Weird Turner

Research, Uncategorized

Having spent the past four weeks or so re-hanging the Tate’s Clore gallery I remember why I think Turner is so fantastic. IanWarrell has done a masterly job in curating the Clore gallery creating a simple elegant hang with scholarly attention and created some really interesting juxtapositions that are making me really think about Turner (and indeed the Romantic sublime in painting)


For example I have always had a problem with the way that Turner renders people. They are doughy and generic, awkward and unnatural. When I look at some of his work I have had to deliberately and actively not look at them or view the work from a distance where the rhythm of the forms becomes more important than the detail.


Included in the display is this unfinished study of two forms. The work is hung as an unfinished and unglazed canvas. It is an incredibly raw image that would sit well with the Jake and Denos Chapman adaptations of Goya’s disasters of war. The painting is classic Turner. The jelly like sea-lion with its distended legs arms and strange foreshortening and flood damage. However having spent some time with the work, and got over my initial shock at the draftsmanship I think this painting has made me appreciate Turners work a lot more. Indeed it has made me re-think the forms in his other works. Rather than viewing Turner’s depiction of people being badly rendered I just think they are all deeply weird (which actually makes me start to like them). The painting is so alive in its . It shows the fallibility inherent in creative acts and makes me think though works may not come out as intended one may make really interesting and strange pieces.



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