Eames Fine Art Gallery: Master Graphics - Picasso to Warhol (until 23rd February 2014)

The Eames Fine Art Gallery, SE1, is currently showing a collection of prints from widely recognised artists, most of which are displayed at the gallery's neighbour, the Tate Modern. Boasting artists such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, this is an exhibition definitely worth a look for some hidden works from pioneering modern artists.

Firstly, in my stream of consciousness rather than chronologically, is Alexander Calder's 'Red, Orange and Black Spiral', pictured below. Famous for his kinetic sculptures, it is interesting to see Calder's work presented on the canvas. The design demands the eye to follow the pattern of the painting, cleverly translating kinetic movement beyond media constraints. Strong and vivid colours induce a kind of hypnotic sensation. In Eames Fine Art's artist profile, it states that Calder spent some time sketching at the circus, a subject matter that fascinated him. Background details such as this somewhat illuminate this piece and show us how various influences have inspired his colour and shape work.

'Red, Orange and Black Spiral' by Alexander Calder
Image courtesy of www.onlinegalleries.com

The piece that attracted me the most is Marc Chagall's 'Fete au Village'. I should take this moment to say that the collection at Eames Fine Art is extremely impressive, and being in such a physically small gallery it is difficult to believe that artists of this huge scale are being exhibited, in such an unpretentious environment, especially as they are rarer works. So 'Fete au Village' initially caught my attention due to its contrasting factors, particularly with Calder's image. The black and white ink canvas has an organic feel, and the title suggests an air of community, especially with the range of faces and jovial activities included in Chagall's drawing. Along with Henry Moore's 'Mother and Child', there is a strong intimate nature in some of the pieces within Eames' collection. This is not in a graphic or sexual nature whatsoever, instead the images feature situations or symbols, often social, that viewers are able to recognise and relate to.

'Fete au Village' by Marc Chagall
Image courtesy of www.eamesfineart.com

While it is always a pleasant viewing experience when the painting or artwork is relatable, images that provoke thought and questions are in a separate dimension. The image in this realm that appeals to me is Pablo Picasso's 'Sculpture Devant Sa Sculpture, avec une Jeune Fille au Turban et Tete Sculpture'. (Phew!) Putting the simplicity of the drawing aside, the piece demands the viewer's attention to reflect on what is being conveyed in this piece. The marriage of solitude and intimacy is addressed in a way that is poignant and highly thought-provoking, leaving the viewer wondering how such links in their own lives within their own relationships frequently separate and return. Picasso has presented this idea through the notion of displaced eye contact, with the various figures within the canvas looking in different directions but are ultimately near eachother. The figure on the far right as elongated and naked shows the exposure we endure while building and developing relationships.

'Sculpture Devant Sa Sculpture...' by Pablo Picasso
Image courtesy of www.zaidan.ca

The final piece I would like to discuss is Jean Arp's work from the artist's 'Vers le Blanc Infini' series. The simplicity of 'Master Graphics' paired with the talent of the artists makes for an interesting exhibition, especially if you have any affinity with or interest in any of the major artists featured. Understated beauty is something that appears to be a specialty of the exhibition, which is certainly something prevalent in Arp's 'Vers le Blanc Infini', which presents the outline of a female form. Although a human structure, the shape presents no movement or life. As an artist, Jean Arp specialised in abstraction and new media. This seems to reinforce the patriarchy, which is blunt and unforgiving, much like the image. For me, the fact that Arp is an abstract artist shows the melancholy of his subject matter. 

Image from 'Vers le Blanc Infini' by Jean Arp
Image courtesy of www.mutualart.com

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