Wednesday, 10 August 2011


 Cork Street Open Art Exhibition for Charity

Do not be put off by the limitations of a small image. This artwork is exceptional. It consists of hundreds of wooden pegs each adorned with an exquisite miniature pen and ink drawing. It’s a sort of cityscape: we glimpse chimney towers, scaffolding, lacy bridges, pylons, street lighting, aerials. And windows come in patterns: Regency,  Victorian,  Brutalist,  arched, square, some  blind-black, others letting the light in.

The magic of Metropolis lies partly in its changing perspectives. The tiny drawings look at us as if we’re standing at street level looking back and up at them. But our eye also travels like a bird over the top, taking in the excitement of a whole metropolis. We notice that some pegs stand in soldier-straight rows as if in a tidy street, while others are higgledy piggledy, nudging and competing for space the way that  real buildings do.

Metropolis won the prestigious Derwent Drawing Prize. (Derwent have been making pencils in Cumbria since 1832 and reckon they’ve perfected the art). One of the judges, Martin Newman, said that it was quite a radical decision to give the drawing prize to Hanna ten Doorkat's work as it includes sculpture and mixed media.

I saw the piece at a very special annual exhibition with two aims: to showcase over 200 works by emerging and established artists, and to raise funds and highlight a particular charity. This year the focus is on PAPYRUS, an organisation dedicated to preventing youth suicide. What this exhibition offers us is a huge range of  styles and subject matter,  all energetically competing for our attention and affection. Not so easy to be dismissive of ‘contemporary art’ after you’ve walked round these galleries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment