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Little Legacy #3 Art appreciation

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Alexander Residence: Little Legacy #3 Art appreciation

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Little Legacy #3 Art appreciation

It's the last day of 1994, I am 17.  

I am sitting on a white floor laughing.  A sea of faces look back at me.  Some are smiling, some quizzical, some sad, shocked, disinterested, some star gazing, some thoughtful, some scared.  I feel alone, together, afraid, fearless, excited, nervous.  I could take on the world.  I feel like something is going to happen.  

I'm not drunk.  There are no illegal substances involved.  

No.  For the first time in my life I am awestruck by the power of art. I am looking at Antony Gormley's Field for the British Isles in Tate Liverpool.

Field for the British Isles
by Matt Gorecki
One of my parent's larger little legacies is a cultural one, taking me to art galleries and talking to me about art.

I will also never forget my parents taking me to an exhibition dedicated to minimalism at Tate Liverpool.  I complained a lot at Mark Rothko's big blocks of colour,  'But I could paint that Dad' and about Carl Andre's controversial Equivalent VIII'But it's just a pile of bricks Mum.'  But whatever I made of art then, it set my mind wandering. 

By the age of 17 I had long fallen out of love with school art lessons.  I can trace this back, to the collage I laboriously made for homework in third year.  My art teacher didn't seem to get it, she much preferred the technically brilliant, but boring, sketch of a tree by my classmate.  I'm not claiming I was ever brilliant at art, I just wasn't inspired by endless pencil sketches, cross hatching, dotting and still, stagnant life.  I wanted glue, paint, clay and collages.  So I dropped art in favour of drama.

In sixth form, after seeing the Field for the British Isles exhibition, I suggested to my friend, who had stuck with Art, and was looking for a topic for her A level coursework, that she did Antony Gormley.  The art teacher told her Gormley wasn't famous enough.  A few weeks later of course, Gormley won the Turner Prize.  

I am frustrated I didn't pursue art beyond just appreciating it, especially when I look at art in schools nowadays and it is a very different picture.  Still, I appreciate looking at it.

This little legacy continues, last weekend My Dad and I took Miss L to Nottingham Contemporary.  Here's how we got on.

little legacy A small thing handed down by a predecessor

Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors.  I am going to post one every Thursday. If you want to join me at any point, either as a project or a one off, there's more information here and a space to link up below. 

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At 21 July 2011 at 11:40 , Blogger Cat said...

Love your writing Penny. Your opening paragraphs had me hooked, I just had to click through to read on.

At 21 July 2011 at 13:41 , Blogger Mel said...

I LOVE all those little faces looking at me! What a great inspiration point.

At 21 July 2011 at 14:14 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hello Cat, thank you so much, glad you did :)
Thanks Mel, there is an American 'field' of little faces too somewhere I believe :)

At 21 July 2011 at 18:50 , Blogger Emma said...

How gorgeous is that? I had no idea it existed, but I love it! Great writing as always! Emma :)

At 21 July 2011 at 18:52 , Blogger Kate said...

I love your little legacies!

At 22 July 2011 at 03:51 , Anonymous Boo and Me said...

Lovely post. I always wanted to see Gormley's Field for the British Isles - must have been amazing to be sat in front of it!
From one art lover to another x

At 22 July 2011 at 15:56 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thanks Emma and Kate xx
Boo - have a feeling you would love it, it must be touring the world somewhere still x

At 24 July 2011 at 21:52 , Blogger Claire said...

I'm really enjoying your little legacies! I know nothing about art but when I was travelling around Europe I had the pleasure of seeing some of the worlds most renowned paintings and sculptures. It was truly spectacular to be standing in front of such revered work. I might join your little legacies on Thursday. x

At 25 July 2011 at 11:13 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hi Claire
Thank you :) I don't think you need to know a lot, in fact sometimes knowing too much gets in the way of just experiencing it. Your trip sounds fab. Anytime you want to join in, you are very welcome x


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