The various ‘lock-downs’ that we have had over the last year or so, has meant that many exhibitions have not taken place and there has been no opportunity to go to galleries in order to lift the spirits. Thankfully so many museums and art galleries have taken up the challenge and have provided a wealth of material online. There have also been a range of books that look at the world of art and hopefully these will encourage young readers to explore the creative world and to produce their own work in the future. These are just some of the books that I have seen in the last year and they have greatly enhanced my appreciation of the talent that is there for us to admire, as well as to try and emulate.
“Flying High in the Sunlit Silence: the aviation art of Jack Berry. I came across the book when it featured on a programme on the TV and just had to get a copy for myself. The author is a young autistic boy called jack and he was 13 years old when the book was published. I was attracted to the book because it features aircraft, but it also has articles by a variety of aviation veterans, as well as the beautiful poem “Say Something Nice” by A.F.Harrold
“Who’s in the Picture?” by Susie Brooks is a delightful look at 20 famous paintings and the images within them. It is aimed at possibly KS1 children and encourages them to ask lots of questions. It is a great introduction to the huge range of what we call ‘Art’.
“A gallery of Cats” by Ruth Brown is a delightful and quirky look at art, as a young boy called Tom wanders through an Art Gallery. Instead of the artists we see the works through they eyes of cats which have been placed in the paintings. It gives a really fresh and original take on the images that we see.
“The bird within me” by Sara Lundberg is a remarkable look at the early life of the Swedish artist Berta Hansson. It has been shortlisted for the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal, which of course looks at the illustration in the nominated titles. The publisher is the wonderful small company Book Island Books which is based in Bristol and specialized in picture books in translation; they are a favourite of mine.
“Yayoi Kusama covered everything in dots and wasn’t sorry” by Fausto Gilberti is something of a surprise for me. I could not believe that I had not come across the artist’s name before, even though she has been creating her work for most of my life. It is amazing what someone can create using just one basic shape, but this artist brings colour, shape and design together to amaze us with her work.
“Bob goes POP!” by Marion Deuchars is the third in the series about the small black bird called Bob. This time he is trying his hand at POP art and finds himself in competition with another artist called Roy. How they overcome their differences and produce some very positive results makes for a delightful take on the modern art scene.
“Lets make great ART: Colours” by Marion Deuchars is part of a series by this author in which she looks at different aspects of art. Other works in the series include ‘Pattern’ and ‘Animals’. They are all aimed at the youngest of readers, as they gain confidence with drawing tools and the art of ‘Mark Making’. The get the imagination flowing.
“How Art works” by Sarah Hull is aimed at the teenage and adult reader, who want to understand more about the world of art. It has to be said that for many this is a very difficult area to get to grips with, but this book asks the sort of questions that we all want to ask.
“Why do we need Art ?” by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young asks us some of the major questions about Art. It does not look at individual works of art in depth but does examine
where the concept of art comes from, what it means to us now and why do we need art in our lives. It is very up to date, in that it looks at the impact of ‘Black Lives matter’ as well as the experiences of those who have been been outside of mainstream art; this includes poets, artists, sculptors and writers.
“Modern Art Explorer” by Alice Harman and Serge Bloch allows the reader to dip into some of the great artists of the 20th and 21st century. The book include artists, sculptors, textile artists, and those who create large scale installations. Some of the artists are household names, such as Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo but others are know to more specialized audiences. This makes this book a good choice to dip into as a way of discovering new works. The text is quite chatty in style and would be suitable for maybe young people over the age of 10 years.