Saturday, 19 March 2016

Luxury, a Green Man and Bill Viola

Pat and I were in Surrey and Hampshire last weekend for a rather late wedding present stay at the Four Seasons Hotel. We had a terrific time and I took umpteen photographs which I've hardly had time to sort through. One I did like immediately, however, was this one I took at an antiques shop in Surrey. This has to be the friendliest Green Man I've ever come across.

After our pampering at the Four Seasons we spent a couple of days in the rather more prosaic Premier Inn next to Kings Cross Station in London. Not as luxurious perhaps, but clean and comfortable and really what more do you need? 

From there we were able to get to one or two galleries. The John Caple exhibition at John Martin of London was shown to very good effect in their new upstairs premises in Albemarle Street and the staff there were, as always, very welcoming. I've yet to determine how Caple gets such creamy whites (just like flake white oil) in his acrylic paintings, but they're lovely.

For me, one of the highlights of the V&A's Botticelli Reimagined was Bill Viola's Going Forth by Day. I'm not usually one for an art video installation, but Bill Viola really is The Man for those. Inspired by Botticelli frescoes, the video simply shows people of all ages and races walking down a path in a sun-dappled wood. Walking in ones and and twos, and in groups, they walk slowly from the left edge of the very long image and leave at the right.

They're dressed mostly quite casually, some of them in sports equipment, and many carry objects - sports trophies, musical instruments, flowers in pots and bunches, suitcases - and the speed of their walk has been slowed by a fraction.

We didn't intend to watch the whole 36 minutes of it but we were drawn in by its mesmerising quality and didn't leave until the old guy with the walker came round again.

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