Friday, 24 September 2010

Ferry across the Mersey

Albert Dock, Liverpool in the rain

Last Sunday afternoon I took refuge in Tate Liverpool having got soaked to the skin in a sudden downpour that took me completely by surprise while I was exploring the Albert Dock. I was in Liverpool for a few days working at the Liberal Democrat conference being held at the Arena and Convention Centre near by and grabbed the opportunity to get away from politics and enjoy a bit of culture and time on my own in the afternoon.

I left my soaking wet coat in the cloakroom and tried to dry my hair using the hand dryer in the ladies' toilets. But I still felt rather damp so decided to make my visit to the gallery a leisurely one so I could dry out properly. When I'd reached the first floor of what presumably had originally been a warehouse I took a moment to glance out of the window to look at the Mersey river made famous by the song Ferry across the Mersey. I still found the view exciting in spite of the bleakness and grey sky so took a moment to sketch it and make some notes.

I was thrilled when I went into this gallery to see my all-time favourite artist, Mondrian, represented by one of his vertical/horizontal paintings. I have found his work inspiring ever since I was introduced to it at school when I was 16 years old and am always happy to meet him again, so to speak. Marta will be interested to note that there was a 'nude study in blue' circa 1899-1900 by Henri Matisse that had a still quiet quality to it that was very appealing.

There were a couple of Picasso's (he's probably my second favourite artist after Mondrian) and I particularly liked the 'seated woman in a chemise' 1923 that was also rather serene. More recent artists were also on show like Carl Andre whose work has always been very controversial. Here they had on display his '144 magnesium square' 1969 which consists of 144 squares of magnesium laid out on the floor. I noticed that no-one was stepping on it but just carefully walking around it until a couple of children walked on it. When I saw them do it I joined in. There was another exhibit on the floor by Richard Long who makes 'art made by walking in landscape' that was also very intriguing. I think the last artist's work I looked at was a piece by contemporary artist Rachel Whiteread before I headed to the café for a restorative cup of tea and piece of cake.