Turner Prize at the Baltic in Gateshead

I finally got round to going to the Baltic to see the 2011 Turner Prize exhibition – just in time too as I think it’s moving on next week.

4 artists were nominated: Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd and George Shaw with the winner being Martin Boyce.

After a short queue-up we went in to see the Martin Boyce exhibit, I like some of his stuff, e.g. Our love Is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours:martin boyce: Our love Is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours

and there were elements of that in the Baltic (i.e. a solitary slanty bin) but I was not as impressed with the rest of it. I’ll be honest I don’t really get Do Words Have Voices:

martin boyce: do words have voices

which contains a desk covered in scrawl as you’d find in a school. Perhaps a worthy winner but not for what was on display at the Baltic.

The next room we went into was that of Karla Black, I must say this was not to my taste at all, a large room full of a sculpture made of crumpled paper and plastic, with poster paints/coloured chalk all over them – come on! Judge for yourselves:

karla black turner prize

The following room was an installation of video art by Hilary Lloyd. The videos consisted of moving images rather than films with subjects such as the Moon and high rise flats. Lloyd apparently often puts the AV equipment itself, i.e. the projectors, on display in prominent positions, sometimes in the way of the art, which was the case here. Again I didn’t really get this.

Finally we entered the room containing paintings by George Shaw. I had seen some black and white paintings by the artist at an exhibition early this year and was impressed by the way he captured British urban architecture. The theme was change, in the sense that he was revisiting the landscapes of his youth and painting those with significant or almost imperceptible differences. The photo-realistic paintings were made in the medium of Humbrol enamel paints (those you used to paint model aeroplanes with) which was ideal for the industrial aspects of some of the subjects. My favourites were Landscape With Dog Shit Bin:

George Shaw: Landscape with Dog Shit Bin

which seemed to show how a favourite walking spot now contained a bin for dog poo, The New Houses:

George Shaw: The New Houses

– which I think perfectly sums up mid 2000s Britain and Resurface:

George Shaw Resurface

showing a carpark with pleasing new asphalt. My dining companion really liked Shut Up:

George Shaw: Shut Up

showing a closed shop front in the rain.

As you can probably guess George Shaw was my winner, an excellent display.

The cafeteria in the Baltic was pretty decent, had a club sandwich which was nice.

After the exhibition we went for a tea in Great Coffee (http://www.greatcoffee.me/) on the Newcastle quayside opposite the Sage Gateshead, seemed like a good place for food too, will have to check it out properly.

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