Sunday, 8 July 2012

Grand Day Out in Oxford

Spent most of last Saturday mooching round Oxford which was just what I needed (and we didn't get wet!)

We went specifically to see the Jenny Saville exhibition at MAO. Her famous mountainous, fleshy nudes are even bigger than I realised and quite awesome. 
Also on show were a series of more recent drawings called Reproduction which were made after her children were born. They reference nativity sketches by Leonardo and Michaelangelo but are informed by her own experiences in that they are not idealised at all, but are nevertheless quite magnificent (and also very large). Two of the more Madonna-like drawings are temporarily hanging in the Ashmoleon sandwiched between works by Veronese and Titian. Very interesting to compare and contrast. I can't believe this is her first solo show in Britain.

I can never resist a visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum when I'm in Oxford and we came across a charming exhibition called 'Out of the Woods: Prints and Wood Sculpture from Wytham' in the Natural History Museum next door. It was especially interesting because several of the carved lino and woodblocks were on show.  
Printmakers Robin Wilson and Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley, and wood sculptor Simon Clements are currently artists in residence at Oxford University's Wytham Woods. They are working with the Conservator of the Woods and his team to create woodcuts, linocuts and sculptures which respond to the landscape, natural history and science of the woodlands. Its on till 30th September.


We also had time to go to The Last Bookshop where all the books are £2 (another weakness of mine). The stock changes all the time but there is always an interesting selection in the 'art' section. Amongst others (!!!) I bought 'Other Worlds - The art of Nancy Spero and Kiki Smith' and 'The Remembered Present - Andrzej Jackowski'. I was really chuffed because Kiki Smith is an all time favourite of mine and I have only recently noticed the work of Andrzej Jackowski and there was a book about him! I really recommend this bookshop if you come across it. I know there's one in Bristol as well. The only problem is how to squeeze them on to the already bulging bookcase when I get home.