What even is art?

11th September 2015

By Collette Black

Contemporary art is something I’ve always struggled with. In truth, some things go right over my head. I see a glass on a shelf and I think… yeah, that’s a glass on a shelf. In Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art I once saw a framed post-it note with ‘back in 5’ scribbled on it in black Biro. At that point I gave up…


Image source http://licurici.eu/mygallery.htm

That was until I met my friend Grace. She loves art, particularly modern art. It’s strange how infectious enthusiasm can be, and she’s got bags and bags of it. She explained how it’s about the stories behind what the artists are doing, their comments on modern society and a reflection of their often troubled pasts and it actually turned out to be pretty cool. I started with a tour round the Tate and we went from there. The latest Grace-led art venture was last nights private view at one of Mayfair’s reputable contemporary art galleries, Gazelli Art House.

Celebrating its fifth year in London, The Approach exhibition showcased an array of artists that have exhibited in the gallery’s programmes since its London début in 2010. This meant there was quite an eclectic mix of artwork, which was pretty good for an art novice like me. Although I did find myself bemused by some of the more ‘symbolic’ pieces, I did find some favourites, one of which was these photographs by James Ostrer. Representing Ostrer’s imagined result of corrupted globalisation and increasingly dangerous methods of food production, the beautifully bright colours and weirdly interesting imagery really stood out on the crisp white walls of the gallery. The bold canvases were both repulsive and intriguing in equal measures. It was actually quite interesting just watching peoples reactions to these crazy food monsters.


Another piece that really stood out was Aron Demetz’s Sud. Exploring humanity’s relationship with nature, Demetz uses traditional woodcarving techniques to create these sculptures of the naked human body with amazing textured features. I find wood a pretty fascinating material, especially since our recent collaboration with Sebastian Cox. I just love the amazing versatility of surfaces you can create. It’s such a tactile material that seems to have a life of its own. That’s why I love our new Seb Cox Kitchen and why I think it worked so well in this piece.


Image source http://gazelliarthouse.com/uk

Possibly my favourite pieces were these ‘Stone Speak’ sculptures by Jane McAdam Freud. Does the name sound familiar? Yes, she’s ‘father of psychoanalysis’, Sigmund Freud’s, great-granddaughter. The title actually derived from her great grandfather’s expression referring to stones ability to express meaning. These beautiful clay faces seemed like they were melting into the floor. I particularly liked how both the outside and inside of the sculptures were displayed, apparently representing ‘our public face versus our private face.’


Although I don’t think I’ll be the next Robert Hughes any time soon, it is fun to do something a bit different and discover something new. So I say keep them coming Grace…

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