I started this blog post about 2 weeks ago and never got around to finishing it. Text in blue will be start from 2 weeks ago and the rest now.
view of Oxford Street from bus. London always busy.
Well, I have not done much since my last post as I flew to London to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday. This time last year, we didn’t even know if he would survive the week, much less to his 80th Birthday as he had a huge stroke. Thankfully he survived and it was so good to see him looking healthy and happy.
It was pretty much a last minute decision to go and I had no real plans other than to visit my Dad and Mum plus meet up with a good friend. It was by oft chance that I spotted that Eileen Cooper had a new show opening the day after I arrived in London. Definitely not an opportunity to miss 🙂
Before I went to Rook and Raven Gallery I had arranged to meet a good blogger friend and we saw the Botticelli show at the V&A. I am not sure I am a fan of his work in general but it was an interesting spin of his work, with modern day and Victorian interpretations of his famous themes. A lot of Venus. Before meeting up with Heather I had a brief visit to some of the other galleries in the V&A
After an enjoyable lunch with Heather I went to the Rook and Raven gallery. It appeared to closed but it said to ring a bell if the door was locked. So I did. This was pretty amazing for me as I have a fear of private art galleries, especially West End ones, so ringing that bell was a huge step for me. Turned out the show started with an opening reception that night but the lady who opened the door who happened to be the curator of the show was kind enough to let me in. We had a good conversation about the work, how it came about and how they had decided to hang the work.
The official opening was in the evening, so I returned, I admit, in the hope I would meet the artist. She actually remember me which is amazing as we have only met in person once and that was in 2007! I have a terrible time with remembering names or faces, so I did not say anything to the curator who having looked her up on the internet appears to have Aretha Campbell. She was really busy anyway. She must have thought I was terribly rude but better than saying ‘thanks for the talk this afternoon’ to a complete stranger! Apart from the artist, I didn’t know one other person so I imagine I stuck out like a sore thumb as most people seemed to talking in groups rather than looking at the art work. Again unlike my usual self, I suddenly found myself talking to a complete stranger who turned out to be Scottish artist June Redfern with her partner. I was drawn to them as I recognised June’s Scottish accent. I didn’t know June’s work but I had heard of her ( I must have seen something in the Scottish papers when I lived there).
As to the work itself, I was bowled over by it. I have been a fan of Eileen Cooper’s work since about 1987 when I saw an article about her in the Artist and Illustrators magazine. This new work has such vibrancy in it and the colours were so rich. It seems like she has had a rebirth of joy and love in her work as the last few years the work seems to have been about anxiety and lost. I wish I could own at least one of these works and if I had to chose it would be the star of the show – love in Idleness. However, a late addition to the show were 2 lino prints which were amazing and I wouldn’t mind having one of those on my wall. They were big though, especially for a lino-cut.
Unfortunately that was the last art I saw during the trip but it just makes me hungry to visit the UK again. Next time I will write about the work I have done since the trip and where I am hoping to go with it.