Cecily Brown - The Whitworth

Cecily Brown- The Whitworth, Manchester - 17 Nov -15th March



The current situations regarding hostile climates and causing people to become migrants, is one we are all familiar with. An abundant of these stories being brushed aside and becoming the norm, are we now becoming complacent? lacking care for these human beings who are literally escaping death. Cecily Brown's simple artworks capture the raw energy of 'Wrecked ships and their passengers' - the events modern refugees have to endure, life threatening boat journeys on unpredictable waters.
Re-working classic sources such as prints by William Hogarth, Brown's small studies rehears the original source, exploring composition both as a whole impression and concentrating on fragments, drawing attraction to particular harrowing details. By doing this Brown is looking for the attention of both the viewer and artist. The rawness of these pieces were the most striking, bold charcoal lines cutting through washes of colour. Bodies intertwining and becoming one form presents a feeling of isolation and loss. The collection of pieces brings you facepalming the current events, similarly like the paintings Brown was inspired by; Hogarth, Delacroix and most notably 'The raft of Medusa' by Théodore Géricault, as seen here in a sketch for this particular old master painting, a noticeable likeness of minimal contact with the paper:  

Géricault's Study for "The Raft of the Medusa", pen and brown ink, 17.6 cm × 24.5 cm, Musee des Beaux-ArtsLille, France

The exhibit on a whole is an emotional venture, but one I was glad to be led through. It created another avenue for awareness of these topics in an eloquent manner, the pieces are beautifully composed and have a magnitude of power. Its an exhibit that will linger long after you have left. 

Barbara Brown - The Whitworth

17th- 11th March 2018 - The Whitworth Manchester




Navys, Oranges, Mustard and gray scale; its easy to see which period these fabrics originate from. With there curves, three dimensional quality and intricate designs the term golden girl of Heal's fabrics is well earned. Barbara Brown's first solo exhibit of her fabric designs from the 1960-70s present these lavish designs in full glory. Some prints remind me of almost lino-cut styles, exploring overlapping elements and mark making, while others are bold with there geometric features and sharp colours. The thing that I loved from this exhibit is the uplifting and playful quality which washes over you, the feeling of wanting to touch the fabrics and their shapes, a sense of interactivity with the designs brings you back to the period these were created from. From a far its almost like they are paintings, reminding me of Bridget Riley's energetic works. 

John Stezaker - The Whitworth

1 December - June 2018, The Whitworth Gallery Manchester



For me John Stezaker is less of a collage artist and more of a photographer. His eye with composition, limited colour pallet and tonal qualities presents a re-imagined scene, using the same knowledge a photographer would encompass while looking through a lens. Collage for me is an art form that collates an array of ephemera to portray an instinctual emotion and almost be treated like oil on a canvas. Stezaker to me is almost presenting reality, the seamless sliced photographs blend together forming a realised image. During my time studying photography Stezaker was an initial influence for me, and led the way for my early explorations into collage art. Having an awareness of line continuation, perspective, and how we look at the works. The current exhibit at the Whitworth showcases 22 pieces, presenting a range of his slicing, mirroring and overlaying techniques. Stezaker towards his work says that his life as an artist finding, or rather being found by, these photographs, their life in waiting has become anticipatory. This line for me is incredibly true to how I work. The collages that I produce are created from materials that find me, the process is organic, I image Stezaker to instantly envision the finalised piece when he gains the right photograph. While walking around the space, there is an instinctual presence with in his pieces, they collaborate together forming an exploration into moods, scene creation and a love for the photographs he is re-envisioning.