Monday, 21 April 2014

Marino Marini, horse artist

Marini  Rider 1953 tempera on paper 26.2 x 34.3 cm

Marini  Equestrian composition  1954 Oil on canvas 51 x 43 cm

Since completing the preparation for the Glasgow exhibition, I have been looking at the drawings, paintings and sculpture of Marino Marini (1901-1980), who was a tremendous horse artist, as well as portrait artist.  He worked in an expressionist  way, going far beyond the directly figurative Western tradition of equestrian art, and he was evidently inspired by the forms of the Chinese horse sculptors, as well as primitve artists from Etruscan period. 

Marini  Rider 1950 Oil on canvas  78.5 x 57 cm

Marini  Horse 1945 Bronze 45 x 51 cm

Marini  Horse 1946  Bronze  44 x 19.5 x 51.5

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

"The Horse in Mind" Glasgow Art Club exhibition May 2014

I have been working on an exhibition at the prestigious Glasgow Art Club, in the centre of Glasgow. This beautiful building has been the home of GAC since 1893, so it is full of atmosphere and  memories of past artists from this great city and beyond.  It is located a stone's throw from the equally prestigious Glasgow School of Art.

Tang 2  charcoal on paper   590 x 610

I was asked to make equestrian drawings for this event, and it has been a great opportunity to "binge"on horse drawing day after day in the studio. 

Fragment 2   charcoal on paper 600 x 400

Some of the drawings are studies from history.  I am fascinated by the knowledge and passion shown by equestrian artists of ancient civilizations.  There is something very evocative about the fragments seen in museums, simply because they ARE ghostly traces of once-powerful cultures.  But they are often wonderful works of art as well.  For example the Parthenon frieze, which celebrates the cavalry of the Athenians, is full of life and energy and human and equestrian expression, as well as being superb quality sculpture which shows an intimate knowledge and study of horses and men and drapery.

Parthenon pair   acrylic on ply  38 x 15

Beyond this, it is compelling to look at the ways in which horses have been portrayed.  The Greeks modelled the horse very realistically, emphasizing its sculptural anatomy and its exuberance.  The Chinese Tang ceramic sculptors greatly exaggerate the body of the horse, giving it a statuesque quality, but also a very strong and dynamic one.  I love to try and get inside the mind of these artists, and it excites me to feel their abstract and formal interpretation of the horse. I would like to work quite abstractly, and not always adhere to the more traditional Western way of painting and drawing horses.  That is a challenge which I have to take as it comes, in its own time.

Startled horse   Charcoal and acrylic paint on cotton  920 x 770

For the exhibition I have also been doing some more intimate and realistic portrayals, mostly working from imagination or translating some of my studies into more dynamic form.  Often a conscious study, as in the case of my charcoal "Tang" drawings will emerge in a different and unexpected form.  It has been a fascinating journey so far, and of course one that I shall continue long after this exhibition. 

The exhibition runs from 12th May to 5th June, 2014, 
Monday to Saturday   11 am to 5 pm  
The Glasgow Art Club, 
185, Bath Street
Glasgow G2 4HU
0141 248 5210