Monday 7 October 2013

Sandra Blow at London's King's Place Gallery

An exhibition showcasing some of the extraordinary abstract works by British painter Sandra Blow (1925 - 2006) is currently on at King's Place Gallery in London.

The exhibition, concisely titled "Painting and Prints", showcases the prolifically commanding work of the pioneer artist with works spanning her 60 years-plus career.

In her work, Sandra Blow does not seem to be intimidated neither confined by the canvas. Hers is a work which seem to have been extracted from a greater picture; an offering from a visionary and inspired painter who, in her time, has kept the flame of the medium alive, thus hopefully through this exhibition, passing this metaphorical torch along to a new generation.

Sandra Blow incorporated colour, added collages and carved space into her work. It is important to note the silent relevance of painting as a medium today. In this day and age, it seems easier and quicker to communicate via photographs or brusquely written texts. Only what is 'shared' via a computer or electronic device seems to be validated as 'modern'.

Sandra Blow in her St Yves' studio in 2002. Photo by Antonio Olmos.

Thus painting might seemingly appear to be at a historical disadvantage. My humble opinion is that the opposite is true. Painting, when finally released by the Impressionist from the figurative realm, was faced with a existential crisis with the advent of photography and, subsequently, the moving image. But I believe that painting, instead of being overshadowed by technology, has been able to liberate itself yet again from a whole different notion of evolution and progress via constant technological advances, finally being able to follow its own path as a medium that is unique in its expression and finalization.

The point in appreciating painting is that it can't be immediately shared and ultimately viewed by millions of people at once. Everything that is not the actual painting is in fact a reproduction of it. Painting demands a moment, a stillness from the observer, a moment to contemplate the result of all that has gone before, solely between the canvas and the painter him/herself.

In the last two hundred years or so, the seeds of Empire and Colonialism, recently culminating in the Free Trade, has brought to us the fruits (literally and metaphorically speaking) of the whole world to our tables - making every plant, spice, creature or resource available wherever and whoever we are. Still, somethings have to be experienced in their own terms. We humans cannot order every single experience in life from a online shop. And that's why painting has a special part to play in contemporary culture.

A photograph of a painting on a website is what it is, a photograph of a painting. I am sorry to say this, but if you'd like to experience painting you will have to go and see it. It awaits you. In this case at King's Place Gallery from the 4th of October until the 9th of November 2013.

For more information on Sandra Blow's work and her estate, please click here.

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.