Illumination The art of Philip Wolfhagen at the Newcastle Art Gallery was well worth the visit. Everything else about my trip into Newcastle today was a disaster, but the exhibition was nice. I had hyped it up in my head before I saw it as I really do love the way Wolfhagen uses paint, so I went in there expecting to be totally blown away! And a few paintings did blow me away, but overall it was just a very good exhibition of landscape paintings rather than the religious experience or art orgasm I had expected.
I forgot to take my camera with me so I can’t share my favorite paintings, but here’s a few from the NAG exhibition resource..
Surface tension no 3 1998 – Oil and beeswax
Vanishing point no 1 1995 – Oil and beeswax
Imaginary light 41° South 147° East 1996 – Oil and beeswax
Settlement III 2006 – Oil and beeswax
They’re paintings that you have to see in the flesh to really appreciate. Small, low resolution images on the internet give you no sense of their size, texture, and physical presence. There were 2 paintings in particular that were similar to the dark Settlement III painting above, they were just so ridiculously well painted. I started to imagine myself unhooking one from the wall and just running with it
I think it is critically important to interpret the art of the past in the process of making art in the present. This is why the language of Painting is so full of ripe possibility; each generation builds upon the achievements of the previous one, and the lexicon only broadens. My interpretation of art history evolves with every book I read and every exhibition I see – it is a constantly expanding realm of understanding, and it is natural that this knowledge feeds into processes in the studio.
Illumination The art of Philip Wolfhagen is a traveling exhibition on at the Newcastle Art Gallery until the 11th of August. Find out more about the exhibition and where it’s off to next at the NAG website.