Volcano

Yesterday I went to see the exhibition “Volcano” at Compton Verney in Warwickshire. This is a wonderful 17th Century house that is now an art gallery with a really interesting permanent collection and it also curates and shows some of the best temporary exhibitions around.

This one was based on volcanos and the influence they have on art. It was a large show, covering more aspects of how volcanos affect us, art and the world than you would ever imagine. I was particularly taken with Dieter Roth’s series of works based on Surtsey, a volcano which erupted out of the sea near Iceland, and it was good to see some Hiroshige prints too.

I liked the large Andy Warhol painting, and the film by James P Graham of Stromboli, which took 5 years to make. I can be quite impatient at times with film/video installations, my fault entirely, but this was captivating. 15 minutes in a dark room usually puts my brain into sleep mode; not on this occasion. Ilana Halpern’s work was fascinating, it made me think carefully about the benefits of working to a theme. Throughout the show were scientific notes by Dr. Carl Stevenson of Birmingham University, they were quite witty as well as interesting; I’ve always been interested in physical geography, but I certainly realised how little I know after this exhibition. Works shown dated from the 18th to the 21st century, and it’s still on for a couple of weeks, if you can fit in a visit.