)

Video installations are not my favourite type of art, but sometimes there’s a work that captures my interest. This was certainly the case with these two works. They weren’t too abstract, telling a story, and I’ve also been a fan of science fiction.

There was much more to see in the Tate, and there had been some changes to the free exhibitions since our last visit. But we moved on as we needed to grab a bite to eat and there was another exhibition we wanted to see at the Walker Gallery.

A walk from Grasmere

DSC05349

On Sunday I drove up to Grasmere for my first more challenging walk of 2019. I had a couple of options in mind for my route, leaving the final decision until I arrived and had a better idea of what conditions were like. After I’d parked up the going looked generally good with only a relatively light covering of snow on the high peaks so I decided on the route that would take me up Stone Arthur, a summit which looms over Grasmere village to the east, up on to Great Rigg, then south along the ridge over Heron Pike, down into Rydal village and then back to Grasmere via the “Coffin Route”.

DSC05340
View of Stone Arthur from Grasmere village

The route up to Stone Arthur is well trod – it’s a popular climb up from the village, and most of the path was “engineered”. It was a steep climb, though up the side of the hill.

As the temperature was just above freezing, I was well wrapped up, but the energetic climb meant I was heating up, so the hat and gloves came off and I opened up my coat.

DSC05342
The view back down to Grasmere
DSC05372
Approaching the summit
DSC05344
The view from the summit of Stone Arthur

On reaching its summit, it becomes clear that it’s really just a rocky outcrop at the western end of the ridge that continues to climb up to Great Rigg, a more significant peak that’s hidden when viewed from the village. After a coffee from my flask and a bite to eat I carried on. It was getting cold now on the exposed ridge with a fairly strong breeze blowing and the air temperature had dropped. Snow was clearly visible on the summit of Great Rigg

Untitled

as well as Fairfield and the other summits at the head of the Rydal valley. So I fastened up my coat and the hat and gloves went back on!

Untitled

I climbed up the ridge – and easier walk than the climb up to Stone Arthur and made the final ascent up the snow covered summit of Great Rigg using my walking poles to stop myself slipping.

Reaching the top there were great views, although cloud over to the east obscured the Coniston and Langdale fells to some extent.

Untitled
View towards Fairfield
Untitled
Looking over to Dove Crag
Untitled
Looking west
Untitled
Untitled
Looking south towards Windermere

Great Rigg is one of the summits on the Fairfield Horseshoe I’d walked in quite different conditions last summer, but this time I wasn’t going to attempt the full circuit. Instead I set off south along the ridge heading towards the village of Rydal. The walk wasn’t too strenuous, at least until the steep descent off the ridge.

Looking over towards Dollywagon Pike and Helvelyn in the distance.

DSC05368

The next peak was Heron Pike and looking backwards as I neared it’s summit there was an excellent view back to Fairfield and the other snow covered peaks at the head of the valley.

DSC05367

Carrying along the ridge there was a good view over to Red Screes in the east

DSC05371

Windermere was spread out before me to the south

DSC05370

and Grasmere to the west, with the mountains above the Langdale Valley beyond

DSC05375

Carrying on, there was Rydal Water

DSC05377

I descended steeply down towards Rydal village (using my poles to try to save my knees from too much agony), following a group of walkers, one of them carrying a baby in a sling in front of his body; an early introduction to the fells!

DSC05381

Reaching the small village of Rydal, I passed Wordsworth’s final residence, Rydal Mount

DSC05383

I took a short diversion to Rydal Hall, strolling through the gardens.

DSC05385

They have a very excellent cafe where I was able to top up my flask with a strong coffee – a shot of caffeine to re-enegerise for the last 2 or 3 miles along the Coffin Route back to Grasmere.

Untitled

Many years ago, before the road along Rydal Water and Grasmere had been constructed this is the route that the dead would be transported from Rydal, which didn’t have it’s own church and graveyard, to be buried in the grounds of St Oswald’s in Grasmere village.

Untitled

Coming into Grasmere village, I passed another of Wordsworth’s former homes, Dove Cottage

Untitled

and while I was passing St Oswald’s, I thought I’d pay homage by visiting his final resting place

Untitled
Untitled

as almost next door there’s the Gingerbread shop. It’s compulsory to take home a sample – a good way to earn Brownie points!

Untitled

I had a mooch through the small community and then made my way back to the car for the drive home. 10 miles done according to the pedometer. And hard ones at that.

Vishtèn at the Phil

Last Saturday we went out for the second evening on the trot, having been to a concert by the St Petersburg Philharmonic at the Bridgewater Hall on Friday. Almost unheard of these days! This time we drove into Liverpool for a performance at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s Music Room by the Canadian Arcadian folk band Vishtèn. We hadn’t heard of the band before I saw the advert for the concert, but having checked out their website I thought they looked like a good bet for an enjoyable evening – I wasn’t wrong!

Wikipedia tells us that The Acadians 

are the descendants of French colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descended from the Indigenous peoples of the region.

They were expelled from Canada by the British, and some migrated to Louisiana forming the Cajun population in the USA. But some managed to hang on in Canada.

The trio comprises multi-instrumentalists Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc from the Evangeline Region of Prince Edward Island, and Magdalen Islands’ native, Pascal Miousse……. Together, they pay homage to their traditions and to the historic and strong musical connections between their two island Acadian communities (Band’s website)

Their music is a mix of French, Irish and Scots influences, including energetic reels and lively balads sung in the Acadian French dialect. There were some similarities with Cajun music which I like.

Pastelle, the male member of the band played fiddle and guitar while the two female members, who are twin sisters, played various instruments, including keyboard, accordian, mandolin and tin whistles. They also provide percussion, with their feet! They efffectively tap danced while they were sitting down playing their instruments.

I really enjoyed the evening and have been following up the concert during the past week listening to a CD I bought at the concert and via Spotify. I’d certainly go to see them again if I get the chance.

Martin Parr – Return to Manchester

Untitled

After a quiet January due to both of us suffering from a bad cold and chest infection, we had a couple of busy days last weekend. On the Friday we had tickets to see the St Petersberg Philharmonic at the Bridgewater Hall with our son (the tickets were his Christmas present) so we decided to make an afternoon.

First stop was the Manchester City Art Gallery to take a look round the major exhibition of photographs of Manchester and some of the surrounding towns by Martin Parr, the well known documentary photographer, who studied at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) between 1970 and 73. (He was almost kicked out, apparently, for failing a photography theory course!)

Untitled

The city made an impression on the young lad from the suburbs. He’s quoted on the exhibition website as saying

“I remember so well arriving into Manchester in 1970, having traveled from the safety of suburban Surrey. It was exciting and felt very real. “

As a keen photographic student should, he explored Manchester, taking photographs of the city and it’s inhabitants. And since leaving the city he’s returned on several occasions . This exhibition includes photographs from his student days and subsequent visits to the city. And the City Art Gallery also commissioned him to create a new body of work on Manchester and its inhabitants in 2018.

The earliest photos were largely black and white, “street photography” featuring mainly working class locals in the streets and pubs of the city, and several series of photos one featuring the homes and residents of a street in Salford,

Untitled

another one of residents and staff in Prestwich psychiatric hospital, the interior of Yates’ Wine lodges in Manchester and nearby towns and a photographic game involving matching up couples who were photographed in Piccadilly Gardens.

Untitled

I particularly liked the 1972 series June Street, a project with his friend and fellow photography student Daniel Meadows.  They had hoped to photograph the real Coronation Street, but it didn’t exist. So instead they selected a typical street of terraced houses in Salford – June Street.

Untitled

They got the residents to pose in their living rooms. The resulting photos brought back the memories of my youth as the interiors of the houses and the clothes the residents wore were very typical of the 70’s.

Untitled
Untitled

The people appeared to have dressed up in their best outfits and were quite formally posed – quite different from Parr’s later work which are mainly (but not exclusively) informal “street photos”.

Untitled

I was never a drinker in Yates’ Wine Lodges which were but did venture inside very occasionally. But the photos, including one from the town where I grew up, really got across the atmosphere of the bare, “spit and sawdust” establishments.

Untitled

These days Parr is best known for his photographs emphasising bright vibrant colours, particularly yellows and reds, with his subjects caught unawares or in informal poses. A major part of the exhibition were photographs taken during recent visits to Manchester


……………… meeting people shopping, in hairdressers, in Mosques, in cafes, at markets, in factories, at parties, playing sport and in the gay village. He has captured scientists doing ground-breaking research at Manchester University, fans of the city’s world famous football teams and the state of the art facilities at the BBC in Media City. (Exhibition website)

and was interesting to see the city from his viewpoint.

Untitled

He must have took far too many photos to display full size so there was a large selection of smaller photos covering two sections of the wall.

Untitled

Here’s a few of my favourites

Untitled
Untitled

At one time I spent hours doing this!

Untitled
Untitled

And these photos taken in the Working Class Movement Library in Salford bring back memories of when I was more active politically

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled

The exhibition also included a short film with Martin Parr talking about Manchester and the exhibition and showing the printing of some of the photographs on display in the gallery.

Street haunting in Galway

I was only in Galway for a couple of days. I had a flight back to Manchester from Dublin late Tuesday afternoon, but I had the morning to have a bit of a wander around the city. The weather was a real mix of sunshine, rain and sleet, but wrapped up warm I managed to have a decent walk around, even getting to a few places I hadn’t previously seen. Here’s a few photos.

Untitled
Galway Hooker monument, Eyre Square
DSC05307
Music shop window
DSC05308
Untitled
The Long Walk
DSC05313
Galway Bay
DSC05316
The Long Walk
DSC05319
Galway Swans
DSC05320
The harbour
DSC05321
DSC05324
The harbour side looking towards the Claddagh
DSC05325
Street art
DSC05330
DSC05336
Irish post box
Untitled
Galway Cathed
ral
Untitled
Equality Emerging