Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Posts Tagged ‘Edmund de Waal

Falls the Shadow, Jennifer Lee

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Falls the Shadow, Jennifer Lee is a new book featuring the work of Scottish artist Jennifer Lee, and was published to coincide with the exhibition the nature of things: Jennifer Lee, Hans Stofer and Laura Ellen Bacon at the New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Garden, Wiltshire. The book is wonderful, with texts by award-winning authors Tanya Harrod and Edmund de Waal, and superb reproductions of her pots, drawings, and their installations. It also includes an intimate collection of images of her materials, sketchbooks, and studio.

The title of the book and Tanya Harrod’s essay make reference to a poem by T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men, which reads:
“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow”

It is easy to see the connection drawn here between poem and pots, as Jennifer’s works seem suspended in both time and place. They are poised on the very edge of action and motion, remaining utterly still on their pedestals.

Edmund de Waal writes that one of the best descriptions of sculpture is that it “displaces the air around it, creating a sort of spatial hum,” and he believes that Jennifer’s work possesses this quality. This hum, or vibration in the atmosphere, occupies the same space as the shadow of Eliot’s poem. Jennifer’s vessels are imbued with the activity of their creation, resulting in finely balanced forms that evoke geological processes in their colors and proportions.

I am happy to be welcoming Jennifer back to the gallery this summer for her show Jennifer Lee: New Work from July 14th to August 11th. We will have copies of this beautiful book of her work available to purchase.

Written by Frank Lloyd

June 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

A Hidden Inheritance

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I attended a brilliant lecture Tuesday night. Not a typical slide talk, but rather a moving and multi-layered journal of inquiry. British ceramist, writer and historian Edmund de Waal gave a talk about an inheritance, a collection of miniature netsuke figures. Edmund’s discourse was charming, clearly intelligent, thoroughly researched, yet still—and profoundly—touching. At the Getty auditorium, he held everyone’s attention throughout the evening.  He captured a sense of history, an appreciation of European culture, and the magic of great periods of painting. He also addressed the central tragedy of the 20th century.

His story centered on his family, their amazing history and their art collections. The Ephrussi family, a Russian Jewish family coming from near the Black Sea in the mid-19th century, moved to France and became patrons of the arts in Paris. They became collectors, and eventually moved to Vienna. But the family fell victim to the Nazi occupation of Austria, their lives were ruined and the art looted. Amazingly, the collection of tiny netsuke survived, because a loyal maid sewed the miniatures into her mattress.

The story was captivating. I was amazed by Edmund’s thorough research, his passion and his humor. He included several images of his own work. He managed to engage his audience on many levels, including touch (he passed around one of the valuable netsuke, the size of a walnut).  The applause—an ovation, really—lasted for quite some time. It was a smart audience, too. How did I judge that? By the questions the audience asked about the Franco Prussian War, or the possibly Sephardic derivation of the Ephrussi name. The evening made many other recent art world talks seem rather inane. Somehow, Edmund de Waal has managed to weave a story of his family into the history of art and civilization over the past 150 years.  I plan to read his book, The Hare with Amber Eyes.

Written by Frank Lloyd

October 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm