Monday, 22 October 2012

The Buzz in Bermondsey

There is a new 'Buzz in Bermondsey'. I was there to see the debut of the newest of Jay Jopling's White Cube Galleries. There was excitement in the air. Patch and I arrived 15 minutes before the opening and we found ourselves to be a part of a tremendous queue. There was slight pushing and shoving as people were trying to keep their spot in the line. Everyone around me was buzzing, wondering what will happen next. The security showed no favouritism. People were trying desperately to get in, stating they were press. "The press opening happened earlier, you will just have to wait for general entry." We were the third wave of people to get in and even then we had to wait in-front of the gallery doors before finally being able to enter the show. It was unlike any other gallery opening I had been to.

While in the gallery, there was a mix of people there. Some well known, such as Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, Paul Freud, Grayson Perry, and so on, then there was the rest of us. The young artists looking at the older generation, seeing if the next genre in art had been declared by anyone, or if we still had a chance to rise to the occasion to break modern and post modernism. There were the fashionista dancing to a different beat from the rest of the fashionable trend wearers. All of them making their statements as they strolled from room to room. The business workers were there, the art lovers and collectors, and the curious from the streets who got lucky enough to somehow get in. All of us are there for the same reason to see what the artists have to throw at us next. We are looking for the next movement in art, to be shocked and mystified, to see the world splashed all over the canvas with a new truth about it. The question is were our searching hearts satisfied?

When looking at art work, I always remember my studies in Venice, Italy. Staring for hours at the Tintoretto, Caravaggio, and Titian. They were breathe taking. For a young painter it's heaven. One day while staring at a Titian, professor Michael Phillips came up behind me and said, "It makes you asks why paint?" The question shocked me. He was right I was thinking, "How can I ever paint that way?" That is always what I am looking for, a painting to make me stop and ask, "Why paint?" in some symbolic way. To tip my hat off to the artist that does it better or the best. To push me to slave more in my studio, trying to push my own work to be the best.

Art is alway objective, the way I see work is different than another. I found my fellow artists had mixed reviews on the show. Some loved it. I had to laugh when one spoke of a particular instillation "It looks like something you would get from IKEA." The space was amazing, the show was done well, except I would comment more on work I thought was astounding but the lack of labels on the walls was very frustrating. At least give me a number to reference to. I kind of drooled over the technique used in the Orozco painting.  Even Modrian would have been inspired by the use of lines, circles and gold leafing. Now I just need the contemporary jazz music to go with it.

All in all an exciting evening! I was impressed by the granger of it all, the space, the buzz, some of the art work. I can't say I loved every piece or that I have seen a break for a new genre in art. Which just leaves my fellow artist and I from Southwark Studios to continue with our practices trying to perfect our styles hoping to discover a new way to describe the world around us. In the mean time it is nice to have a lunch break spent walking around the White Cube, just minutes from us.

White Cube Bermondsey
Southwark Studios

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