I recently ventured out of my little room to go and see an exhibition at Cardiff National Museum; Gillian Ayres.
I went in with the preconception that Ayres’ work is more abstract than the work I do, but wanted to experience the work and learn something regardless; I was pleasantly surprised. The first room I felt a bit out of place, I enjoyed the textures and size of the work but not much more. Walking up the stairs into the next room was a totally different experience. I think this has something to do with the room shape/size and the work it held. The room was long and you could see down into a further room, I felt like the works were holding me into this room as opposed to me just being placed in a room. Retrospectively, I felt like the work in the first room (that I was unsure of) was quite intimidating; they were very overpowering and included lots of colour and lots of paint with no blank space of areas of calm (from memory). Whereas, the upstairs room felt more controlled I felt more able to interpret the pieces. I was unable to take photographs of the works, so I cannot illustrate my comparative points however I remember a few names of works that I saw in the top room.
These next photos are ones I was able to secretly take:
These works appealed to me for the expressive marks and the colours that were used. I liked the way that paint was thinned in certain areas and the colours ran down or across the canvas.
What I have gained from Ayres’ exhibition:
- The size of the canvas has a large impact and I think I need to expand on my sizes. I remember seeing one piece of work that was a framed canvas- there was a gap that went in where the canvas ended and the frame began, I really liked that effect.
- Ayres worked from her experiences of nature, particularly North Wales. Artists such as Turner and Piper also were inspired by natures sublime in Wales, but the distinction between their work and Ayres is that they represented the sublime they saw and Ayres’ work shows a phenomenological response to the sublime. This is where I gain something- the way that Ayres records her feelings to what she sees is something that I could work with.
- I could have abstract pieces that record how I am feeling with colours and marks alongside the work of portraiture.