Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Painting for the computer age

One of my very rare trips 'oop north took place this weekend, depositing me in a cheap hotel opposite Leeds railway station. After surviving a family gathering I spent half a day taking in the sights of Leeds city centre. This combined family history with art, because the Leeds Art gallery was located directly below the Library.

The visiting exhibition at the gallery was of paintings by Fiona Rae. She rose to prominence in the '90's with the Young British Artists and creates some very accessible works of art, extremely colourful, incorporating elements from cartoons and popular culture. The paintings were cleverly built up, using a wide variety of techniques, utensils, computer printouts and the occasional line of text. I must say I enjoyed watching the video of Rae explaining her work, her studio set-up and her thoughts. She is clearly thoughtful and engaging, like her works of art.

Whether the paintings show a new art fit for the 21st century, as the exhibition blurb suggested, I'm not so sure. Rae had been increasingly using computers and collaborating with computer based designers. Perhaps this will be a new Pop Art for the noughties but, in my view, paintings are probably destined to remain in a rather anachronistic world of high art, however many pots of magenta paint are dribbled across the canvas.

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