Yesterday I went along to GoMA for the afternoon to see Matisse: Drawing Life. I just found this bloggger's impression of viewing the show.... I never thought of bringing my camera! I was simply keen to see his work!
Sometimes I am put off the big block-buster nature of these shows, but on my mind was the thought it would be foolish indeed to miss out seeing an artist whose work I have long considered of major importance to my own thinking on art, quite apart from his international stature!
My enthusiasm to think about this artist revives periodically... always there is a freshness of seeing that astounds me... the other thing I enjoy is the fact of his dilligent long career and continual effort at drawing and painting. Hilary Spurling's thick and extremely well-done Biography is two parts has forever planted many an image in my mind. They gave rise to a great deal of thinking and add greatly to why his story as well as his work has resonance for me. Something about the nature of time especially is all the more vivid for this reading.
The exhibition did not disappoint.... I will likely to return for such a treat it was to cast my eyes over each work and drink in the lines, the nuances of each. His boldness was immense... the readiness to lose control in the effort to make an image that was animated struck me. Frequently drawings were un-beautiful... and then they were astonishing beautiful like this one below.
Far more so in life. When I later looked at a reproduction after having viewed the work I was stunned at the difference...at my memory of the glow from the paper. Such purity of line and perfection of composition... economy of line.
|Henri Matisse | France 1869 — 1954 | Fée au chapeau de clarté. Souvenir du Mallarmé 1933 | Drypoint on Velin Arches paper | Collection: Bibliothèque nationale de France | Réf Duthuit : 234 | © Succession H Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011|
Matisse in the James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books - via here.
On display in the exhibition ‘Henri Matisse: Drawing Life’ until 4 March 2012, are rare and important books, journals and exhibition catalogues from the James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books. Held in the Queensland Art Gallery Research Library, these publications dating from 1936 to 1956, offer contextual background and a glimpse into Matisse’s oeuvre of the time.
A highlight of the collection is Verve. In December 1937, Tériade (Efstratios Eleftheriades 1897—1983) established the journal Verve, which he would edit until 1960. A quarterly review of arts, letters and literature, Vervewas noted for its high production values and lavish design, having been ‘conceived as a work of art in its own right.’1 It brought together the art of diverse countries and eras and featured numerous texts by both artists and writers, including Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, James Joyce, Marc Chagall, Jean—Paul Sartre, Man Ray, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Cartier—Bresson and Joan Miró.
Matisse designed the cover of the inaugural issue for his friend Tériade: a nude drawn in Indian ink within a composition that is effectively his first paper cut—out, with the journal’s title appearing along the edge in calligraphic script. Matisse also contributed linocuts and lithographic prints for the third and fourth issues, such as a green, red and black variation of La Danse 1909—10, framed with pieces of paper painted with blue, yellow and black gouache.
For the eighth issue (summer 1940), entitled ‘La Symphonie chromatique’ (Symphony of colour), Matisse composed a cover using 26 differently coloured papers, ‘at once realistic and symbolic; it conveys the impression of multicolored precious stones strewn across a black cloth’,2 necessitating 26 passages through the lithographic press — an extraordinary feat for a printed journal. Tériade edited three special issues of Verve on Matisse’s paintings of the 1940s and his final paper cut-outs.
I also picked up copies of Art Forum Magazine from 2011, musing over various artist's work ... particularly that of Philip Taaffe whom I posted on at my other blog last night.
Something was triggered seeing the Matisse show that I picked up on afterwards reading about Taaffe. A number of elements... the most obvious was the decorative theme of both, which in both cases has far deeper significance than is sometimes acknowledged. I will need to come back to this as its late and its worthy of more focus.
It is certainly timely to be reconsidering what came up yesterday as I am getting ready to embark on the next phase of painting, having reorganised my studio from top to bottom. A few days to chew over what to push ahead with in the next series of artworks is helpful ... also thinking about the book which is on the agenda for this year. I want to work visually for awhile before getting bogged down in words and ideas.