Bowes Museum disappointment and delight exhibition visit

I visited the Bowes Museum at the weekend, specifically to see the Hockney, Printmaker exhibition.  I was disappointed and delighted, but not in ways I had expected.

I was disappointed with the Hockney exhibition.  There was a good range of prints on display, etchings, lithographs and more experimental combinations of print making techniques.  From a technical point of view, as I am interested in print making, this was interesting, to see the different effects that are possible when making prints.  However, I wasn’t excited or moved by any of the works.

I wasn’t inspired by the swimming pool works, even though I have sat on the edge of a pool with my camera capturing light. The Japanese style prints, which, given my love of Japanese prints might have caught my eye.  They didn’t. I found them flat or too thin, if that makes sense.  There felt a certain smugness to them, from the man who learnt to make prints in 15 minutes. Perhaps that influenced my judgement?

Hockney Printmaker Japanese weather prints

Hockney Printmaker Japanese weather prints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing did stick with me, which was a comment on the Japanese weather series about the wind.

He says “I couldn’t figure out how to do wind, make a visual representation of wind, because normally only the effects of the wind show themselves.”  It reminded me of some Constable sketches of trees blowing in the wind, and some poplar trees near home that I love to see blowing.  This is something I would like to pursue further at some stage.

Bowes Museum Hockney Printmaker The Weather Series

Bowes Museum Hockney Printmaker The Weather Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the Hockney was the disappointment.

The delight was the the ‘Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield‘ exhibition. What a great diverse exhibition.  There was sculpture, textile banners, prints, drawings, paintings and even one painting made with shoe polish.

Perhaps it was the subjects which were more moving, bent men trudging down the mines, but this exhibition engaged me much more than the Hockney.

My particular favourites were the Tom McGuiness prints and the large charcoal figurative drawing below, Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin.  All these showed the darkness of the mines, the filth the miners worked in and yet had a real beauty.

Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin

Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin