I was advised by my lecturer to visit the Sigmar Polke show at the Tate before it finished in February so I arranged a day trip to London and I was not disappointed.
This show is a classic example of what you get from a book when you investigate an artist and the experience of actually seeing their work in the flesh. The images may have been familiar in part to me, but to see them in reality was to fully appreciate their scale and the painterly process.
The most clever have to be the ‘rastor’ paintings which mimic the printing process. I especially enjoyed his embracing of the painterly errors or marks, the drops and splodges of the artists hand and its echo of the printing process which is also liable to ‘mistakes’ in view of its mass production.
The ‘rastor’ paintings you have to see in the flesh to fully appreciate their depth of vision, somewhat like a ‘trick of the eye’ the information distorts and changes as you move closer and further away from the image. Somewhat like the reverse of a Rothko painting which is best enjoyed at 18 inches, these in terms of process are best appreciated at 18 inches but the image becomes fully apparent as you stand far further back. I am in awe of the cleverness of this technique.
What also interested me was his use of printed materials as the base of his paintings, I have also been on and off, using cloth with print as a base for some of my works, so to see his take on this was very encouraging. I feel it already has interest and depth as a work just as a printed piece of material on a frame before you even start to paint upon it.
Also, he is not afraid to use text and numbers in his work. Despite my current line of inquiry I have always been historically very nervous of using text in paintings, I feel it is the juxtaposition of 2 opposites, the logic of language and numbers and the illogical process of painting and what it can become. I am beginning to realize that my initial fear and uncomfortable feeling about this alliance is allowed, that is is not such a foreign bedfellow as a first thought, they are just semiotics turned illogical by the medium of paint.
His classic sums painting with illogical = numbers is perhaps the best example of this alliance.
A great show.
I also went to see the Egon Schiele show at the Coultard but sadly it was all booked out so I ended up wandering round the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. It was a delight to see the darling of the artworld, Grayson Perry has taken over the portrait Gallery and his work was in display, presented almost like interventions throughout the entire level 1 space. Brilliant as ever.