Monday, 23 January 2012

George Shaw & Michala Gyetvai @ The Herbert

Had a fabulous day here last Friday.  Two great exhibitions under one roof.
It was good to get away from my PC and have a day out to enjoy art instead of battling it.  Bumped into Nadine from my Foundation Year at Solihull which was a bonus as we then went round the exhibitions together and then had lunch and shared a bottle of wine next door at Browns chatting about old times at Solihull College. 
Back to Coventry born artist George Shaw - its satisfying to think that he is at last getting the recognition he so desrves.  Too bad he didn't win the Turner Prize last year. I expect that was because he was a painter! Its about time a painter won the TP.  Have had enough of installations and film.  Often wonder if embroidery would ever be shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Think not perhaps.

What I really liked about I Woz Ere was how accessable the artist seemed to be.  Even though I don't know Coventry it was good to see an artist who can make a bland, urban landscape look almost attractive. His paintings looked so sharp and vibrant 'in the flesh' as I had only ever seen his painting in books before.
I thought how much of the 'ordinary boy done good' seemed to come through and maybe that was because he was on his home turf but what really made it for me was a little room off the main gallery where the walls were lined with all of his sketches and paintings from school and that he'd done as a boy before he started his formal art training.  To me that what makes him seem so like us and so ordinary.  Just an ordinary boy from Coventry done good.

 Next, upstairs to Gallery 4 to see the textiles and paintings of Michala Gyetvai in her exhibition 'Seas of Grass'  (only on now till the 24th Jan). The room is filled with richly embroidered and felted pictures and wall hangings which are simply stunning. They just make you want to reach out and touch them. This exhibition runs alongside George Shaw's quite fittingly because she is also another local-ish artist done good (Northants).  Like Shaw she also takes her inspiritation from her local surroundings.

Mostly landscapes which feature trees she paints and sculpts with threads, layering and stitching until they take on quite three dimensional qualities. She twists fibres and felts and stitches thick wool, crocheted cotton and fine silks onto felted woollen blanket and because of the amount of stitching this distorts the surface making it undulating, turning it into a hanging sculpture almost.

The afternoon was finished off by a quick blast around IKEA. The perfect end to a perfect day.

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