Beauty is, as might have been mentioned by others from time to time, in the eye of the beholder. Just been up to London (though not to visit the queen) and taken in the British Museum - sought out the Georg Baselitz exhibition because of the mention of print, took in a tour of the Chinese work next door, and then discovered the Japanese work upstairs purely because I went to look at two pieces of work on the landing half way up. And there, after being inevitably but briefly delayed by netsuke, I discovered an exhibition of work by Noda Tetsuya, who is (wiki has since informed me) one of the world's pre-eminent printmakers. Whether that is a universally held view or not, I thought his muted, understated, often domestic prints, a combination of adjusted photo screenprints and woodcuts, were wonderful. They were all 'diary entries' - apparently the artist has produced over 500 of them in the last 50 years - and gentle, faded images that I just loved. I didn't give them as much time as I would have liked because, whilst one's other half might claim to be happy sitting somewhere reading a book on his phone, it doesn't feel like quite the thing to leave him there indefinitely. But I so want to go back and see them again. And I probably shall - they're there till October, I think, and I'd quite happily make the trek just for them.
As I said, I didn't spend enough time on the whole show - instead I homed in on a few images that instantly captured my attention. One was of the artist's wife reading a newspaper - I won't be surprised if I find out it's his best-known image - and another of four overripe peaches sitting on a pillow.
However, while later expanding my knowledge of Noda Tetsuya (which at that point was, in total, that I had seen these prints), I came across a review of the show puzzled at why room enough for the 22 prints on show would be given to this artist at the museum when there was so much other, so much better Japanese work just at the other end of the room. I understand the opinion that an exhibition of print might be in an art gallery rather than the British Museum, and I realise that many people will prefer the other end of the room to this one. But leaving aside those issues completely, instead coming from a printmaking angle and with no particular interest in Japan, I was just delighted to chance upon these prints.
Lots of people go to London on a regular or irregular basis - from time to time, anyway. I don't, not really. Well I suppose I do, but when I say from time to time, I'm thinking of something more than probably half a dozen times max in the last twenty-plus years. Whenever I do go, I think I should make more trips - all those exhibitions, all those repositories of 'culture' - but another part of me does feel that then London has won. Why on earth should the rest of Britain be considered, if we're all prepared to visit anyway? Still, I try to tamp down such sulky, childish notions - nothing's going to change - and anyway this is all by the by. What this lack of visiting means is that I don't have much in the way of a mental map of London and that I don't apply much thinking to names and what they might mean. Thus I was pleased but surprised to come across the Bankside Gallery (home of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers), um, on the bank of the Thames and, even more um, next to Bankside Power Station aka Tate Modern. Oh dear. Still, it was another source of print delight for the weekend.
I make prints and book arts, though nowhere near as often as I'd like - no good reason, just an inability to get on with things. I occasionally go on about landscape (with which I am mildly obsessed) and various of its elements, and I like to pass comment on exhibitions I visit.