Outside CoCA were a couple of bronze busts of interest: Jacob Epstein’s portrait of Paul Robeson, and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s portrait of Alfred Wolmark. Still not sure about Epstein, but it’s a very powerful portrait. These are ‘hands on’ works. Alfred was the Tony Robinson of his day with an irresistible nose – look at it shine.
Entering ‘Flesh’ I was surprised to see a semi-naked woman holding hand-written signs on pieces of A4 paper. It transpired she was a member of Cast Off Drama, a not-for profit group who have been holding events in the Gallery in response to the exhibition. She happily chatted with visitors. Below is a video of a performance she made that day for International Women’s Day: Cut It Like a Man.
Flying the flag for ceramics was Rachel Kneebone’s ‘Driving the blind excesses of life to the very edge of death’ (2014):
I wish I could say I liked Kneebone’s tangled body parts and fractured bases, because it’s refreshing for a Fine Artist to be material specific and have ceramic skills. Tracy Emin likes her work, so I guess Rachel isn’t going to fret about my opinion!
Jen Davis’s photograph of her own mid-section was hung next to a Jenny Saville painting – both women using their bodies as the focus of their art. They worked well together.
Ron Mueck’s Youth is surprisingly small, but as keenly observed and detailed as his super-sized figures. The youth inspects his knife wound with an air of perplexity. Quite poignant.
Other exhibits of interest were tattoo based. Preserved skin sections from early 20th century criminals showing tattoos made by paper clips and other prosaic implements. And a vaguely human torso, coated in pig skin which was covered by finely etched tattoos. Both had a morbid fascination.
From York Art Gallery, we went on to the Pyramid Gallery which sells a range of gifts as well as ceramics. John Maltby is their main man. They have sold hundreds of his works over the years.
John Maltby Ceramics
Upstairs was a small exhibition to chase away the winter blues. I liked the little Raku fired figures of Tom Payne. They chat together and interact – in this they remind me of Juan Monoz’s figures.
Eoghan Bridges acrobatic horses and figures were fun. Micaela enjoyed them – just the right side of Kitch. However, we weren’t keen on the primary coloured ones – he paints them with acrylics. Micaela was tempted to a lovely little bowl in the exhibition.