Monday, February 4, 2013

Tate Gallery

Ja-was? –Bild (Yes-what? Picture), 1920
While visiting my daughter in England, I was able to take in an afternoon at London's Tate Gallery.  The featured exhibition is about Kurt Schwitters and his artistic ties to England after exile on the Isle of Man for being labeled a dissident by Nazi Germany.  He was one of the first great collage artists, known for his series of "Merz" paintings...named for the collaged use of a clipping from an ad for the Kommerz Bank. A lot of his work became sort of strange, and I'm not thrilled with most of his assemblages, but this painting brought me to tears.  Titled "Ja, was?", the shapes, colors and depth, along with the use of the corrugated cardboard as found in many of my own paintings, hit a nerve and I can hardly wait to share it with students in my upcoming classes at Mid-Plains Community College (ARTS2990).  
Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway, 1844

The Tate has a large collection of works by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) described as perhaps the greatest artist England has produced.  I love the color in the landscape shown here.  There was a special exhibit on color theory as used and taught by Turner, where I learned about a book by the poet/philosopher Goethe, Theory of Color. Turner approved of Goethe's (1749-1832) theory of color being at the edges of dark and light, and rejected Isaac Newton's theory that light alone was responsible for color.  This special exhibit also included a great timeline of the colors Turner used according to their availablity and invention of paint tubes.