After another lengthy absence I've decided that the New Year is the perfect time to get back into blogging! More importantly, I think its time to get back to blogging about what really inspires me! I started Here We Go Louby Lou as a place that I could give voice to my passionate ramblings about art, but somewhere along the way I was distracted by other things...mainly clothes and make up! So as of now, while there might still be the occasional musing on my latest MAC lipstick or Topshop purchase, Here We Go Louby Lou is definitely going to be more about art!
To kick things off I thought I'd start the New Year and new look Here We Go Louby Lou with a review of the most recent exhibition I visited, 'Great British Faces' at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
|Sir Ian McKellen (1939-) by Clive Smith (1967-) National Portrait Gallery, London|
Comprised of works loaned from the National Portrait Gallery, 'Great British Faces' features portraits of some of the country's "cultural and humanitarian icons" including thespians Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Ian McKellen, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith and humanitarian Camila Batmanghelidjh.
|Dame Helen Mirren (1945-) by Ishbel Myerscough (1968-) National Portrait Gallery, London|
This a very small exhibition, only nine works in total, all tucked away along one side of a gallery also displaying the city's collection of works by L.S. Lowry, as well as couple of lovely studies by Pre-Raphaelite hero Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Its so well hidden that despite a poster pointing me to the second floor, it took me a minute to find 'Great British Faces' and I have to admit to being a bit disappointed when I did! Only nine works?
|Sir Paul Brierley Smith (1946-) by James Lloyd (1971-) National Portrait Gallery, London|
However my disappointment was short-lived. This exhibition might be small but its perfectly formed! The works on display were all commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of the BP Portrait Award and were created by BP Portrait Award winning artists. As such, they're all (with perhaps one exception, in my opinion) wonderful examples of contemporary portraiture.
|Camilla Batmanghelidjh (1963-) by Dean Marsh (1968-) National Portrait Gallery, London|
The exhibition offers the viewer a fantastic cross-section of portraiture practice over the last twenty years, from the Hyper-Realism of Paul Emsley to the paintely daubings of Catherine Goodman. My personal favourite was Dean Marsh's glorious depiction of Psychotherapist and humanitarian Camila Batmanghelidjh (above). I love the folds of her elaborate silk gown and the delicate depiction of her hands and fingernails. Who said painting was dead?!
Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden say that "Great British Faces is a snapshot of modern Britain, and represents the diversity, creativity and vision of those people who have shaped the cultural and civil landscape of the world in which we live." I say that while that may be true (it's a very small snapshot) 'Great British Faces' is a gorgeous introduction to contemporary British portraiture and we're lucky to have it here in the North East...even if it does take a while to find it!
'Great British Faces' is showing at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens until 9th March 2013. Admission free!
On a side note - on Monday 21st January 2013, Sunderland Museums withdrew from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) and from April this year will be managed by the new Sunderland Museum and Heritage Service. While I don't know the details of the loans agreement between TWAM and the National Portrait Gallery, lets hope that a similar arrangement can be brokered with the new management or 'Great British Faces' could be the last NPG exhibition we see in Sunderland!