18 July- 29 August
This Union Street institution presents a new body of work by the bearded patriarch of British PopArt. With a whimsical smile and sideways nod to Turner, Canaletto and the accompanying hordes of artists who have drawn inspiration from the floating city, Venice finds Blake at his playful and jocular best.
Merging tourist snapshot with children’s picture book, Blake conjures a surreal and fantastic citadel of beautifully poetic whimsy. At times darkly comic, icebergs and speedboats race down the Grand Canal, emperor penguins languish marooned on S. Giorgio, and Pleistocene megafauna vie for leg-room in the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale. Halfway between a George Melies still and a Terry Gilliam animation there is nevertheless a wonderful innocence in Blake’s farce.
A second course of prints entitled Love is purebred PopArt; glitzy diamond-dusted portraits of the 20th century’s cultural elect (The Beatles, Ian Curtis, Elvis and Little Richard make an appearance). Blake borrows heavily from Warhol and the results, an attempt to ‘…simultaneously seduce the eye and frustrate it’ are nothing we haven’t seen before.
Not that this should put you off a visit to the Printmakers. Blake is a master of his art; a grade one listed Pop monument. Venice and its accompanying side-orders, Love and Alphabet should have art-lovers scurrying down Union Street to sample this beguiling master.
Venice – Dancing Over Venice2009
Edition of 75
Paper Size – 40.65 x 30.5cm
Published by Paul Stolper Gallery, London
Image courtesy Paul Stolper Gallery, London and Edinburgh Printmakers