Which artworks do you love the most? If money and space were no objects, which one would you have in your home?
Tagsmart’s Executive Chairman Tom Toumazis MBE kicks off the My Art Haven series and shares his picks: Jackson Pollock’s most famous work, a monumental Richard Serra and a composite of works donated by 104 artists for the Visual Aid project including David Hockney, Paula Rego, Howard Hodgkin, Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Patrick Heron, Bridget Riley, Joe Tilson, Terry Frost, Patrick Caulfield, Elisabeth Frink and Craigie Aitchison amongst others.
His abstract photography pieces were just beautiful, particularly Blushes #136 (2014). It was the first time that I saw photography executed in this way. By playing with chemicals and light, he created almost a painting through photography. Another work that drew me in was Tillmans’ luscious and foamy depiction of the sea in La Palma (2014). Very satisfying to look at.
This exhibition at Zabludowicz Collection was the most moving exhibition that I had ever been to, leaving a permanent impression on me.
Upon entering, I was faced with mostly naked men and women, wearing only latex, ripped bodystockings and slathers of paint. They moved in slow motion to the sound of a heavy bass, leaving remnants of paint on the glass installation and footsteps in the sand maze.
I thought that a room filled with naked people would put me on edge, but somehow I felt I could sit in the beautiful chapel and watch the scene with comfort, totally mesmerised by the passing models who seemed totally unaware of my presence.
The show could have been laughable, but Huanca executed it with a certain delicacy and fearlessness which I cannot contest.
Back in the 1950/60s, Hélio Oiticica created the radical series of red, yellow, and orange hanging structures called Relevos Espaciais (Spatial Reliefs). Built from sheets of plywood, they intersect and overlap, leaving gaps through which light can pass. By transposing blocks of colour into space, Oiticica involved the viewers in a personal and immersive way with these three-dimensional constructions.
It seems to me a further step was taken in this direction with Joel Shapiro’s suspended sculptures, which seem to float and defy gravity. Open to several possible interpretations, his continuous study of the dynamics of form and colour confounds expectations and challenges our senses.
What fascinates me about him is his almost unique talent for creative composition, which is really clear in the works shown here. There was less emphasis on his paintings, which suited me because I don’t enjoy them as much! I bought several, of course – they took my cheque.
I loved the way it was set up. It was very interesting to see periods in his life divided by rooms and so much of his work in one place. The last room with digital iPad drawings just showed how talented he really is, that he could adapt quickly to new media.
With the arrival of spring, we felt like celebrating the upcoming launch of our new Smart Tag by asking some of our team members what are their favourite works on canvas when thinking of the new season.
The vast array in style demonstrates the wide diversity of taste in art amongst us. Nonetheless, one thing remains the same for all: there is plenty of enthusiasm and excitement for the days to come!
Luke Kang, Production and Fulfilment Manager & Artist Lois Dodd’s Self-Portrait in Green Window (1971)
When I think of spring, nature immediately comes to mind. I feel that this piece by Lois Dodd is an embodiment of the season. The painting catches my eyes due to the use of off-green colours she uses and which I find rather curious given that the artist is known for her depiction of life and landscapes.
She portrays herself in a darker, shadowy green, giving her an undead appearance, the colours used on her self-portrait evoke a slightly sickly appearance. Yet, altogether the subject matter reflects opposing feelings, of fecundity, abundance, fruitfulness and life. I feel Dodd is making an ironic statement here possibly hinting back into the ideas of zombies and reanimation.
I also appreciate how confident she is with her painting style. She might mix paint before hand, but she doesn’t mix many colours one they are laid out on the canvas, instead opting for a flat and bold application of paint.
Freddie Powell, Product Assistant Alice Browne’s Powder (Poised) (2015)
I searched ‘the best things about spring’ and the first answer to pop up was 'because it brings the hope of some sunshine for a least a few days in a row’. I immediately thought of Alice Browne’s Powder (Poised) in which the colours of the season seem to be waiting to burst through. It’s not hard to be attracted to the almost fragrant selection of green, red and yellows on view, getting a sense for the lighter and longer days just after the clocks come forward.
Browne’s work focuses on her own fictional and imaginary architectures, shown here through connected blue lines and the works growing layered spaces between. Perhaps here she has painted spring itself, no longer just a season but a physical space for the viewer to explore and (finally) enjoy!
Annalise Brocklehurst, Business Development & Client Services Executive Damien Hirst’s Midas of Phrygia (2007)
Damien Hirst’s Butterfly Colour Paintings remind me of spring because it is the time when trees blossom, a new life begins and our world becomes more colourful again. His piece with butterflies positioned in a circle suggests an idea of a cycle, with the passing of winter and the celebration of spring and life. Although some believe the piece could be interpreted as morbid and evoking death, as butterflies live on average for only a month, I believe the opposite. I see everything flourishing and it makes me feel uplifted and alive.
Julia Ferreira de Abreu, Marketing Manager David Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire (2011)
This monumental 32-canvas painting forms one part of a 52-part work by David Hockney. The first time I saw this gem was at Hockney’s A Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy. It was February 2012 and I had had enough of winter. Spring seemed to be too far away and this artwork made me yearn for warmer weathers, brighter skies and flowers coming into bloom. It felt as if Hockney is inviting me to slip right inside the painting and walk along that lovely path under the trees!
The Arrival of Spring’s vibrant colours scream spring and represent the change of seasons with the same enthusiasm as mine. The rich reds and greens make me anticipate what’s to come and reflect on nature’s cycles, the passage of time and the small but significant changes that unfold daily before our eyes. Conveying the beauty and grandeur of nature’s transience and the warmth of the new season, it sets us on a journey to the rediscovery of the landscape.
Anastasia Aya Aroukatos, PR & Marketing Executive Hope Gangloff’s Late Night (Olga Alexandrovskaya) (2015)
Recently everywhere I look I amazed by the sprouting colours all around me, shocked that in a city like London such vibrant colours and flowers actually bloom. Maybe I have never paid enough attention? The sensation of feeling overwhelmed by the beautiful weather and nature that envelops me during spring makes me think of this painting by Hope Gangloff.
I feel like I draw some parallels between his work and that of Gustav Klimt, who is one of my all-time favourite painters. I especially love the intricate details and colours in the clothing and room decor. These patterns remind me of that time of year that I wait for in anticipation to go into our storage and pull out my spring wardrobe which is filled with an array of colourful prints. At the same time, there is a lack of light and life in the colours, reminding me that summer is not yet here, but around the corner!