Art Gallery visit – Champagne life at Saatchi Gallery

I made an effort to catch this show, because I’ve realised since seeing a Guerilla Girls poster work at the Tate Modern how female artists don’t get the same coverage as male ones.

This all female show was hung around most of the gallery, meaning each artist got a room of their own and most of these rooms are huge!

I’ve also been reading about Phoebe Unwin [1] and was excited to see her paintings in the flesh.


PHoebe Unwin. 2005

I found myself interested in the colours used on the face – they’re so grey, it almost looks corpse like. I realised looking at other portraits of hers that she paints figures quite oddly, the eye isn’t the side view you would expect, but more a front facing view of an eye. The mouths are tiny and the chins are small. It’s like she isn’t making the face the focus which is what most artists would do. The ponytail looks high and strange. She looks uncomfortable and the intricate paint on the jumper highlights that arm in an awkward pose.


Phoebe Unwin 2006

This looked mainly spray painted. I liked how the figures are negatively painted to stand out. The flowers slightly obscure them, but it looks like they have no clothes on and are lying in a field – it makes you think ‘what are they doing??’!

I like how it looks misty, and its quite different from other works she’s done.


PHoebe Unwin. Night life. 2006

I liked this simple portrait too. Again, it has some common features – small mouth, no chin and a strange large eye with massive eyelashes! The palette is very narrow -the colour of his skin is the same as his suit! But the title and the sharp suit gives me the idea this is a man about town – again, I ask myself, what is this man up to? I think this artist has given a lot of information to think about in a few colours and shapes.


Jelena Bulakic. Alise Lange. 2014

I have to mention this artist, because she uses some unusual stuff in her painting – as well as the more usual graphite, charcoal and acrylic, she uses marble dust and ground granit and limestone – something I became inspired with after talking to the artist Briony Clark in one of my earlier posts.

These images are massive and from a distance look photographic. But when you step up to them the dust and rock gives a speckled appearance.


Jelena Bulakic. Alise Lange. 2014

I think this looks intriguing. I also admire her choice of subject, which is a celebration of life and experience in those faces.


Sigrid Homwood.

This artist caught my eye with huge fluorescent canvases with old style themes. This one uses a fluorescent orange ground of egg tempera, layered over with thin marks of oil paint to make the figures. Even the fish have a fluorescent green highlight like they’re radioactive! I can see the tension between the old and new – using colours unheard of in the times of this narrative. It’s given me some inspiration, as I’ve been looking at medical instruments from the past and I wonder if I could paint them in modern media?





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