Somerset House

On Monday 6th October we visited Somerset House in London to look at the galleries of art and illustration. We were set four tasks during our trip and to write them up in our blogs.

The first task was to find at least two works that you personally like or find interesting. The first piece that I personally found interesting and intriguing was by Édouard Manet called  ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ (1881/1882)


At first I couldn’t comprehend the perspective of the painting. I thought that the woman in the picture was looking in a mirror at herself; however on closer inspection I could see that she was looking out from the bar and her reflection is on the right of the painting. We then discussed how the viewer is forced to see the painting through the man’s view in which we can see his reflection too, I thought this was really interesting as I hadn’t seen a painting as early as this use a reflection to reveal the background and other people. We had a discussion about impressionism and how it was the biggest break in the art movement, and discussed how the artists would criticise society including homelessness and prostitution which was a big problem in 19-century France. This altered my interpretation of the man in the picture, it could be said that he was a client for the woman as she could be involved in prostitution which wouldn’t be unlikely, so this is what I think the meaning of this painting by Manet is.

The next piece I found interesting was in the National Open Art Exhibition by Danny Lyon and it was called ‘Stanley’. I found this interesting as it was a painting of a Stanley knife however it was very interesting.  This made me relate to one of our activities where we have to make something mundane and make it interesting.


The second task was to look at pieces that would inspire and inform me on my current project ‘Time’.

The first piece that I took an interest too and thought could inspire me was a piece by Vaughn Horsman called ‘Personal Space’. The circular design style gave me an idea of a radial calendar for my current project. The different rings and squares in this piece informed me of a 365 day calendar divided into weeks and months. However I would have to tweak the design as this looks very complex and challenging from a distance, and a calendar should be simple and inviting.

EXODUS-VII-Tin-Shack-City-Cape-Flats-South-Africa-2011 copy

The second piece that informed and inspired me was called ‘Tin Shack City’ by Marcus Lyon because of the rows and columns that our made by the shacks. This informed me of a traditional calendar layout which I could use in my project.

Task 3 was to find pieces of art that I personally disliked or found boring.

A photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith called ‘SHANNON POST OP’ is one piece that I personally didn’t like as it wasn’t pleasing to look at nor made a lot of sense or meaning to it. We discussed it in a group and a few different interpretations come out from the discussion. One was that it doesn’t show meaning as the viewer has to guess for themselves from the girls expression and the title ‘post op’ which would suggest this is her before she has some kind of operation. It is clear that the model is overweight/obese so we discussed that she may be trying to show obesity in a different light. The more we discussed it the more I became interested in it as it challenged me to think about the underlying context of the photograph.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: