Naturally, I have given much thought to the subject of ‘art’ and the role it plays in relation to ‘culture’. Also, considering the social, economic and political landscape as well as issues such as climate change and that of the environment. It is for this reason that I wanted to share with you ‘Shock and Awe: Contemporary Artists at War and Peace’. This has to be one the most meaningful and memorable exhibitions that I have had the pleasure of attending. The monumental body of work that towered over us was just breathtaking! Imposing, I found myself feeling quite intimidated, overwhelmed and somewhat uncomfortable. Commanding respect we stood in silence as the piece stirred up a whole host of emotions.
The experience was made all the more special as distinguished sculptor Tim Shaw was in attendance. Being able to just stand back and watch the esteemed artist at work was just fascinating! Observing as he made last minute amendments and finishing touches with so much attention to detail, all in preparation for the piece being put on display.
The numerous components collated together proved to be a tremendous success! The display was interesting, emotive, evocative and increasingly thought provoking given our social economic and political landscape. I really could go on and on but for or a deeper insight into the exhibition I will leave you with the words of curator Professor Paul Gough at The Royal West of England Academy…
“In the year which marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, Shock and Awe considers past, contemporary and continuing conflicts. It highlights work by contemporary artists recently exposed to the front-line in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, as well as providing a platform for artists fascinated by acts of remembrance, or who use their art as a form of protest against war and conflict. Alongside these powerful evocations of war and peace, a series of works have been inspired by the aftermath or the commemoration of war. These include new pieces influenced by traditional war memorials, as well as drawing on the emblematic power of civic statuary to explore how memory is shaped. I contrast, other artists have responded to media representations of conflict or war-related activities distant from the arena of conflict to create politically charged sculpture, a moving film installation anti-war and peace medals. In addition to these poignant works, a number of historic First World War works are contextualised by responses from especially commissioned contemporary artist. Curator Paul Gough comments “Artists have long been drawn with a dread fascination to the face of war. They have produced some of the most searing images, but have also created work that provokes comment, incites strong feelings and promises reconciliation.”
Exhibiting contemporary artists: Vince Bevan, Stephen Bottomley, Michael Brennand-Wood, Kathleen Browne, Helen Carnac, Ian Chamberlain, David Cotterrell, George Coutouvidis, Susan Cross, Katie Davies, Tamar De Vries Winter, Bettina Dittlmann, Robert Ebendorf, Jill Gibbon, Paul Gough RWA, Kirsten Haydon, Stephen Hurst, Paul Laidler, Rolf Lindner, Denny Long RWA, Mario Minichiello, Xavier Pick, Michael Sandle RA, Tim Shaw RA, Emma Stibbon RA RWA, Elizabeth Turrell RWA, Jessica Turrell. Find more information on www.rwa.org.uk
What do you think about the arguments proposed by Vivienne Westwood in ‘The Original Punk’? How do you feel about art, culture and the relationship between the two? Do you think that there are any true artists in contemporary society? Do you think that just anyone can be an artist? Vivienne Westwood makes some shocking statements in relation to such sentiments. What do you think about the ‘Shock and Awe: Contemporary artists at War and Peace’? exhibition? As always I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this and so please do drop me a line. I would just love to hear from you!