ART: Last few days of Jenny Saville’s exhibition in Oxford
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If you’re going into Oxford this week, take a 30-second detour from the Westgate Centre and see the last few days of the Jenny Saville exhibition at lovely Modern Art Oxford gallery in Pembroke Street. I popped in on a whim and had a lovely quiet half an hour admiring her work, some of which I quietly snapped on my iphone (see above and below).
It’s Oxford-based Saville’s first solo exhibition in public UK space and whether or not you love her unflinching, sometimes grotesque depictions of the human form, her large scale works leave a powerful impression.
There are two floors of her art, including her latest drawings, the Reproduction series, where Saville takes inspiration from Renaissance Virgin and Child paintings. Meanwhile, down in the basement there’s a film of Saville in conversation with a curator from the Ashmolean. I know what you’re thinking – that sounds bloody awful! You’d rather stick pins in your eyes. But actually, it was really interesting and held me for a good 15 minutes until the lure of the coffee shop became too great.
If you haven’t been to the MAO coffee shop – well hello. It’s outdoor but with a roof and has a lovely industrial funky feel to it that is really reminiscent of central Auckland or New York cafes. Those with kids can let them toddle around in relative safety, while you chomp down the cake (or which there are many). Incidentally on Saturdays between 1-3pm, art activities related to current exhibitions are available at the cafe for kids so you’re virtually guaranteed a coffee in peace during those hours. Not that I’m obsessed or anything.
The Jenny Saville exhibition ends 16 September. Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP. Tel: 01865 722 733. www.modernartoxford.org.uk