Author Archives: Caroline

Depicting the female body – art by Caroline Walls

As already mentioned, I’ve been hard at work in the studio these past few months, occasionally opening a few newsletters, including design blog Yatzer,  where I discovered the work of painter Caroline Walls.

These images connected to a recent discussion I had with a figurative painter about the minefield that can be the contemporary female nude painted by a woman. We are bombarded every day with so many images of nubile, conventionally beautiful and “perfect” bodies with overwhelming connotations of the male erotic gaze that I, and many others, find disturbingly exploitative.

I was struck by Caroline Walls’ work which depicts an abstracted view of the female form with sensuality and honesty. She’s part of a group of artists challenging this hegemony and celebrates the female body in an inclusive, non-didactic manner. The flat, print-like silhouettes are given depth by the application of many layers of colour.
All photos are from either Yatzer or from Caroline’s website

The Dark Side: some of my work to be shown at The Other Art Fair

I haven’t been out and about as much as usual as have been busy with tight deadlines so, as there’s now just a week to go till The Other Art Fair I’ve been exclusively focussed on the studio developing new work to exhibit.  Here are a few snaps of a couple of pieces that’ll be on my stand (No. 48).

Photo by Caroline Banks

Energy (dark ground) 100 x 80cm

This canvas, tentatively named Energy (dark ground), is one of a pair finished only a few days ago during the very cold spell when the pipes in my studio froze. I’m a bit obsessed with a dark ground at the moment – it has something to do with an intensity of mood. I had planned to paint a series of three ( I have a thing for triptychs) but then received my stand layout (No. 48) which doesn’t allow for 3 large pieces in a row. Never mind, they work as single paintings too.

Photo by Caroline Banks

Painting detail

Painting detail

I work ideas out through drawing and studies: this one developed from the small piece below, itself one of a series.

Photo by Caroline Banks

Dark Study (1) 18 x 13cm

One of my nightmares is naming work so please send me any suggestions – they are always welcome and I look forward to meeting you at the show.

The Bird Hide by Sara Heywood at Bow Arts RAW Labs

If you get off the Docklands Light Railway at Gallions Reach, one stop before the end of the line to Beckton, a short walk will bring you to a new development called Royal Albert Dock, right on the river Thames and opposite London City Airport.Photo by Caroline Banks

Bow Arts has worked with the developers to help create a soul and community to this location with RAW Labs, a purpose-built affordable studio complex with a gallery and cafe around one of the pools. It’s a wonderful place for artists to work with big skies and the light from the water. And, luxury of luxuries, the studios are heated! I’d be there in a shot if it weren’t so far away from where I live.

Photo by Caroline BanksSara Heywood, the recent artist in residence, was influenced by the waterside location and the proximity of London City Airport across the river. Bird life includes cormorants as well as the ubiquitous seagulls. The big birds, however, are the planes which fly directly overhead in to land. Her hide helps you identify both from its location facing the water with binoculars provided.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksIt’s cosy inside with views up to the flight path and there’s a handy identification chart too.Photo by Caroline BanksI was outside when this one came over and no, I can’t tell you what type it was.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banksthere are little spyholes to see what else is going on around the hide.

Photo by Caroline Banks

In the ladies’ at the Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Before you say it, yes, I am intrigued by the conveniences in public establishments – they’re one of the key indicators to the quality of a place as far as I’m concerned.  So here is another in my occasional series of what I consider to be interesting loo interiors. This time it’s the newly refurbished Hotel de Crillon, one of the most sumptuous hotels in Paris.

Hotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline BanksIt’s a beautifully designed jewellery box: a small space that is feminine without being girly and with exquisite detailing. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Palace hotel.
Hotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline BanksHandmade mosaics abound. Hotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline BanksHotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline BanksI like the slight irregularity of the flooring pattern Hotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline Banksand appreciate that the toilet paper is discreetly placed where you can only see it when required, not as soon as you walk into the cubicle.Hotel de Crillon. Photo by Caroline BanksI spoke to the lady attendant who had been working there for 18 years and had been kept on the payroll throughout the four year refurbishment. That hotel has shown loyalty to its workforce which is now being amply rewarded by them.

More drawing at the London Art Fair

Drawing was what appealed to me this time around so here are some more examples I picked out (in no particular order of viewing).

Rebecca Westguard’s sensitively observed line work seen at Compass Gallery.Photo by Caroline Banks Daniel Hosego‘s original ink drawing (much smaller than I expected) on show with his prints at James Freeman GalleryPhoto by Caroline BanksOne of a couple of large sculptural drawings by Silvia Lerin shown by Joanna Bryant & Julian Page. It felt like metal, much more solid than marks made on paper.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Hao Chen Liu fantastical scenes on paper (echoes of Hieronymus Bosch) seen at Yiri Arts Taipei Photo by Caroline BanksOne from a whole wall of drawings by Paul Feiler shown by the Redfern GalleryPhoto by Caroline Banks

And lastly these, not drawings but photographs by Sachiyo Nishimura, deceptive in the way they are presented (like fine Rotring ink drawings) by Anise Gallery. If you’re interested in art related to architecture then this is the place for you. Sachiyo Nishimura. Photo by Caroline Banks

Sachiyo Nishimura. Photo by Caroline Banks

The Drawing Works at the London Art Fair

It’s always interesting to me to look back on what has particularly caught my eye at an art event and this year’s London Art Fair was no exception. Photo by Caroline Banks

The Drawing Works presents work by artists where drawing is a central part of their practice. This time they showed a mainly abstract selection including these ink on paper pieces below by Susan Michie .Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksThe obsessive repetition of mark making has become ritualistic, inducing a feeling of contemplation in the viewer.
Photo by Caroline BanksThis Indian ink drawing by Nigel Bird was one of a couple on the stand  Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Bankswhile this “burnt light” drawing, is one of a series by Julia Hutton.Photo by Caroline Banks

Artist Jake Wood-Evans seen at Unit Gallery

I can’t explain the appeal of paint – it just gets me and I stand there gawping, jaw agape, occasionally uttering “ooohh” before remembering where I am (usually a public place).

Paintings by Jake Wood-Evans have been known to have that effect on me. His show at Unit Gallery was filled with lush classically-inspired oil paintings.
Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks

Yes, I get the grand master classical references, but for me the magic is in his application of paintTransitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline BanksThe light, spaces and bare areas and their interrelationship. Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks The whole point of course, is that this can’t be expressed in words. If it could there would be no need to paint.Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks Transitions by Jake Wood-Evans. Photo by Caroline Banks

Rail Mail, riding the train under London’s streets

The experience of riding in the Rail Mail train at the London Postal Museum is a joy for any age (unless of course you suffer from claustrophobia). RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksFrom the excitement of seeing the little train arrive RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksto getting in (it’s a pretty tight squeeze for two adults side by side as these carriages were designed for mailbags, not people)RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksthen riding through the tunnels, sometimes only centimetres away from the walls.RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksWatch an audiovisual history on one of the platformsRailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksbefore returning to base. RailMail. Photo by Caroline BanksYou can even sit in the engineer’s train and press some switchesRailMail. Photo by Caroline Banksbefore moving on to interact with more exhibits. I enjoyed seeing engineer John Scott’s toolbox made from an old mail carriage, look at all those tobacco tins lined up and labelled.RailMail. Photo by Caroline Banks

Cheerful decorations for a dull winter’s day

Given the grim winter weather this week I thought I’d share these festive images. OK, so Christmas is over but the festive decorations at Le Printemps department store in Paris  were so charming that they merit being seen even after the event.

Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline BanksCome on, who wouldn’t smile at the idea of meerkats in space? Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline BanksThe sunbathers with their foil neck reflectors at the bottom of this photo are a lovely touch Le Printemps window display. Photo by Caroline Banks