Space Tapestry at Tate Liverpool


The ground floor gallery at Tate Liverpool is currently showing Space Tapestry: Faraway Missions, a large-scale wall hanging made by the artist Aleksandra Mir with 25 collaborators, aged 18–24, using Sharpie marker pens..

The exhibition web site tells us that the work was

Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry and the anonymous artists who depicted Halley’s Comet in 1066

The whole work is 200 metres long and three metres high, 3000 hours over 3 years to complete. Only part of it is on show in Liverpool, the rest is being displayed at Modern Art Oxford


The main work is accompanied by 39 smaller drawings depicting a series of probes that have been sent into outer space since the 1950s


People on Paper at Abbot Hall


To finish off our short break in the Lakes we drove over to Kendal to visit the latest exhibition at Abbot Hall. People on Paper , as the title implies, features drawings of people by British artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from the Arts Council Collection with loans from the British Council Collection.

The show includes drawings by nearly 50 artists,  from the early twentieth century, including Gwen John (with the earliest drawing in the exhibition), Augustus John and Walter Sickert, right through to more modern artists such as Euan Uglow, Lucien Freud, David Hockney and Antony Gormley.

Arts Council Collection

Drawing of a Girl, Alice (1974) by Lucien Freud

Drawing people is inevitably figurative but there were some more abstract approaches, particularly this sketch by Mimei Thomson (Liquid Portrait 4, 2008)

Mimei Thompson, Liquid Portrait 4, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

The works included simple sketches (some unfinished), more complex drawings, watercolours and even some incorporation of multi-media as in Kate Davis’ drawing Partners Study (Figure 1) from 2005 which incorporates a ceramic “telephone” made from small slabs of white clay.

DAVIS__Kate_ Partners study

Walking into the exhibition, the first drawing I saw, almost facing the door, was a rather creepy sketch by L S Lowry Woman With Long Hair (1964). The other drawings in the first room, from the early part of the 20th Century were a little more “normal”, including Gwen John’s simple sketch of the head of a young woman


Head of a Woman (c 1910)

and this drawing by Harold Gilman,

Harold Gilman. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London

Woman Combing Her Hair (1911)

although there was also an early work by Antony Gorman.

The second room brought us forward in time and included works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth, Reconstruction, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Bowness, Hepworth Estate

Reconstruction (1947)

The third room included some later works, including this simple sketch by Euan Uglow

Girl close to Uglow

Girl Close To (1968)

Another enjoyable exhibition at one of our favourite Galleries. A good selection of artists with works encompassing a wide range of styles and approaches.

A couple more “Treasured Sheets”

These are another couple of drawings from the “Treasured sheets” exhibition at the Irish National Gallery that I particularly liked

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François Boucher (1703-1770) A Female Nude Reclining on a Chaise-Longue, c.1752 (Graphite, red and white chalk on brown paper)

This  is a study for Boucher’s oil painting, The Blond Odalisque, 1752, owned by the Alte Pinakothek gallery in Munich. The model probably Louise O’Murphy, a mistress of Louis XV of France,  who was of Irish descent. Reading up on the drawing later, I discovered that the model was only 14 years old at the time, which makes me feel a little uncomfortable as I look at it. But the drawing is prominently featured in the Gallery’s highlights publication and on its website.

I also liked this drawing by Alberto Giacometti.

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It’s very different to the naturalistic drawing by Boucher. Here, the seated figure, the table and other objects are suggested by a series of mainly straight lines, creating form and tone but without detail; relying on the viewer’s imagination to make out the content.

James Pyman’s “Upper Mill” at the Hepworth

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James Pyman is an illustrator known for his detailed draughtsmanship. He was commissioned by the Hepworth, Wakefield to create a large scale art work which has been installed outside the gallery.

There’s an old, abandoned mill that stands on the banks of the River Calder, directly opposite the entrance to the gallery. The artist produced very detailed pencil drawings of three sides of the building. These have been enlarged and printed onto fabric which has been “wrapped” around the actual structure, supported on scaffolding on the outside of the mill. So the illustration is actually larger than the real thing. The result is that observers can see what the mill looks like without actually seeing it.

The drawing is very realistic and from a distance could easily be mistaken for the real thing.



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Upper Mill will be on show until July 2013. It will be interesting to see what the mill looks like once the wrap is removed. Will it have deteriorated further or will the wrap have protected it from damage by the elements?

Art and about in Liverpool

I had to go into Liverpool last week to drop some equipment into the hospital. A five minute job with a two hour round trip there and back so we decided to make a day of it and have a look around town.

First stop was the Walker Art Gallery. They were between exhibitions – the previous temporary exhibitions, including “George Always” with pictures by  Maggi Hambling, which we’d visited earlier this year, had finished and the special exhibition galleries were closed while the staff set up the new exhibitions. We had a quick look round at some of the pictures in the permanent collection – including the pre-Raphaelite room, given the current BBC documentary on “the Brotherhood” – and had another lok round the John Moore’s prizewinners exhibition.

Afterwards we visited the Bluecoat Gallery – the first time we’ve been there. There was an exhibition on – “The end of the line/Attitudes in drawing”.

As the name suggests this featured drawings rather than paintings, but it did include works in related media which stretched the term “drawing” somewhat. These included animations by Naoyuki Tsuji, a 3D installation consisting of “dots” hanging down from wires over 3 storeys, by Monika Grzymaia, and abstract, almost 3-D, works by Jan Albers. I particularly liked the latter.  There were some outstanding examples of draughtsmanship by some of the artists exhibited. David Haines, an English artist living in Amsterdam, had produced some detailed, almost photographic, works, but the subject matter,scenes of violence towards people by “chavvy” types, wasn’t pleasant.

Ast was a nice day we took the opportunity to drive over to Crosby beach to have a look at Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, which we’ve ben meaning to visit for a while. We parked up by the Marine Lake and walked over to the sea front. The tide was right in and we could only see a few of the statues, most of which were only just beginning to emerge from the water.


We walked along the sea front for a while and as the tide receded more and more of the figures began to appear – at first, just the tops of their heads, then their shoulders and, eventually more and more of the body began to be revealed.. By the time we’d walked back to the end of the Marine Lake quite a lot of the figures had been revealed, but we could still see others emerging as the tide continued to recede.


We both felt that the work was quite impressive. It will look different with changing conditions and several other visits will be needed to fully appreciate the work.


Although I was a little disappointed when we arrived to find the tide was in, the revealing of the figures as it went out was actually a good way to see the work for the first time.