Sunday, June 29, 2008

North Wales, tree sculpture, and Gustav Klimt

After the flurry of exciting sales news, I’m going to travel back in time to last week. Well, not literally, but I promised a couple of friends I would post about the Klimt exhibition and our trip to North Wales. So, here you are, a couple of photos to begin with.

This is me in Conwy on the north coastline of Wales. I was looking across the harbour when Mark snapped me. He said I look as if I’m thinking “I have conquered Conwy, onward, to Llandudno,” which, come to think of it, is kind of what we were thinking at that point.:)

I love North Wales, its mixture of pretty coastline and villages, and majestic Snowdonia. It’s a beautiful place to visit and we’re so lucky that we can get there inside two hours. It’s the perfect place for a 3-day break for us. Conwy and Llandudno are must-visit spots every time. Conwy is a harbour town with a castle built on the hillside. Very steep streets, but flat by the harbour itself. Llandudno, on the other hand, is on a sweeping bay and is a promenade town. It’s well suited to people who have mobility issues. We had good weather and although we stayed at a basic lodge, (like a motel, for my US readers) I was delighted to discover our room overlooked a paddock, and we had horses (and bunnies galore!) romping around outside. It was a bit like nature watch every time we were in our room. :o)

The second picture is of a tree carving that we discovered in the gardens of Plassey craft centre. Isn’t it amazing? I fell in love with her. She made me think about my pagan heroine in The Strangeling, Maerose. Honestly, I wanted to take her home with me. The artist is Simon O'Rourke. and his website has lots more examples of his fab work.

We’d booked tickets to attend the Liverpool Gustav Klimt exhibition on our return journey. We had hoped to do it on the way down but it was completely booked up! As with any major ex in the UK the exhibition is getting a huge attendance. There was a diverse range of people there, and many had travelled long distances to attend.

The exhibition was amazing, just as I had expected. It opened with a recreation of the Beethoven frieze. It was stunning! As an art history student (long time ago now) we were nagged how important it is to see the art works in the flesh. Reproductions on paper/books can't truly convey the space or size, and that is so crucial to our experience of the work and the artist’s intentions. I didn't have to be nagged, I always loved visiting galleries. In fact I think I got my place on the art history course of my choice because I was able to talk about exhibitions I’d been to before I applied. I was reminded of this fundamental lesson as I stood looking at the recreation of the frieze. The space, movement, and lightness of spirit was incredible. The details here and here give only a very faint idea of what it is like in real life. Suffice it to say I could certainly live with it.:)

As the exhibition continued upstairs there was a room of smaller Klimt works, followed by works from other Vienna Seccession artists and designers. In fact I was just wondering how much more Klimt there was going to be, when I discovered there was much more to come. Lots of exhibits spanning his career.

As Klimt fans will know, he was influenced by the intellectual atmosphere of Vienna at the time. Sigmund Freud’s theories on female sexuality were out and creating a stir--- shock horror, women might actually enjoy sex! Oh yes, and Klimt was fascinated by it. It’s amazing (and sad) to think that a hundred years later we still seem to have to convince some people that women enjoy sex and that’s a GOOD thing. However, I digress…

The final room housed “adult” art works. These were mostly sketches of women masturbating, beautifully done and deliciously arousing to observe, as I’m sure Klimt intended. I walked around the room with a little smile on my face because they’d provided a way to sidestep the room for under 18 or anyone of a sensitive disposition, :o) but the art works themselves had incongruous titles like “semi nude with right leg raised.” Believe me, not many people were looking at her right leg. It tickled me. Just saying.

To sum up, if you like Klimt and you can make it to the exhibition -- don’t even think twice! Go! Read more about it here.

Okay folks, I have a short story that needs finishing. Tomorrow is publication date for RECKLESS and I’ll be giving away a couple of copies to celebrate, so come back tomorrow and help me party!:)

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