Saturday, 21 October 2017

Photographs of Tracey Emin’s Bed and Arp at Turner Contemporary crumbling toward a review.

This is Tracey Emin’s Bed. Is it art? Why is it on display in Margate? How do people write reviews?

I am not an art critic but as Saturday is my day off I’m a watercolour painter, so I will try, My Day.

Margate doesn’t appear to start until 10am so I drove over there from Ramsgate aiming to arrive at about 10 to 10 I parked in the multi-story under Morrisons which costs £2.70 for all day.

My main objective being to paint what I can see

From somewhere with a view.


Like in this JWM Turner of Margate High Street I used to draw the picture first in pen and then sort of colour it in with watercolour paint.

Like Turner I reached the point where I stopped bothering to use the pen and just painted the picture straight on to the paper.



This is a fairly late Turner watercolour of Margate painted in his late 50s.

The tide in Margate was out and the sun over the town so the light was travelling from the town towards the sea, so one of the rare times I can get on with the boats in my painting of Margate Lighthouse.

I wanted to see the exhibition before I started painting from the café so I went round it very quickly and did it again later at a more leisurely pace.   
After this very quick view my favourite picture in the exhibition was this Dada drawing by Arp I think.

I went to cafe, sketched some more boats dried out before the tide came in and floated my boats' and before the rain clouds came and made it difficult to see the boats.

I went back to look at the exhibitions before it got as bad as this.

Photography is allowed in the exhibition and I took some pictures with the camera I had brought with me to take pictures of boats at sea, and some pictures with my mobile phone.

 The lighting in Turner Contemporary is not good for either camera, I think when the gallery was built one of the mistakes they made was to install halogen lighting instead of LED lighting. There are various issues with this one, the main one being the gallery staff spend a great deal of time measuring the light to ensure minimal damage to the paintings another is that it isn’t as light as one would like when using the wrong camera.

Anyway at this point here is the link to pictures I took today with my camera http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/1017l/id3.htm and here is the link to the pictures I too today with my phone https://photos.app.goo.gl/IVoQMcgCncvrscWt2 assuming that you have now looked at some of them then you have some idea of what I saw today.

My feelings are that you can’t say much about visual art and in general the more you can say about a picture the less good the picture is, well that’s not exactly right is it? But I can only convey what I mean here by saying the wrong thing and you thinking. That’s not exactly right.

Arp Dadaism first, my family – when I was a child and my family’s adult friends would talk about, have books about – this type of art and so? When I view it, what? Some of the lose toys in my attic start to fly.

Some of it makes me feel? Uncomfortable? Some of the shapes? Erotic? Anatomical? So all well and good, a decent exhibition, shifted my hypotenuse type of kidney.

Worth coming down for a visit? I think so.

Then the My Bed, well my take on this is that this is when art pays Margate back, a major art work and one that everyone has heard of, so a big crowd puller and very good for businesses in the town and the local economy.

There is a sense in which the bed isn’t art anymore and has become history, so yes all well and good – it works.

The Turners around the bed, I find these much more difficult to understand, some seem to have been chosen as décor to go with the bed, the colours on the pictures matching the stains on the bed as it were.

This is a case where I feel the paintings need more text, which isn’t a good sign, I think – I expect some of them were studies for other pictures, perhaps as good as Turner’s watercolour of Margate Lighthouse, which although not in the exhibition does show me how very far I have to go in terms of producing a really good watercolour of Margate.  




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