Fashion, Feathers and Art; EXHIBITIONS: BOWES MUSEUM

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fashion, Feathers and Art; EXHIBITIONS: BOWES MUSEUM


WO major exhibitions showcasing contrasting artistic brilliance have opened at the Bowes Museum in Durham.

? Julian Opie: Collected Works brings together the work of one of the UK's leading contemporary artists, while a dramatic and striking new exhibition Birds of Paradise - Plumes and Feathers in Fashion has also opened.

Julian Opie exploded on to the British art scene in the 1980s; his easily recognisable style characterised by minimalist line portraits and animated walking figures. Throughout his own prolific career Opie has amassed art from the past including 17th and 18th century British portraiture by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Romney, together with Egyptian sculpture from the ancient world.

This exhibition showcases his own works alongside pieces from his private collection, examining the relationship between the two.

Such juxtaposition throws light on the inspiration for Opie's practice as an artist, but also in revealing the complexity within the nature of portraiture: what it means, how it is achieved and how it's changed throughout the history of art.

Works in a variety of media will be on display including paintings, prints, LEDs and video as well as more recent experiments in mosaic and sculpture, shown together with pieces ranging from an ancient Egyptian funerary mask to an arresting "warts and all" Houdon bust of 18th century composer Cristoph Gluck complete with smallpox scarring.

Opie has exhibited extensively around the world during the past 30 years and now, for the first time, we have an opportunity to see his work within the context of his collection, offering a fascinating insight into his oeuvre and his collecting instinct.

His work also forms part of the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate in London, and New York's Museum of Modern Art, MoMa. …

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