Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Here's a testimonial to the effectiveness of social networking!
Over the weekend a Facebook friend posted an article about a gallery show of Sylvia Plath's drawings. (Sylvia, you will recall, is one of my favorite poets.) The friend lives in San Francisco, but the exhibit -- shock -- is in London!
So yesterday, wasting no time, I hopped on the tube and went to see it.
It's at the Mayor Gallery in Soho. The drawings are mostly pen-and-ink sketches, though some are only pencil drafts and at least one uses ink wash. What I found exciting is that several of them were published in a biographical appendix to "The Bell Jar," Plath's famous 1963 novel. Having read that book several times, I was familiar with them, so it was cool to have an opportunity to see them in person.
Of course Plath is a skilled writer and poet, but who knew she was such an artist? Her drawings are well proportioned and finely detailed, even those depicting simple items like a chianti bottle or a horse chestnut. Some of them have an almost Japanese sensibility. And her streetscapes from France and Spain capture the mid-century character of those countries in their postwar years.
Even more surprising -- the drawings were for sale, and they weren't wildly priced. Nearly all of them were already sold, but I saw two still available. One -- a pen and ink drawing of a manor house -- was priced at £4,000. That may seem like a lot, but I think it's pretty reasonable considering the source!
Of course, I don't have that kind of money lying around, so I couldn't indulge my Plathophilia (?). As I said, it was just cool to see them first-hand!