Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Strong Lines, Bright Colors
Yesterday I went to see the Patrick Caulfield exhibit at the Tate. Remember how I saw his headstone in Highgate Cemetery? That was the first I'd heard of him, but I'm glad there just happens to be a museum show now featuring his work. It's great stuff! Colorful, with strong, simplified lines and interesting perspectives and awareness of light.
For example, there's his painting Happy Hour, which defines major objects within the painting -- a bar, a roofline, an awning -- with colorful patches of light and shadow. The objects themselves are barely outlined at all.
In Window at Night, a window seen from the outside glows with light from a hanging lamp, a hint of a houseplant on the windowsill beneath. It imparts the same sense of mystery and curiosity we often feel (well, I do, anyway) when walking past someone's window on the street. I love the simplicity and slightly skewed, upward-looking perspective.
And how about the large, muted painting called Dining Recess? That lamp hangs in the center like a sun -- and again, the perspective is interesting, not straight-on but looking into the alcove slightly from the side.
The exhibit page highlights a few more of his paintings. I also like Café Interior: Afternoon -- the raking light and bright colors are terrific.
I'm glad that a visit to a cemetery introduced me to this artist!
It was also great to get away to an art museum. I love art museums -- the white walls, shiny bare floors, the austerity. That kind of simplicity and minimalism has long appealed to me -- you can see it in the decor of my old apartment in New York, though obviously not taken to that extreme.
I remember buying several decorating magazines in the 1990s featuring apartments that were ridiculously bare -- maybe a high-end mattress on a polished concrete floor and some carefully color-coordinated clothes hanging in the closet, and that's it. Is an apartment like that really liveable? I wonder what it looks like today, 15 years later? Probably full of Legos.
I remember buying an issue of Elle Decor (how gay is that?) featuring a guy whose apartment was bare except for bookshelves -- he said he only cared about information. I wonder where he is now, with the advent of the Internet? He could be living in a cupboard!
(Photo: Reading near the Archway tube station, North London.)