On a recent visit to Bristol, UK, we managed to visit two art exhibitions. The first was in the Bristol Museum and featured the art of Beryl Cook and the second was in the Royal West of England Academy and featured work by Damien Hurst, Elizabeth Frink, Jack Vettriano and Lisa Milroy.
Beryl Cook is probably best known for her illustrations which have been used on numerous greeting cards. Invariably they are images of larger-than-life ladies in improbable footwear as well as animals. In fact this exhibition was called “Larger than life”. Beryl Cook often painted herself, her husband and their pets into the paintings. They spent 5 years living in Bristol and were frequent visitors to the jazz and music bars in King Street (near the theatre) where she apparently loved to sit and watch and sketch the patrons. She also collected shoes which she painted into her paintings and the current exhibition included some of these. I loved this exhibition and her gentle sense of humour.
These are some of the paintings.
More of her work can be seen here.
I was less enthusiastic about the other exhibition. The only item contributed by Damien Hurst was a large statue of a little girl holding a collecting box, entitled “charity” and it had been placed over the entrance to the Academy so it wasn’t immediately obvious that it was part of the exhibition. I was particularly keen to see the new paintings by Jack Vettriano. He had used as the basis for a number of paintings some photographs of dancers taken by the photographer Jeanette Jones, herself a dancer. However, IMHO, the paintings lacked finesse and were poorly executed – a great disappointment.
And I didn’t much care for the paintings by Lisa Milroy, a series entitled “improvisations” which had apparently been based on Japanese prints, although I could see the sense of humour inherent in them.