I recently went to see the Damien Hirst exhibition whilst it was showing at Tate Modern in London. Despite his fame I did not really know much at all about this artist so was intrigued as to what I would discover. I don’t think I fully understand some of his art, but what I can definitely relate to is his love of colour which is evident in the spot paintings and the spin paintings. Great to see such enjoyment and celebration of pure colour in this form.
There were 2 rooms in the exhibition given to “In and Out of Love” – shown for the first time since his first solo show in London in 1991. In one room there was a specially maintained humid environment with white canvases hung on the walls embedded with pupae, from which butterflies hatched from the paintings and flew around the room, fed on sugar water and potted plants and laid eggs. We were experiencing a live installation! The second room showed brightly coloured monochrome canvases with dead butterflies stuck to their surfaces, also tables with ashtrays full of cigarette butts in the middle of the room. The themes of life and death and in fact the whole life cycle, together with the beauty and horror of these themes are definitely on show in this installation.
Again, on the theme of butterflies, I was particularly drawn to the large paintings where the butterflies are arranged into complex patterns, like kaleidoscopes of colour and tone. My favourite is “Sympathy in White Major – Absolution II”. The softness of the colours and the perfectly symmetrical pattern forming a huge circle.
From the playful “Blue Peter” fun of the spin paintings, to the scientific and religious, to the polar opposites of Life and Death and the play between them – all quite intellectual and profound, and yet, perhaps very simplistic? There is so much to learn about in this life!
September can be a time of reflection for me as the seasons start to change and we move towards Autumn. Looking back over this summer the Olympics have certainly left a lasting impression me. From Opening to Closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics and all in between – what an amazing life event. I have been part of this great British celebration of sport and culture. Being a patriotic soul I have been so proud to be British. I have seen excellence in so many different sports, some which I had never seen before or knew very little about. Team GB have been Triumphant! But, I am also in total admiration of the fantastic planning and organising of the events. It drew me in with such enthusiasm, and particularly the Happiness that has surrounded these Games.
This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have seen such creativity on so many different levels. The whole experience has been a true inspiration to me and how it relates to my art, and my desire for achievement and enrichment. Some words from Lord Coe’s speech at the Paralympics opening ceremony …”Sport is about what you can do, what you can achieve, the limits you can reach, the barriers you can break… Prepare to be inspired. Prepare to be dazzled. Prepare to be moved.” I hope that I can take just a little of this magic and channel it into my art to strive for the best I can do – to share with others.