The Wick - JP1847

Dream Hokusai

It’s hard to think of a more famous image than Hokusai’s The Great Wave. Since its introduction to Europe in the mid-19th century, it’s starred in blockbuster exhibitions, commanded million-dollar sums at auction and inspired artists from Van Gogh to Debussy. It even has its own emoji.

Despite such celebrity, it’s in fact quite a terrifying image. Battling for survival against a towering wave with claw-like crest are fishing boats heading away from Edo (Tokyo). For many, it’s the perfect representation of man within nature. Hokusai was in his 70s when he created this image, which would go on to make both his name and his fortune.
The Wick - Discover Emily Ponsonby

Discover Emily Ponsonby

There’s something magnetic about this bathing beauty. Frolicking in shimmering, silky waters, she seems not to have a care in the world. Sunlight kisses her dancing body; the water ripples in her wake. Revelling in her most natural state, she is at one with her surroundings. The sense of freedom is palpable.

In her most recent body of work, the figurative painter Emily Ponsonby explores the meditative effects of water — notably the sense of physical and mental weightlessness when submerged in it whilst swimming. Her thick brushstrokes give the surface of the painting a textural quality, evoking the fluid movement of the water.
The Wick - Ini Archibong, Pavillion of the African Diaspora

Discover Ini Archibong

Created for the 2021 London Design Biennale, Ini Archibong’s Pavilion of the African Diaspora celebrates the contributions and creativity of the Black community around the world.

The pavilion, designed to be ‘Afrofuturistic, Afro current and Afro past’, comprises three sculptural forms: The Shell, which is inspired by the mythology of conches and cowries; The Wave, which nods to the Biennale’s theme of Resonance; and The Sail, which serves as a visual reminder of ancestral and onward journeys.

‘Anchored in history, the pavilion aims to serve as a space to tell our stories and to envision a future where our voices are recognised and respected,’ explains Archibong.
The Wick - Discover Frank Stella, Hiraqla Variation II, 1968

Discover Frank Stella, Hiraqla Variation II, 1968

The late 1960s marked a creative turning point for Frank Stella. The controlled minimalism of his early works (evident in his brooding, rectilinear Black Paintings) gave way to bold, rainbow palettes and sculpted surfaces. He also experimented with canvas shape and began to incorporate curvilinear elements into his compositions.

His celebrated Protractor series (1967-71), of which Hiraqla Variation II forms part, features multi-coloured arcs arranged to resemble the full and half circles of a protractor. The curved forms are inspired by the rounded, vibrant patterns traditionally found in Islamic art, while the titles draw on the names of ancient circular cities in Asia Minor.
The Wick - There Are None So Blind, 2018

Discover Oliver Jeffers

Most widely known for his children’s illustrations, there is a disarming quality to Oliver Jeffers’ art. His graphic worlds filled with colour and imagination have adorned picture books worldwide. The result, when confronted with his paintings of political and socio-geographical narratives, is to really sit up and take notice.

There Are None So Blind (2018) reflects Jeffers’ concerns about the changing natural environment. Combining beauty and disaster – a starry sunset against the rising of the ocean – the scene pokes fun at our human propensity towards disaster. It’s through the subtle approach of his critique that the artist hopes to turn the tide.
The Wick - Agnes Martin, Untitled #1, 2003

Discover Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin suffered from debilitating psychosis: she had visions and heard voices and was hospitalised repeatedly. In 1967 she fled New York, resurfacing around 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

But these turbulent personal experiences did not directly shape her quiet, structured compositions. Rather she strived to capture the intangible essence of being — beauty, happiness, innocence, joy.

Painted just one year before her death, Untitled #1 2003 features two opaque triangles that evoke mountainous forms. ‘Nature is like parting a curtain, you go into it,’ she said. ‘I want to draw that quality of response from people, an experience of simple joy.’
The Wick - © 2021 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual
Copyright © 2021 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual

Dream Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe: the King and Queen of Pop. London Original Print Fair takes place this week (1-8 May), a medium much popularised by Warhol and of which ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is one of the most iconic. It was the first of the artist’s signature screen prints, and went on to become one of the most significant and recognisable works of art of the 20th century. The portrait reflects Warhol’s (and society’s) obsession with celebrity culture, with the diptych style inspired by the Byzantine icons of Christian saints - a comment on the modern-day worship of stars like Monroe. Graphic, repetitious and strikingly visual, it’s an example of how Warhol’s work anticipated social media iconography decades before Instagram was ever invented. Sixty years later, this one’s still going viral.
The Wick - Lee Miller, Irmgard Seefried, Opera singer singing an aria from ‘Madame Butterfly,’ 1945

Discover Lee Miller

In March 1945 allied bombing destroyed the Vienna State Opera. ‘The flames sucked air from the staircases and halls,’ recalls the model, muse and photographer Lee Miller. ‘The auditorium and stage are gutted.’

This striking photograph shows the opera singer Irmgard Seefried singing an aria from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly amidst the ruins. Taken in 1945, it forms part of Miller’s captivating coverage of the Second World War. As an official US war correspondent, Miller documented everything from life at the front and German concentration camps, to women's wartime experiences and the liberation of Europe. Traumatised by the horrors of conflict, however, Miller gradually disappeared from public view.
The Wick - Discover Louise Bourgeois

Discover Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) is often referred to as the reluctant hero of feminist art. Best known for her giant spider sculptures, the artist explored patriarchy, motherhood and what it meant for women to be subjects rather than objects of art.  Bourgeois’s gigantic series of spider sculptures are arguably her most iconic works, which are nightmarish and sublime in equal measure. Bourgeois once explained that she chose the spider as a subject because its traits reminded her of her mother.

“She was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider”. Having been the subject of many public exhibitions around the world from London’s TATE Modern, Rockefeller Centre, New York and Bilbao, Spain, Bourgeois’s spiders have become some of the most widely recognizable sculptures in the world.