Inspired by the Dutch artist Jacob de Gheyn II (1565–1629) Rob and Nick Carter have used modern technology to create this grove of nine patinated bronze tree stumps. They celebrate the ever-popular oak tree and are designed to be used interactively by the public for relaxation and contemplation. They can be found on the North Flower Walk in Kensington Gardens until 30th September. The Marlborough Gate is the best entrance to use.
If you did not catch Benar Venet’s first solo exhibition in London since 1976 at Blain|Southern recently then you have an opportunity to see his works in the grounds of Cliveden, Buckinghamshire. Regarded by many as the foremost living French sculptor, ten large-scale works await discovery in the glorious formal gardens and spaces of Cliveden and can be seen there until mid-October.
For centuries the Spitalfields area of London has seen migrants arrive in search of a new life and this sculpture recalls that history. The boat is one that was actually used to transport refugees from Turkey to Greece and was acquired by the artists after it had been left abandoned on the shoreline.
Life, Belief and Beyond, Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1, until 15th October 2017
Working in London from 1968 until her death from motor neurone disease Rose Finn-Kelcey (1945-2014) was an innovative artist who questioned and challenged themes such as feminism, spirituality and power and politics through her works in various media.
This engaging exhibition – the first since her death – combines key pieces with preparatory sketches and material, photographs and performance documentation and like the artist demands the viewers’ attention and interest.
PLYWOOD: MATERIAL OF THE MODERN WORLD, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, until 12th November 2017
I am grateful to John Kirkwood to visiting and writing about this exhibition:
Perhaps not surprisingly this is a world-first exhibition featuring as it does the many uses to which plywood has been put.
Like me, I’m sure you thought it was a twentieth century invention but apparently fragments of layered board have been found in Egyptian tombs – perhaps they thought if the mummies came back to life they might fancy a bit of DIY to amuse themselves – but it really came into its own in the late nineteenth century with the advent of mass production.
Plywood’s ubiquity has been embraced by furniture makers, manufacturers of surfboards and skateboards, designers, architects and engineers and this very interesting exhibition takes visitors through plywood’s many transformations from a cheap product to material prized by mid-century modernists and by today’s flourishing maker movement.
I so enjoyed the exhibition that I left feeling that ‘plywood is my wood!’
Royal Gifts – the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, until 1st October 2017
From the moment you arrive at the Grand Entrance and espy the Australian State Coach, a gift to Her Majesty in 1988 from the people of Australia to mark the Australian Bicentenary, you know you are in for something rather exciting. Indeed many of the State Rooms are transformed by special displays of over two hundred gifts that have been presented to The Queen in the sixty-five years of her reign.
You will discover a remarkable cross section of items and every gift reflects the donor whether a town, organisation or country. Each in its own way is uniquely special. I am not going to mention examples because it is something to be experienced in person. I found it all fascinating and engrossing in a way that I had not expected but will remember for a long time.
In the Music Room is a charming display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Many of the objects and mementos on and around her desk from her Sitting Room in Kensington Palace were chosen by the The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney, until 1st October 2017
Regular readers of my blog may recall that in October 2015 I posted about a small but enjoyable exhibition Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat at the Courtauld Gallery and now in this large-scale show at Compton Verney this debt is re-visited and much expanded upon.
It reminds us that since the 19th century some artists have been fascinated by the way in which the eye sees optical illusions as it responds to visual stimuli and this point is well proven in this exhibition. Ninety diverse ‘Op Art’ works are featured in the show, including pieces by Victor Vasarely, Julio Le Parc, Jeffrey Steele, Jesus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Peter Sedgley, Liliane Lijn and, of course, Bridget Riley and Seurat.
Professor Steven Parissien, Director of Compton Verney sums it up: “Optical Art explores a range of effects and emotions, using complex geometry and advanced mathematics to communicate with the viewer in a way that is simultaneously mentally challenging and visually appealing. This wonderful exhibition demonstrates just how exhilarating, electrifying and (quite literally) eye-opening Op Art can be.”
The show is curated by Penelope Sexton and Dr Frances Follin and appropriately enough supported by Farrow & Ball.