What's Happening In Art This Week

1. Light, time, legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolors of Rome

Detail, Francis Towne (1739–1816), The Temple of Vesta. Pen and black ink and watercolor with grey wash, 1781.

Detail, Francis Towne (1739–1816), The Temple of Vesta. Pen and black ink and watercolor with grey wash, 1781.

British artist Francis Towne (1739-1816) completed a breathtaking body of work during a visit to Rome in 1780-1781. The works are watercolors that sometimes include depictions of famous monuments, such as the Colosseum, ancient baths and temples, the Palatine Hill and the Forum. However, Towne was primarily drawn to the more mundane and neglected places in the city. He was interested in dilapidated walls, the backs of places and hollow ditches.

The watercolors Towne painted are captivating depiction of a city lost in time and space. Towne intended the works to be viewed as a warning to 18th century Britain cautioning them no to make the same mistakes as ancient Rome so as not to suffer a similar fate.

Francis Towne, left his watercolors to the British Museum when he died in 1816.  Light, time legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolors of Rome is on show at the British Museum, London, from 21 January – 14 August 2016. 

2. Champagne Life

Alice Anderson, 181 Kilometers, 2015 Photo: Steve White / Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Alice Anderson, 181 Kilometers, 2015 Photo: Steve White / Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Champagne Life takes its title from a 2014 work by American artist Julia Wachtel. Champagne life is the first Saatchi show that is devoted solely to women artists. The exhibition features 14 artists.

 One artist included in the exhibition is Saudi artist Maha Malluh. The work she exhibits titled ‘Food for Thought Al-Muallaqat’ features a wall covered with burnt cooking pots. The charred pots allude to burn out ideas or beliefs. Two works by Julia Dault place tied, stacked rolled sheets of glossy and transparent packing materials.

 One of the rooms features work by Korean artist Seung Ah Paik and Stephanie Quayle from the Isle of Man. Quayle’s works are a pair of life-sized brown cows made from clay-covered chickenwire while Ah Paik displays her pigment and charcoal images of body parts.

 The exhibition does not appear to have an overarching theme other than that all the artists are women.

3. Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better

Peter Fischli David Weiss, Untitled, 1994–2013 (detail). Painted polyurethane, 164 parts, overall dimensions vary with installation.

Peter Fischli David Weiss, Untitled, 1994–2013 (detail). Painted polyurethane, 164 parts, overall dimensions vary with installation.

Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946-2012) collaborated for 33 years and created work that sought to challenge many of our worldly assumptions. This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of Fischli and Weiss’s joint work in a New York museum.

In their work these Swiss artists rethink readymade and employ the tools of humor and banality. As such their work is simultaneously amusing and deeply reflective appropriation of cultural genres. They place side by side the spectacular and the ordinary in order to make us rethink how we perceive everyday life. They also look to challenge the self-appointed importance of high art.

The retrospective includes over three hundred works in various mediums such as sculpture, photography, slide projections video and installation. Their work includes: picture-postcard views, low-budget Hollywood movies, the readymade and the sort of lay philosophy of self-help books

. Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to work better is on view at the Guggenheim Museum, New York February 5 – April 27, 2016. 

4. Rekha Rodwittiya: The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales

Rekha Rodwittiya, REKHA @ 50 (BLUE), 2008

Rekha Rodwittiya, REKHA @ 50 (BLUE), 2008

The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales is the first major showing of Rekha Rodwittiya’s work in New York City in 20 years. Rodwittiya is a ground-breaking feminist artist whose work became influential throughout the 80s and 90s. He subject matter include remarkable individual depictions of female forms, spaces and rituals.  Her clearly defined female figures may be seen as tangible expressions of Rodwittiya’s psychological insights into the personal and historical complexities of womanhood.  The paintings demand more than a simple aesthetic reading. The figures confront the viewer directly and demand a reckoning with the struggles experienced by, and past wrongs that were done to, the women the figurative works represent. The figures also seek to elicit appreciation for the profounder meanings that constitute their being.  

Rodwittiya was born in Bangalore in 1958 and studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda and at the Roy College of Art, London. Rekha Rodwittiya: The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales is on view at the Aicon Gallery New York, February 4 - 27, 2016. 

5. Envision

The title “Envision” alludes to the human desire to dream and imagine and to aspire to create great things. Envision is an exhibition that is comprised of monumental sculptures by Singapore and internationally renowned Asian artists. The exhibition showcases the quality and breath of these artists’ work.

The exhibition present 13 sets of works by 11 artists. The artists included in the exhibition are: Baet Yok Kuan (b. 1961, Singapore), Chen Sai Hua Kuan (b. 1976, Singapore), Gy Wenda (b. 1955, China/USA), JuMing (b. 1938, Taiwan), Kumari Nahappan (b. 1953, Singapore), Lim Soo Ngee (b. 1962, Singapore), Shen Lieyi (b. 1969, China), Sri Astari Rasjid (b. 1953, Indonesia), Yuyu Yang (b. 1926 – d. 1997, Taiwan), Zhan Wang (b. 1962, China) and Zhang Huan (b. 1965, China) from China, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Envision aims to promote art in Asia and to integrate art into the public realm. Envision will take place in the heart of the city; in key urban and cultural areas. The exhibition is initially held at the Arts House; it then travels to various places until it reaches the Marina Bay Boulevard.

Envision is on display at the Garden City, Singapore, 16 January – 15 April, 2016

 

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