Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A WHALE OF A TIME AT THE J.M.W. TURNER SHOW!

EXHIBITION REVIEWS

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 “na├»ve”. 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!

2 comments:

  1. "Someone called Tate"? Oh no, indeed.

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  2. Just came across this gem... http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=392

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