July 2021: Live Studio update/ London Exhibitions 2021-The Loneliness of the Soul with Tracy Emin and Edvard Munch

tracy emin, london exhibitions 2021

The Loneliness of the Soul

Welcome to my weekly studio update except for this time I’m not in my studio. Instead, I’m at the Royal Academy of Arts to see one of the major London exhibitions 2021 The Loneliness of the Soul with work by Tracy Emin & Edvard Munch.

If you’re not already aware of these artists, here’s a little background:

Tracy Emin is associated with the YBA (Young British Artists) group which emerged in the late 1980s/ early 90’s and includes other successful artists such as Damian Hirst, Fiona Rae, Sarah Lucas, Chris Ofili & many more. They put on some very successful exhibitions and came to the attention of famed art collector Charles Saatchi. Emin is best known for her 1998 work ‘My Bed’ which was exhibited at the Tate gallery before being shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

London exhibitions 2021
My Bed, 1998, by Tracy Emin

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter who came to prominence in the late 1800s. His most famous painting ‘The Scream’ has become hugely iconic and something of a pop-culture symbol. Emin was influenced by Munch’s work as an art student at Goldsmith Art College referring to him as her ‘art friend’.

London exhibitions 2021
The Scream 1893 by Edvard Munch

As an art student I became aware of both of these artists but to be honest, as they weren’t in my visual viewpoint I didn’t do a lot of study into their work. I have to say this exhibition really moved me. It explores the complexities of the human condition from both artists. It’s raw and intense and at times I felt uncomfortable viewing such intimate paintings- almost like I was reading someone’s diary.

London exhibitions 2021
Weeping Woman, 1907-09, Edvard Munch
London exhibitions 2021
You Were Here like the Ground Underneath my Feet, 2016, Tracy Emin

If you are in London I highly recommend checking out this emotive exhibition. It was also great to finally get out to see an exhibition after a year and a half of Covid!

Background to my Live Studio Updates:

When Covid-19 arrived in the UK all of my upcoming exhibitions, art fairs and arts facilitation roles were either cancelled or postponed. If Covid has taught me anything it’s the importance of proactivity and self-resilience. If I had no way to physically show my paintings then I had to work out an alternative.

I had a small online presence through my website and Instagram account but wasn’t very sure how to use either. However, I saw these platforms as a way to keep my work moving & to get my paintings seen. I did an overhaul of my website (ongoing!), began to be more active on my Instagram and started a YouTube channel.

One of the hardest things I did was I began speaking live every Wednesday from my studio about what was happening, what work I was making, the ethos of my painting practice and all the realities of life as an artist. I felt vulnerable because I was putting myself ‘out there’ into the online space and wasn’t sure how I would be received. But this practice each Wednesday has proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve made over the last year.

Building Virtual Art Relationships

Through chatting and sharing directly from my art studio I’ve connected with first-time art buyers & seasoned art collectors around the world. I’ve had lots of positive feedback but the main thing I keep hearing is it’s great to see what goes into making a painting rather than just buying the finished artwork. I share the materials I use, why I use them, painting techniques and how I build the composition of a painting. 

Also because abstraction can be viewed as an inaccessible area of art people tell me they’ve enjoyed learning about this genre as I also share artists who have influenced my work and any exhibitions I go to (when I can!). The online art market has grown because of Covid. For me, I love that people can now buy my original abstract paintings online from me, connecting with me directly and build a virtual art relationship.

As these videos have become an integral part of what I do, I’ve decided to start sharing them on my website in my creative journal posts as it opens up my work to you. If you can’t come and visit me at an exhibition or in my painting studio at least now you can see & hear all about what I’m making and how I’m making it! 

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch as it’s always a pleasure to hear from people interested in my paintings. 

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Thanks for reading, Aisling

Aisling Drennan is an award-winning abstract artist with a London, UK-based art studio.

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