I haven’t been to a national gallery on over a year. I love Terceira with its natural beauty, but I haven’t been to an art museum or national gallery in over a year. While in Edinburgh, I was able to visit the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Scotland, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. The National Gallery was smaller than I had expected, but the works were still captivating. The Portrait Gallery was fabulous. I liked the contemporary exhibition of Hot Scots. The exhibition was small and the title was lame, but the photography was excellent. It’s intriguing to view this alternate or eccentric views of well-known humans from music and entertainment.
My favorite gallery was, without a doubt–the Gallery of Modern Art. In my younger years I had no appreciation for modern art. It felt pretentious and derivative (not that I knew that ‘derivative’ was the word I meant)–You can splatter and drip paint on a canvas!? Wow!? You colored that whole canvas blue? Blue! Amazing!
My freshman year of college I took my first art history class. This course was the beginning of my utter fascination with and love of art history. Once I took these classes, I began to fully appreciate artists such as Pollack, Rothko, Duchamp, Kandinsky, etc. for their roles in the grand scheme of art–even if I don’t particularly care for their imagery.
Building One hosted The Sculpture Show which had many intriguing works by reputable artists. I love Rodin and Degas, however, the portion of the exhibition that most captured my attention, was the centerpiece work of the show, Ron Mueck’s A Girl(an insanely large hyper-realistic sculpture of a new-born baby girl) and a room of other hyper-realistic sculpture. Duane Hanson’s Tourists (1970) was also on display. At first glance, as I walked into the room I thought they were real people viewing the exhibition—despite their inappropriately-warm-weather attire. Walking around the room was almost eerie. The human forms were so unbelievably realistic. I found myself holding my breath as a leaned in for a closer look—as if I expected them to blink back at me. With my back turned to the entrance of the room, I moved close to the wall to read the details of a works. I heard a couple older women enter the room, discussing one of the more unusual pieces. As I turned around to finish viewing the exhibition, one woman gasped– “Oh my God—I thought you were part of the piece.” “Nope,” I smiled back at them–a mistake I could have just as easily made.
The current exhibition in Building Two of the Gallery of Modern Art was a collection of Graphic Works by Edvard Munch. I’ve always been drawn to the raw emotional quality of Munch’s work. However, reading through details of his life while viewing his work, the sadness and isolation of his life was incredibly evident, and stirring.
His printmaking process was interesting as well. I love viewing the variety an artist creates within a series of the same printed image simply by altering colors. I preferred the his intaglio prints to his lithography and woodcuts.
All the art made my heart feel so full. I know, to some people, it sounds strange to have such a visceral reaction to artwork—as if it’s actually nourishing to me. I love it. I hadn’t realized how much I missed viewing the art of others until I spent the day in gallery building and gallery building. I left feeling content and happy, but also a little sad because I know it’s going to be a long time before I get to experience another art museum.