The Easel

6th September 2022

Wolfgang Tillmans’ ways of seeing

Tillmans seems to acquire accolades with ease, a Turner Prize in 2000 being just the first of many. They are indicators of the distinctiveness of his photography, which is about being alert to the present. His work isn’t diaristic, he says. Rather, he strives to “spotlight something that everyone pretends not to see”. That something might be specific (youthful eroticism, AIDS) or just a “sense of the here and now”. Either way, his work is “a flash news report from and for a new generation”.

30th August 2022

Emma Talbot: The Age/L’Età at the Whitechapel Gallery review – a true visionary

Talbot is having a moment – being hung at the Venice Biennale and winning a major art prize that comes with a solo show. The show takes the story of Hercules and reimagines it with an older woman protagonist. It’s a neat twist that allows Talbot’s paintings, which fuse “patterning, abstraction and lyrical figuration”, to extol matriarchal wisdom. One critic wonders if this makes the show “overtly feminist”. Not at all, says this writer “[Talbot] is a true visionary”.

The British Museum Takes the Feminism Out of Feminine Power

A London exhibition explores female deities across world religions. They turn out to be a varied lot, not all of them gentle nurturing types. Some critics like the show but there are more than a few who don’t. One of the latter calls it “shrill and preachy”, pushing “feminist readings on to unruly ancient art”. However, the above writer grumbles about the opposite, that the show gives insufficient weight to feminist perspectives. Perhaps the curators got it about right. Images are here.