Monday, 30 October 2017

A change of venue - visiting GOMA with the Saturday group


Yesterday the Saturday class had a change of venue. Instead of working in the Studio we went into the city. We met at The Library Cafe for coffee and sketching (that was the plan - the reality was that we chatted until it was time for GOMA to open.)

Our aim was to see Gerhard Richter - The Life of Images. This large exhibition exhibits a comprehensive collection of his work over the last 50 plus years and shows his extreme versatility as an artist. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

The paintings range from the very tiny overpainted photographs to the massive abstracts and tapestries. I never really understood the overpainted photos before but seeing them IRL is the best way to appreciate the detail. 

The exhibition opened with the portrait of his daughter Ella. This painting has been used as the principle image on Gallery marketing, is surprising small and intimate - and breathtakingly beautiful. On an adjoining wall is a huge digital striped abstract - so colourful - absolutely mesmerising.

Ella 
2007 oil on canvas 
40 cm x 31 cm

The photographic paintings are drawn from a vast store of photographs collected power the years. The collection of images form Atlas seen in together in a separate gallery. It's worth allowing a good length of time to view the exhibition as there is a lot to see and absorb.
These are images are transformed and made so much more. Richter looks into the image, amplifies the content, blurring the focus creating a lush painterly finish. Even subjects that could be sentimental like the dog and the glamorous film star are painted so sensitively they escape that categorisation. 


Jockel  
1967 oil on canvas 
50 cm x 50 cm


Portrait Liz Kertelge
1966 105 cm x 70 cm 
Oil on canvas

Whenever I return from an exhibition and start to capture my impressions I realise that I should have taken notes or at the least photographed as few more exhibition captions.

This painting of Richter in the arms of his aunt is especially poignant. When he painted this Richter had no idea of his aunt’s tragic story. Briefly, during WWII she had been captured by the Nazis and tortured to death. The melancholy is evident.



There are two painting of Moritz, Richter’s son. One was more highly finished and this one with rough brushstrokes and some areas unpainted - no more needed to be said...


Moritz
2000 62 cm x 52 cm 

Oil on canvas


I enjoyed this large abstract viewed from another gallery - it required more than a little patience to catch the image without any people!

Another gallery has a sombre collection of four abstracts relating to Birkenau
these large abstracts,260 x 200 cm, started as paintings using images smuggled from the death camp. Richter, unable to leave the images visible, obliterated them under layers and layers of paint. 

And finally another large abstract and a few detail photos showing the way the paint is layered smeared and scraped.