Audrey Hepburn - Portrait of an Icon at the National Portrait Gallery

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

When I close my eyes and think of Audrey Hepburn, I picture several things:

  • The pixie hair cut
  • The little black dress
  • The heart-breaking rendition of ‘Moon River’ on the fire escape of a New York City brownstone
  • The characteristic poise, elegance and grace
  • The humanitarian, campaigning tirelessly for UNICEF

All of these things and more are now on display thanks to one of the most exciting exhibits of the summer, Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, open through 18 October at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Continue reading

Bright, Brash and Beautiful: City Lights Opens in Soho

Peripheriques Like Halos, 2014. Robert Montgomery

Peripheriques Like Halos, 2014. Robert Montgomery

Part art gallery, part member’s lounge, Lights of Soho on Brewer Street is now open, launching with a five-week group exhibit entitled ‘City Lights’. Bringing together established artists with rising stars, the gallery aspires to become the “global home of creative neon and light art formats” as well as a place where creative and cultural influencers come to connect and collaborate. “If we can capture a little of the magic the old Colony Rooms created, we will have done a great thing,” said Art Curator Hamish Jenkinson.

It’s a big ambition, but the dream is starting well; ‘City Lights’ is exciting, dynamic and simply good fun, even if you’re a neon-neophyte, and there was a real buzz about the space when we popped along to the preview night to hobnob with the artists, their friends and supporters over tasty cocktails from Hoxton Gin.

Read more at Phoenix Magazine

Marlene Dumas | The Image as Burden

Once labelled ‘the world’s most interesting figure painter’, Marlene Dumas (b.1953) is famous (although not quite as famous as she should be) for intense, psychological, emotionally-charged works which use the human form to embody such diverse topics as politics, sex and grief.

The variety and scale of her output is revealed in Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, a huge retrospective of her work that has just opened at Tate Modern, filling 14 rooms with over 100 of her most iconic paintings and drawings. It’s safe to say that her reputation – already glowing in the art industry – is about to take its place firmly in the mainstream.

Read more at Phoenix Magazine

Inventing Impressionism | The Activist Behind the Art

In some respects Impressionism has become something of a cliché, with its ubiquitous Monet umbrellas, Renoir tote bags, Degas greeting cards and the like. But what many may not know is that in its early days it was a rebellious movement and the artists were labelled subversive, provocative and even inflammatory. They were out to upend the status quo, not play by the rules.

This early period is the subject of the National Gallery’s exquisite 85-piece exhibition Inventing Impressionism: The man who sold a thousand Monets, open through 31 May. The man in question is entrepreneurial art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel whose faith, tenacity and innovative business strategies kept the nascent movement afloat. It’s an exhibition that provides context, which leads, in turn, to a greater appreciation of the works of art.

Continue reading at Phoenix Magazine

Art review: Grayson Perry at NPG and Late Turner at Tate

Long-term readers of this blog may remember my time at Washington Life Magazine covering art and theatre in and around the DC-area. It was such an enjoyable period, and I always hoped I’d be able to do something like that again.

It looks like I may have found my chance. I recently wrote a couple of articles for Phoenix Magazine and wanted to share them here.

The first covers a new exhibition of Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery and seeks to explore age-old questions around identity. “Perry says that portraiture does what a thousand selfies can’t. We need someone else’s eyes, the theory goes, to see ourselves clearly, and throughout the project Perry frames himself as detective rather than dictator. Margaret Forster once wrote that ‘portrait painters gave up being intimidated long ago. Now they can make their own feelings known and dare to be boldly suggestive’, and Perry certainly moves from representation to interpretation – with mixed results.” You can read the full article here.

The second covers the Late Turner exhibit at the Tate Britain – an amazing celebration of the art produced in the later years of J.M.W. Turner. “The six rooms in the exhibit explore Turner’s sweeping themes and daring formats, and the effect is extraordinarily moving. His work is rooted in literary traditions, dealing with religion and mythology, epic gestures, the beginnings and endings of stories. Some pieces are saturated with urgency and high energy, others display a real delicacy and a lightness of touch.” You can read the rest of that article here.

Really looking forward to seeing what comes of this new opportunity and I’m excited to see London through a new project.

Art Under Attack at Tate Britain

This year, my husband gave me one of my favourite Christmas presents – a membership to the Tate. As soon as we were back in London I went to see Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm at the Tate Britain, the imposing building standing out proudly from the cold blue sky. This exhibit has intrigued me for some time and I’m so glad I caught it before it closed.

Art’s role is to capture a truth about life, to present a worldview, to provoke thought and emotion. So it’s no wonder that people will react – at times passionately – to art. It’s inevitable, but more than that, it’s desirable.  Continue reading