Filling the Well


The last two weeks were difficult for me and for those I love. Two deaths to commemorate. And another loss for someone I love. My soul felt clogged up by the mud of grief. I needed a reprieve, a solace, a nourishing…


So I went to an art exhibit that has currently been showing in Auckland.

The Body Laid Bare| Masterpieces from Tate [On view March 18 through July 16, 2017]

Encounter the human form—in all its complexity—in “The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate,” Auckland Art Gallery’s major exhibition for 2017. Beautiful, sensual and at times provocative, more than 100 artworks from Tate, London, tell the story of the nude and trace artists’s captivation with the human body over the last two centuries. Journeying through time, from the classical, biblical and literary subjects of the 1800s to the body politics of contemporary art, “The Body Laid Bare” brings together masterpieces by renowned artists including JMW Turner, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas and many more. At the heart of the show is Auguste Rodin’s marble sculpture The Kiss which—although celebrated worldwide—is travelling beyond Europe for the first time. Other renowned works include Picasso’s Nude woman in a red chair (1932) and Bonnard’s The bath (1925).

This was both an exquisite and confronting exhibit. There were pieces that were raw and erotic, pieces that were heart-breakingly beautiful, pieces that were confronting and pieces that simply awed me. But each piece had its own place in this one of a kind exhibit. I went for Rodin’s “The Kiss” but I was transported on a visual journey that filled the hollow parts of me. The exhibit was everything and nothing that I anticipated.

So let me share with you the three pieces that absolutely entranced me and for a moment filled the dark hollow spaces with a hopeful light.

The Kiss | Auguste Rodin (1901-4)

The Kiss is awe-inspiring, simply exquisite. I have seen many images of this sculpture but the privilege of seeing this in its stone flesh is breath-taking. Truly a memory that I will treasure.

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The Lament For Icarus
The Lament For Icarus | Herbert James Draper [1898]

The Lament For Icarus | Herbert James Draper [1898]

Words failed me at this exquisite piece of work. I had not heard of Herbert James Draper prior to this exhibit. But this is one of those pieces of art that touched my soul. The image here does not do the true work justice. Suffice to say, this is a piece that will inspire me for the rest of my life. 

Arched Figure | Louise Bourgeois [1993 (cast 2010)]

Louise Bourgeois’s Arched Figure is both confronting and exquisite. What stood out to me though was that the sculptor was 82 when she sculpted this truly magnificent Figure. I was awed to imagine her rough-hewned, wrinkled, strong hands manipulating the clay into muscles, ribs and limbs, finally giving life to this Arched Figure; perhaps raging against the age of her years but yet still revelling in her ability and her art.

Louise Bourgeois photographed by James Hamilton, in 1992, with her piece Arch of Hysteria.

Tell me where you go, what you do for light in darker times?

Tell me how do you fill the well?

 

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