Some of Bronzino’s coldly classical canvases have not helped his reputation, and his famous Allegory of Venus and Cupid, with its over-the-top eroticism and cryptic symbolism, certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (check out the bemused visitors in room 8 of the National Gallery where the work hangs!). But drawing is the best place to start with Bronzino. A quick look at his sketches, studies, modelli (demonstration drawings) and cartoons done in black and red chalk and brown ink will leave you hooked!
Re-approaching Photography is broadly interested in slowing down the process of looking at photographs. Making sense of a photograph is often seen as an ‘obvious’ and instinctive activity, but the course takes as its starting point the fact that even the most apparently straightforward of images can be more complex than might be assumed.
It was to my great delight that the Study Visit to see Nicola Tyson’s show titled Beyond the Trace at The Drawing Room in London was filled to capacity and with a couple of extra students waiting in the wings we had a great few hours interrogating and discussing the works on show, all of which held the common ground of being works on paper.
There are many challenges for students to overcome through distance learning; engaging with other likeminded students to create your own peer network has to be one of the trickiest. I believe that if students can find the time, the use of OCASA funded workshops has to be a tangible benefit to a student’s learning across all programmes.
Last week I attended a day course at the Whitechapel Gallery called ‘Writing about Art’ it was led by author of the little red book of near enough the same name – Gilda Williams. It was a loaded day full of useful tips and advice and importantly diminished our pre-conceived ideas of what good art writing should look like.
Some years ago, I came across a photographer on Twitter. He was based in Dereham in Norfolk, not a million miles away from me. The images he was posting stood out. Stark black and white documentary photographs that echo a tradition that starts in the slums of Manhattan with Jacob Riis. This work however, is not historical, this is now. These are images from my country, from a town that less than 70 miles away.