Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

I went to the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. It's a modern art gallery and it's free to get in which is amazing, it means anyone has access to art. It's only small but they change the exhibitions regularly so I'll be going again soon.

I went to the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. It's a modern art gallery and it's free to get in which is amazing, it means anyone has access to art. It's only small but they change the exhibitions regularly so I'll be going again soon.

The first floor was all about printing. Right in the middle there was a huge old printing press machine. It was like stepping back in time. There were screen prints from different periods of time, some really old and simple in one colour and really detailed ones with a few colours. I can't wait to try screen printing at school or college. I'd really love to screen print on to t-shirt of bags.

Then we went up onto the second floor which was totally different. Most of the floor was various art installations by Exodus Crooks, a British-Jamaican artist, which was based around the theme of 'what is home'. They were so unusual. When you first walked in there was a washing line with a vest, pants and a sheet hanging on the line. Hand stitched on the sheet it said "I'll never leave you" and the other side "as long as god spares my life". Another installation was an old wardrobe on a rug with words scratched into it on all 4 sides. One door said "I'll take all your tears and water my plants with them because what falls from you can lift another, did you know that?" which I really loved. There was also a wall covered in sling shots, all different paints and materials added to them. I'm not sure what they meant but it looked really pretty. The installations were my favourite part of the gallery. They made me want to learn more about installation art.

Downstairs there is an amazing shop with all sorts of craft supplies and art books.

I would recommend visiting the gallery if you're near Birmingham, but it's very small so it's not worth travelling far for.


Willow Howard

Willow Howard

I'm studying for my bronze award. Please comment on my review!

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  • Fridah Arts

    On 18 June 2024, 17:12 Fridah Arts commented:

    I love this gallery and café. You should check out Eastside Projects in Digbeth.

  • Matilda Phoebe Middleton

    On 28 June 2024, 16:35 Matilda Phoebe Middleton commented:

    Hi Willow

    Great review on the installations for your Bronze Award!

    I am also covering these 2 exhibitions for my Silver Award.

    I thought the press was really beautiful and looked like a piece of sculpture. The fact you can make art on it was an added bonus!

    I loved the idea of seeing art being created while the audience could watch, getting an insight into their working practices. We often see the finished piece but we are not able to speak to the artist while creating the piece.

    A couple of pieces around the press really caught my attention.

    The first was a wooded Landscape, by David Hockney. The landscape is from Hockney’s series of illustrations for fairytales by the Brothers Grimm. What’s really interesting about this piece is the illusion of texture. Although it’s black and white, the different lines e.g. cross hatching in the foreground and smaller more refined patterns in the distance give this piece a 3d quality like collage. I really liked the style and feel of this piece as it complements folklore and fairytales old tradition i.e. it all seems calm and then…. a witch or troll could jump out at any moment!

    The second piece was Lubaina Himid's hand-painted screenprint, A Rake’s Progress: Hole in her stocking has enlarged a detail from the famous series by William Hogarth: A Rake’s Progress (1735). Hogarth’s work, reproduced in the popular press, followed the journey of a young man or ‘rake’. The 8 pictures depict a moral tale on the dangers of indulging in life’s excesses – a man who inherits a fortune from his city merchant father only to throw it all away on an extravagant lifestyle which ultimately leads to his downfall.

    The detail in Himid’s work is from the pub scene where the Rake has overindulged, been in a fight and is now surrounded by a room where all the items are smashed. I liked the idea of referencing famous 18th century art with a modern twist

    I am now off to find a printmaking course!

    Good Luck with your Award.

    Matilda Middleton.

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