Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Frank Stella: Connections at Haunch of Venison, London

UPDATE: 1/1/2012

Haunch of Venison is operating from 6 Haunch of Venison Yard (in the Bond Street area of central London).  There is an exhibition until 18 February 2012  "featuring works by many great post war British artists such as Bacon, Freud, Coldstream, Andrews, Auerbach and Hockney."

** end of update

A few months ago I was walking past what used to be The Museum of Mankind and wandered in Haunch of Venison, the art gallery ( had taken over this space and I made a mental note of the location (Burlington Gardens), not far from Piccadilly Circus or Green Park underground stations. 

A week or so afterwards, I heard a programme on BBC Radio 3 describing the Frank Stella exhibition at Haunch of Venison and it sounded fascinating.  The discussion was about 2-D and 3_D effects and the sensation of being drawn into a painting or piece of sculpture.  I made a mental note to try this out as I had found the visual overload term of other artists to be useful in making some work of art visible to me with my peripheral vision. 

I passed by the gallery when it was closed and a poster caught my eye. (As it turned out, it was for another exhibition!) It looked like a giant red torus or doughnut.  So, I made another mental note that I ought to go when the gallery was open.  This I did yesterday and was thrilled when Charmaine at the desk took me to the installation and when I met my red doughnut, it wasn’t part of the Frank Stella exhibition at all!  It was an exhibition of the works of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. 

With one conundrum solved, Charmaine took me to the rooms where the Frank Stella sculptures and paintings are located. 

My peripheral vision picks up lines and stripes, especially if they are repeated and even fractured.  I had described one of the pieces as resembling an earthquake or subduction tectonic plate fault line as portrayed on a geological map. 

There are many examples of tricks of the eye, or trompe l’oeil, in this exhibition and one is never sure from a distance if the piece is 2-D or 3-D as a painting or as a piece of sculpture.  I mentioned to Charmaine that I had been to the Anton Henning exhibition in Edinburgh, and it turned out that Haunch of Venison used to show his work! 

Charmaine was really encouraging in explaining the objects and we shared our own impressions of what the eye could make out.  The gallery doesn’t do postcards, though catalogues are available.  Charmaine had said she would send me some email images of the pieces I enjoyed.  What I hadn’t expected was that Charmaine had made a mental note of some of my descriptions and sent a guide of the works I had enjoyed in an email. 

If you are in London and you have some spare time, visit this gallery before it closes; and if you have any specific requirement, contact them.   This was a piece of serendipity on my part and it illustrates the engagement of many in the arts world if you show an interest in some pieces of abstract art, which would otherwise be inaccessible or may not be on your own radar. 

The pdfs that Charmaine sent me opened straightaway and were read from front to back and all the images loaded without a problem.  They are stunning and while I usually avoid some images on the blog, if you have some residual vision and you like these images you can find out more from the gallery - Charmaine is certainly one of those inspiring and enlightened gallery contacts and a big thanks again! 


The first is: Barber Osgerby, Corona 1100, 2011, Painted steel wall light, 110cm diameter x 26cm deep

The second is: Frank Stella, Red Scramble, 1977, Acrylic on canvas, 175 x 350 cm

The fourth is: Frank Stella, Bafq, 1965, Fluorescent alkyd on canvas, 238.8 x 274.3 x 10.2 cm.

Let me know what you can make out from these images.

The third is: Frank Stella, Tetuan 1, 1964, fluorescent Alkyd on canvas, 195.6 x 196.2 cm, signed and dated '64 (on the reverse) (this is the Stella in particular that you liked, with the changing lines)