BY: STEPHANIE READ
Happy 2016 to all of our readers out there and welcome to another installment of Exhibition Reviews! I had the chance to see the J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free exhibit recently at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and if anything this is a reminder to get out and see the show before it ends on January 31st- that’s in less than two weeks! The show is a blast, especially for those connoisseurs of the arts who like their gentlemen painters eccentric and prone to ingesting paint.
I have been a bit of a Turner fan since my art history undergraduate days. Turner’s famously dynamic tableaux of ships tossed at sea offer a refreshingly expressive yet romantically sublime escape into a world of adventure and peril. The exhibition also introduced me to Turner’s meticulous landscape sketches. Further, I enjoyed learning more personal details about this man of high character and proliferate talent. I recommend this exhibition for anyone who appreciates hard work, ingenuity and just a touch of the “naïve”. It also helps to have an interest in boats!
|Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, Exhibited 1842, Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851, Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photography © Tate, London 2015|
This is the thing about Turner’s works; one can witness his battle between pleasing his patrons and satisfying his overwhelming urge to obliterate his meticulous compositions with joyful swaths of yellow. As a dabbling painter myself, with a child-like penchant to add rainbows or glitter to everything (or both!), I appreciate Turner’s impertinent style. I found the exhibition captivating from beginning to end, due to a diverse collection of artworks and media incorporated throughout.
|Peace – Burial at Sea, Exhibited 1842, Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851, Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photography © Tate, London 2015|
That being said, I must mention that there was an outstanding issue with the labeling of the artworks that us museum lovers may sometimes take for granted. I noticed that someone had written in the guestbook that having Turner's name in the exhibit title was misleading as it appeared a majority of the larger artworks were by someone called “Tate”. Oh, no!
|War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet, Exhibited 1842, Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851, Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photography © Tate, London 2015|
Finally, I urge you to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario and spend some time with a too-brilliant mind as it travels across a range of media with an almost giddy passion. To compliment your visit, be sure to check out the Thompson Collection of Ship Models on the Concourse Level!
|Thompson Collection of Ship Models. Art Gallery of Ontario 2015|
Thanks again for joining me for the Exhibition Review, and click here to plan your visit to see J.M.W Turner: Painting Set Free before it is gone!