Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Brooklyn Bridge:Night Ice - wood engraving, linocut and stencilling  22x17cm,
24 .11.15

Ann Desmet is one of only 3 engravers elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in its 247 years of history - and the only woman. But forget for a moment, if you can,  the exquisite  skill and mastery which  makes this artwork possible. 

Start by enjoying the view. You are invited straight into  a  hard, crisp, dry night, almost standing on the bridge itself.  Your eye is drawn  towards a small dark space flanked by what could be cathedral windows or butterfly wings. Scenes of this beauty conjure up the magic and mythology of fairy tales and of cunning Jack Frost. Crusty rime coats those slim poles on the right, whose shadows mark out a stern geometric pattern. On the left your eye greets machinery with spidery legs covered in snow which is covered by ice.  Nothing is soft or blurred, but on this dark, silent night this particular jumble of metal looks positively noisy.
St Paul's:Lights,Wood engraving & stencil on Gampi Vellum paper

 The art critic Laura Gascoigne points out that Ann Desmet is an artist who likes to  'leave our imaginative options open'.

 The sky behind St Paul's dome is crisscrossed with beams. We are not certain why. Is this a City of London Festival delight, a sky pierced by sharp lasers, watched by jostling, cheering crowds lining the banks of the Thames and the surrounding area? Or are those searchlights raking the sky for enemy aircraft? Does it strike a chill in the heart of Londoners old enough to remember the appalling attack, the St Pauls Cathedral blitz ' on  29th December 1940, resulting in what has been called the Second Great Fire of London (the first was in 1666)
 Below is a link to Long and Ryle's exhibition catalogue:
 P.S.  Brooklyn Bridge is roughly a mile long. It opened in 1883  I'm told it carries six lanes of vehicular traffic plus a safe, elevated pedestrian and bike path. It takes about 30 minutes to walk across and a well-meaning  website brings us down to earth with 'walking across the bridge at a moderate pace burns about 100 calories; walking slowly burns about 80'.

No comments:

Post a Comment