When I looked out of the window this morning I knew it was a day best spent inside! I decided to go to the new William Scott exhibition at the Ulster Museum, timed to coincide with the centenary of his birth. It was also an opportunity to pop into the RUA exhibition of new works that I attend every year, I love this exhibition because it has such a wide variety of art mediums and inspires and feeds my creativity. Every year I imagine that I actually have an art budget and the space to display fabulous artworks and choose the piece I would get if I could. My husband chooses artworks that relate to boats. Every year. Even at the Government Art Collection exhibition earlier this year his favourite piece was a ship in a bottle, so I wasn’t surprised at all when his favourite RUA artwork was a model of a sinking ship housed in a wine case. The artwork I was drawn to immediately was James McCullough’s ‘Synaptic spark’, which was a 3D rolled paper sculpture. I have done a bit of paper quilling and paper rolling myself and from a relatively simple technique beautiful colours and 3D shapes can be created. Here’s a close up of the work, showing the details of the length of the paper rolls and how they form the shapes.
Then we went to see how the sugar metropolis was growing, this is a collaborative project between the RUA and visitors to the exhibition. Using sugar cubes anyone can have a go at creating a building to add to the sugar city, which will then become part of the exhibition. There’s already a mini Accropolis, some pyramids, castles and towers, with lots of space for more to be added before November 17th when the building challenge finishes.
There was clearly a sense of humour in the art, I loved the grey squirrel stabbing the red squirrel in the back! It showed my husband pays attention when I bring him to heritage sites too as he said it reminded him of the stuffed squirrels in boxing poses at Castle Ward.
Next we went to see the William Scott exhibition, which is the first major Scott exhibition in over 20 years. The works were displayed in chronological order with explanatory panels in each section on the themes and focus of the period. There was also a video exploring the development of Scott’s work from female nudes, through to still life and then on to abstraction.
There was a small display of charcoal and gouache works as preparation for the larger works. These are always my favourite part of an exhibition, seeing where the artist’s ideas come from and how they develop over time, as well as the work that goes into each artwork.
My favourite pieces in the exhibition were the large abstract canvases ‘Berlin Blues’, so-called because Scott first encountered the blue pigment used in the pieces, while on a scholarship in Berlin in the early 1960’s. I really liked the way they were exhibited in the gallery, with a whole wall to themselves and space to appreciate the scale of the canvases.
After the museum we went for a walk through Botanic while the rain luckily took a short break. We came across a family event run by a Spanish company as part of Belfast Festival. A small collection of wooden games was proving very popular, and not just with children.