Wednesday 25 March 2015

Cai Guo-Qiang and Cornelia Parker at Whitworth Gallery

 Last Saturday I combined  a British Bryological Society Council meeting  in Manchester with a  visit to the newly re-opened Whitworth Gallery. As an extra bonus I  met up with Julie who happened to be in Manchester anyway for  Urban Sketchers  crawl.  
It was interesting to see how they'd combined items from collections with new exhibits  and installations. We spent some time poring over the watercolours and  in the 'portraits' section trying to guess the artists  when there were no information sheets left!  Having no labels or numbers  did  mean it looked great aesthetically but was a bit frustrating when trying to work  out who was who.  Didn't get to see everything in a couple of hours, it'll be good to make a return trip.  
 The Cai Guo-Qiang  installation 'Unmanned Nature' , a 45 metre -long four metre high gunpowder drawing on hemp paper was spectacular. They  only  let a few people in at a time to enjoy the effect of being immersed in the landscape.

 The materials used are  pivotal to the work of Cornelia Parker: the bullet drawings  of lead wire;  the squashed silver-plated objects.
  My favourites  however were  in the section on 'Room for Margins' - canvas linings from various paintings by Turner mounted behind glass. I loved their patina  with subtle marks, reminding me of the beauty of  backs of  stitched textiles, the  'unconscious side'.

 In the textile section I was re-acquainted with this quilt by Michele Walker. It caused a huge fuss at the time being made of plastic bags  but now it looks quite traditional , apart from the materials used ( the quilting patterns are tyre tracks)

  The train journeys there and back were not  without incident. On the way there lots of trains were cancelled so the train I was on was delayed and overcrowded ( mainly with Man City fans).  The return journey was a'58 mins' late getting into Euston ( magically below the  hour where can apply for full refund). I missed out on the eclipse  on Friday  due to cloud but the orange globe of the  sun setting partially made up for  it


Margaret Cooter said...

Looks like a fabulous exhibition! As for the train journey with football fans ... I was once on a similar train, with a very rowdy coach of them - fortunately it ran on time, and at the end of the journey the "thank you for travelling..." announcement went something like this: "We hope you have enjoyed your journey and thank you for travelling with [us] - except for the football fans in Coach E, we sincerely hope you never travel with us again!"

Judy Martin said...

Thank you for sharing your visit to the Whitworth.

Very nice to see the two main exhibits through your eyes.