London : Art Now at Tate Britain – June 2018

Tate Britain mainly shows are from the 1500’s to 1950, however, there is one room in which they show contemporary art.  Every few they change the artist on display, artist, Lisa Brice is currently on show.

Accompanying the exhibition there is a leaflet (Lisa Brice in Conversation.) detailing a Q&A interview she did which is partially available on line on the Tate website. (Tate 2018)

The one room showing this art has its walls painted a bright white and this throws her into stark contrast as most of them are a dark ultramarine colour.  Most are monochrome with a few in a stark red.  Most of the subject matter is the female nude in various poses and activities.  The viewer is cast into the role of voyeur as the subject seems unaware of the viewer scratching their back or removing their pants.  In some we seem to behind scenes in a bordello or the like.  The poses, lighting and monochrome lend a cinema graphic quality much like Bogart’s Casablanca or the like.

In the exhibition leaflet, Brice notes ”I am drawn to the ambiguity that people and places hold. Sometimes the compositions of my paintings feel; cinematic outtakes: the moments between directed actions”. (Tate 2018)

The various women remain ambiguous to us as we don’t really glimpse their faces as they are either turned away or are cast in deep shadow.  Some of the paintings give a nod to art history with one in particular very much along the lines of ‘Olympia by Manet, see Fig. 10.

[Continued below]

The female figures seen in their unguarded moments is also reminiscent of the work of Lautrec and Degas amongst others.  Brice notes that through much of art history paintings were done by white men for white men looks as a woman to repaint these paintings, reinterpreting and ‘re-authoring ‘ the work.  This point is emphasised by two website critiques of the exhibition: The Creativeboom website notes “Brice reverses the traditional portrayal of passive female figures by male artists for male viewers and returns power to the women involved.” (Cowan and Cowan, 2018).  Whilst Refinery29 notes “Her images subtly reverse the traditional portrayal of passive female figures by male artists for male viewers, and return power to the women involved. Brice’s heroines are sometimes introspective, yet never passive. (Refinery29.uk. 2018)

These monochrome images sometimes resemble large ink drawings.  This is a medium I really like to work in and these works and this exhibition a nice step change from the art on display elsewhere in this venerable building.  This art seemed much more accessible.


List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Brice, Lisa, (2017). Between This and That. [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 2. Brice, Lisa, (2009 – 17). Boundary Girl (Natalie). [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 3. Brice, Lisa, (2017).. Midday Drinking Den, after Embah I. [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 4. Brice, Lisa, (2017).. Midday Drinking Den, after Embah II. [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 5. Brice, Lisa, (2018). Untitled. [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 6. Brice, Lisa, (2017).. Between This and That II. [image] Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 7. Brice, L. (2017). Untitled. [image] Available at: http://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/lisa-brice/artwork [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 8. Brice, L. (2017). Untitled. [image] Available at: http://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/lisa-brice/artwork [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 9. Brice, L. (2017). Untitled. [image] Available at: http://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/lisa-brice/artwork [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Fig. 10. Brice, L. (2017). Untitled. [image] Available at: http://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/lisa-brice/artwork [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].


Bibliography

Cowan, K. and Cowan, K. (2018). Lisa Brice at Tate Britain explores the art-historical tradition of the female nude. [online] Creative Boom. Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/lisa-brice-at-tate-britain-explores-the-art-historical-tradition-of-the-female-nude/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Refinery29.uk. (2018). 5 Images Of Naked Women That Are Anything But Passive. [online] Available at: https://www.refinery29.uk/lisa-brice-art [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Tate. (2018). Art Now: Lisa Brice – Exhibition at Tate Britain | Tate. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/lisa-brice [Accessed 10 Jun. 2018].

Tate. (2018). Q&A: Lisa Brice – Tate Etc | Tate. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-43-summer-2018/lisa-brice-art-now-interview-aicha-mehrez [Accessed 13 Jun. 2018].

Tate (2018). Art Now – Lisa Brice, Lisa Brice in Conversation. [leaflet]    


 

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