December 7th, 2010

pottering around piccadilly

Last week, I took my Glasgow Auntie's advice and popped into the Royal Academy before the Random House party to see The Glasgow Boys exhibition. I'd seen bits of it with her last year at the Kelvingrove in Glasgow, so it was fun to pick up where I'd left off. ...Oops, can't say that, my aunt has firmly instructed me not to say that art galleries are 'fun'; they are not 'fun', they are 'interesting'. ...Hello, Auntie!

I stopped to make a sketch of a rather strange little painting, Contrabandista, by Arthur Melville. It's mostly composed of shapes, so abstract that it's a bit difficult to work out what's going on, which makes it sinister in a fascinating way. I can just about make out a convoy of people travelling down a hill slope on a track, with a sort of mushroom cloud on the horizon; then these huge bluey shadows blot out the foreground, most likely a group of bandits, standing at the top of another hill. Very different from the other paintings in the room; portraits, women playing tennis, a goose herder, a couple arts-and-crafts type scenes from Celtic mythology.

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