Saturday, March 11, 2006

Charlie boy

Today we will be talking about Charles. No, not the hapless British royal whose diaries look like being splashed across the tabloids but a less recent bloke (bloke = chap= man in australian colloquial). Charles Rennie Mackintosh - a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll (sorry, I think that was a flashback to the Donny and Marie Osmond show in the 70's. They happen sometimes.)

No, I mean, Charles Rennie MacKintosh, Glasweigan, Architect and art nouveau legend. Yesterday, self, hubbie and toddler caught the express to Bendigo - a former goldfields/ Victorian architecture stronghold about 2 hours from Melbourne.

The Bendigo Art Gallery had been PR chest beating for some time that they had this exhibition and since I am a sucker for the decorative arts - particularly when infused with orientalism - we went.

Well, the pix I had seen in the advance PR were of a particularly fetching writing desk - ebonised mahogany, mother of pearl etc. In fact, I was just short of slavering at the prospect of a vast wodge of such goodies in an arty kind of a way.

What they had was good. I like a bit of arts and crafts as much as the next sheila. However, I think it was the bit, bit that made me cross.

I know that minimalism has its fans but a few brass mirrors, a candle stick, 4 chairs, some video footage and a desk does not an entire exhibition make. I love my country but honestly, sometimes the things we get out here are limited, to say the least.

That said, you have to admire the Glasgow Style. Severe, reductionist furniture that still looks modern - 100 plus years later. The seductive curves and exagerated proportions of art nouveau's paeon to mother nature. Did you know that his most fervent supporter was a lady entrepeneur who had him design a number of tea rooms for her ? No, neither did I.

No smarty pants ending to this post. Google him if you want to know more.
I'll be seeing you.....

mummified is artified


Tea and Books, etc said...

Oh, I'm so sorry!

There was a Charles Rennie McIntosh exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art a few years back which was excellent.

That lady with the tea room you mentioned... well, they created a faux replica of it by using large images and recreating some of the wooden paneling.

The exhibit was quite large and had wonderful pieces. They even created jewellery out of his furniture ideas. In fact, there was a sterling silver bracelet with different chair designs as charms, which sold for USD $150. There were also scarves with his stylized rose designs, and notecards, glassware, and ties...

It truly was lovely.

A friend of mine fell in love with what she saw and scooped up stained glass panels, scarves, book marks, etc.

I, er, bought quite a few of the book marks in various designs. Ahem.

Tea and Books, etc said...

Ha, I keep leaving things out.

The truth is that I'm trying to take over everyone's blog, but we'll pretend that I'm just absent-minded, shall we? ;-)

I meant to say that I laugh everytime I see 'bloke', 'chap', 'sheila', etc, need to be explained. In fact, there's an Outback Steakhouse or two in my city and initially they had 'bloke' and 'sheila' for the respective toilets. Well, after 2 months, they had to put up the American equivalents with pictures and the words 'men' and 'women', respectively.

I laughed so hard when I saw the new signs (they put them above the Aussie ones), that my eyes teared and my friend had to pound me on the back. Repeatedly. :-D

The Phosgene Kid said...

Hope you at least scratched your initials into the top of that desk!!