Saturday, 28 May 2011

Compton Verney

G drove me to Compton Verney today to see the Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson exhibition. Which I really enjoyed. Compton Verney is a beautiful listed building set in graceful Capability Brown landscaped grounds. It's changed quite a bit since the last time we went there. There's a lovely camera obscura a short walk from the newly re-positioned ticket booth. It's a garden shed with a huge silver globe on the top, it's a little odd and ungainly from the outside, but magical within.

You climb up stairs inside and poke your head up inside the globe, upon which is projected the surrounding landscape. The globe acts as an ampilfier both for any noise you make within and for the curious whooshing world without, so you feel kind of embryo like in a world of shadow and noise.

The most startling thing for me was a optical effect created by staring out at the lake through the shed windows, which are tinted pink. Then, if you shift your gaze directly from the pink windows to the green open doors everything jumps into startling vivid green focus. It only lasts a fraction of a second, but the visual jolt is really something, it's like your eyes are re-born - from pink to green, adding to the whole curious birth experience of this visit to the shed. Don't know if this was intentional, but it's what I took away from it anyway.

Compton Verney has got a nice collection of historical paintings and artwork, including a couple of pieces by Lucas Cranach, and a fascinating and amusing selection of folk art, but the stand out stars of their permanent collection for me are the rennaisance and Medieval carvings, in wood and alabaster the quality of which are quite astounding. I could gaze upon them forever and ever.

Another self-portrait which took about an hour to do. I'm getting ideas of how I'd like to develop these, if I can only find the time!!

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