Last week I went to see the “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty” exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibit brings together two giants of 20th-century British art including more than 130 artworks, such as paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs.
Their work represents their confinement and angst during the Second World War. It also demonstrates how the two artists reflected differently upon all the torment. However, they both concentrated mostly on eyes, flesh and bones.
Moore was the more sensitive and calmer one. His sculptures consisted mostly of the female body (typically mother-and-child), hollow spaces and reclining figures. You can find one of his sculptures right in front of AGO and all over Toronto.
Moore has a certain style about his sculptures, so if you spot one, you will know for sure it is one of his. I did :)
If you would like to know more about Moore, there is a website dedicated just to him. Check it out! www.artsy.net/artist/
Bacon’s work was disturbing, painful and raw. He saw his subjects in series, and would usually put them in geometrical cages made of steel or glass. He also did a lot of triptychs and later started incorporating animals to his paintings.
I found myself drawn more to his art than Moore’s. It was more heart-felt and had a lingering effect on me. My favourite work by him had to be the study of Velázquez’s great portrait of Pope Innocent X. I was also pleasantly surprised that the originator was Diego Velázquez as I am a big fan of his work and I own Las Meninas, which is my favourite painting by him. (Of course not the original one, I wish!)
The above was another one of my favourites, which was Bacon’s big breakthrough as an artist.
In conclusion, it was a pretty interesting and unique exhibit. However, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t big enough. I wanted to see more… especially more of Bacon’s work.