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20 July 2011
By Elizabeth Paul
How happy can one person be? A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to meet a descendant of John Wolfe Barry, the man who engineered the creation of Tower Bridge, on the bridge at a photography exhibition.
This week I was back at said venue, this time in the engine house, to view the work of the Southwark Arts Forum - A The Bridge.
This is the second phase of a display of works by various SAF members and wow, what a setting! The smell of iron and machinery and oil floated about us, making this such a fabulous place for art – refreshingly, there are no sterile white walls and moody lighting here.
As my pal Alyson and I picked our way between all the fantastic iron machinery we could see the paintings on the walls. Mainly abstract, they kind of echo all those pistons, bolts and flywheels about us, just a blur of shapes and colour.
As we sipped wine and discussed our favourite piece we were led outside, up the stairs, across the bridge and into a lift that took us into the south tower where a further artist, Brian Williams, had displayed his work.
Brian, originally from Liverpool, has a studio in Blackfriars Road, where he works in oils and takes commissions. His paintings in the tower are very colourful, full of movement and life, and mainly of people. Lots of people, but as Aly commented they all look very gloomy!
But when you take in the warehouse conversions down below in Shad Thames you can just picture one of these on display with the exposed brickwork behind. Brian also does sculpture and portraits from commission. He welcomes anyone to pop in to his studio and have a look at his work. I did not get the chance to chat to all of the artists but I did snatch a couple of minutes with Chris Vervain, who works from a studio in Crimscott Street.
Her series of works entitled The Dancing Line were four small pictures, all colourful and all dominated by black Chinese ink. The one I liked the best was an unidentifiable (to me) view from the bridge – but the colours and the mood were spot on. Chris explained that when she created these pictures ‘something inside me was making me want to dance’. You can certainly see this in her art.
Separate to the paintings on show is a new installation on the bridge itself, entitled From Battersea to Bermondsey. These are three dimensional models of different views along the river – they are bang up to date showing one of Boris’s building, along with the tower and everything else in between.
I am anticipating one of the completed Shard! These are permanent displays that magically light up as you approach them, which kept me amused while Alyson talked deep stuff to the Bridge Director.
So, another magic day on Tower Bridge, the smell of oil and iron, fabulous artworks and a pint in the Anchor Tap afterwards. Happy. Very happy.
1. At 10:17 AM on 21 Jul 2011, Maria wrote:
Beautiful surprise as you walk through the spaces within Bridge and Engine Rooms, loved it.
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2. At 11:24 AM on 21 Jul 2011, Alex Ressel wrote:
The other artist exhibiting at Art at The Bridge #2 is Zohreh Korangi
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