A warm winter Sunday ahead of a cod blast rushing in from the northeast; a perfect dry day to scurry in and see London at Christmas. There are lights around the man squares, a big tree in Trafalgar, holiday decorations in the store windows, colorful sweets at F&M. It was really a nice afternoon to wander and take it all in.
A few new exhibits have opened as well. The Royal Academy of Arts is featuring a retrospective of landscapes by Turner, Gainsborough, and Constable. through February. It begins with several galleries of etched prints from Italy and Holland that preceded, perhaps inspired, the later works. A final room is filled with several paintings by each of the three masters, characteristic but not iconic. The accompanying text brushed by interesting ideas (the relationship of Picturesque, Sublime, and Romantic landscape styles) without elaboration or illustration.
Then over to the White Cube to see the new Gormley exhibition. It features two main themes, one interesting, the other baffling.
The baffling one is Model, a gigantic sculpture of welded metal plates that (after signing a release) you enter and explore. It’s pitch dark, featureless, echoing, close, and (sorry) meaningless. The catalog says that it’s a metaphoric experience of the dark interior of the body, but it was hard to connect with.
Better were the cubic renderings of human bodies, with an accompanying room of studies. Although abstract, I thought they conveyed a lot of feeling (one in particular that seemed to show a body wearily resting, head against the wall, was appealing).
But it’s been that kind of week.