Postcard from Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Church of England and dates back to the conversion of the King of Kent by St Augustine and his missionaries in 597 CE. Impossible to miss on the skyline around the town and hard not to want to photograph, even if one could more easily just buy postcards. Click any image to see them all full sized.

Photo, Sculpture and Painting

Victor Brauner, Conglomeros, 1945. Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris

In Plato’s cave allegory we are bound and can only see images of the shadows cast by statues of real things. As we free our minds, we first discover that we are looking at mere images, shadows. Next we discover that the shadows are cast not by the real but by statues, imitations of the ideals which they represent. Only when we emerge from the cave do we discover the world of real things.

Benny Andrews

Saturday before Christmas we went to see Benny Andrews: Portraits, A Real Person Before the Eyes at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. These are very very powerful, strong images, created with paint on canvas and painted cloth and other materials (gesso?) that give them real depth. Well worth putting on a mask and making an appointment to go see.

Kwoma Ceiling

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

from the informational placard:

The Kwoma are a group of people living in the Washkuk Hills north of the Sepik River in northeastern New Guinea. Most Kwoma villages have, or had, one or two ceremonial houses, consisting of a rook reaching nearly to the ground and supported by posts and beams. These structures have no walls, and the sides are left open except when rituals are taking place inside. A finial (yaba), carved with images of supernatural beings, projects from each gable. The decoration of Kwoma ceremonial houses was formerly less extensive that it is today, but since the 1970s, the amount of ornamentation has increased. The supporting wood architectural elements are now carved and painted, and paintings typically cover about half the roof’s interior.

Kwoma paintings are created on bark-like panels made from sago petioles, the lower portion of the leaves of the sago palm tree. After the petiole is cured and flattened, the artist covers the smooth side with a wash of black clay. The main outlines of the design are laid out in clear water, retraced in paint, and then filled in with color. Although one man lays out the design, an assistant may perform the work of infilling and painting the bordering dots. The semi naturalistic designs represent people, animals, or other natural phenomena associated with the village clans. Each artist primarily creates paintings of designs that are associated with his own clan. These paintings are then installed on the ceiling together with those of other clans. Artists from several different clans were involved in the production of the present ceiling.
The pained panels are installed on the ceiling in no particular order. They are mainly arranged lengthwise along the axis of the house, with a few placed laterally at its midpoint. The midpoint forms the center of the structure, the most ritually important area, and it also roughly demarcates the sectors allotted to each clan.
Most of the paintings for this reconstruction of a Kwoma ceremonial house ceiling were commissioned in 1970 and 1973, from a group of twenty-four artists in Mariwai village.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

But the highlight of the Chelsea gallery crawl has to have been seeing, for the first time, the brilliant work of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at the Jack Shainman Gallery, In Lieu of a Louder Love. I can’t recommend this more highly. Unfortunately, it closed on the 16th, the day we were there, but if you can get to see her work somewhere, run, don’t walk. Here are just a couple of examples and the photographs don’t begin to do justice to the quality of the painting, the texture and the depth of feeling.

Jack Shainman Gallery, West 20th Street, New York