Recent faves.

Travel is ubiquitous these days. So why not jump on the bandwagon I thought. It also happens that I have my daughter living overseas which makes travel imperative. But oh how grateful I am to be living in this time and place where travel is so readily accessible. A different culture, stunning scenery and an ability to view art that mostly is only available to me in books (and yes I’m a keen reader of art history tomes). So today I thought I’d share my favourite pieces from my recent journey. To see more go to my Instagram account (the_layman_reviewer )


Takpekpe (Conference), 2006 El Anatsui

I don’t know where to begin with this piece by Ghanian artist, El Anatsui. Stunning just seems to simple a way to describe it. Made of metal tops of bottles, aluminium and copper wire it just goes to show there is beauty in those items we so readily discard. That is if you have patience and creativity. This piece I described in my Instagram post as being like heavily brocaded fabric and I still think that. With its shimmering folds and textures it just beckons to be touched (but of course I didn’t). This was the only piece by this artist at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Great gallery by the way. I spent a couple of hours here and its $30 entry fee was worth it. 


Sculptures by Chinese artist Yue Minjun. Located on the Vancouver foreshore.

 This is the second time I’ve seen these sculptures in Vancouver (by the way, it’s one of my fave cities). They really are crowd pleasers. Many a selfie has been taken with them while mimicking their cool postures. This group of huge sculptures would have to be some of the best street art I’ve seen. Great work Vancouver. 


This photograph was attributed to Beatrice Longstaff Lance. I’m not sure whether this was the actual photographer or the archivist. A bit of research on my behalf would perhaps be of benefit but oh the time, the time.

Now I had to include this just as an example of how far we’ve come us women. Climbing Sulphur Mountain in Banff is difficult enough (lots of puffing required) but to have the added deterrent of a cumbersome skirt seems just cruel. Let’s be thankful for active wear I say. This photo was on display in my little Airbnb cabin in Banff.


Painting by the American artist Philip Guston

Hugely influential artist Philip Guston (yes there were influencers way before Instagram) has to be a fave of mine. Every piece of art I saw in SFMOMA by him I loved sometimes even before I knew the work was by him. Obviously it’s not the subject matter I love (because what is that, sausages in a can?). It’s the application of paint, the diffuse, dirty colours and the juxtaposition of shape. He’s brilliant.


Men from Rutgers, 1980. By American artist Alice Neel.

Wow was I thrilled to see this. This is an artist I’ve admired for years and never have had the opportunity to see her work unless in a documentary or book. I adore her painting style, again like Guston’s raw and tactile. This was worth the trip to San Francisco just to see it (no just kidding, there’s more to San Fan than just the art gallery. Take those fantastic Bay area homes for instance….). Anyway loved it, wanted it but couldn’t have it (insert sad face here).


The artist is simply Jess.

Here is an artist I haven’t heard of before but his work was to be admired. Simply known as Jess this artist belongs to that category known as obscurity that I guess most artists will end up in (sorry for that depressing analysis of the artist of the struggling world). And although I love this work I can kind of understand why it’s not up there with the greats. Put simply it’s been done before. In fact I’ve seen work around town similar. But that’s not to say it’s not beautiful and pensive. It just has an everywhereness.

Look there’s plenty more I could include. Grafitti art is a fave of mine but one has to stop somewhere. But what I would conclude is that travel is unreal and although I feel very guilty that I’m ruining this planet by contributing to excessive air travel I do love it. Many thanks to my driver on this latest trip who without would massively limit my travel footprint.