The Geeks at the Gates: COVID-19 Extras. The Art Rant! Hat explains fine art.

March 30, 2020

We're in lockdown, and going a little stir crazy. So, we're entertaining ourselves by making more podcasts, which hopefully will help to entertain you as you isolate yourself to help defeat this virus.

Today we're exploring the other side of the Geek - the things our team is obsessive about that are not generally considered "geeky". There is no question that Hat is a massive nerd. But she also studied fine art, and holds a Master's Degree, no less.


So, now we're all locked in our houses, she sat down across the internet and explained Fine Art to Regie, who doesn't know much about art beyond comics...


Click on the image below to go directly to the download page, or search for The Geeks at the Gates wherever you get your podcasts.


We began with a discussion of Hat's own background in art, in which mention was made of Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Spider" which she saw in the Tate Modern back in the nineties. Click the image to go to the Tate's page on this piece.

Regie mentioned an Antony Gormley sculpture, which he remembered as a standing woman, but is in fact cast in lead from the artists own body. Never the less, it's stunning, and it's here:

Click the image to go to the Cathedral's page.


Regie also remembered an exhibit featuring a "big wooden ball" and some "big wooden shapes" at the Tate in St Ives. During the discussion he couldn't remember the name of the artist, but subsequent research tells us it was David Nash. 


We haven't found the film that Regie saw online, but here's a short video of it taken in 2013 as the tide comes in. This "wooden boulder" has existed in the landscape since 1978...

 Click the image to go to the Tate's page for the exhibit that Regie saw:

Hat remembered a room full of little Gormley sculptures at what is now Tate Liverpool. That was an installation called "Field", and it looked like this:

Click the image to go to the Tate's page for this installation.


Then we moved on to the development of Western Art, landing on the Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck:

Click the image to go to the National Gallery's page about this important example of naturalism.


There was some discussion about how this level of natural realism could have been achieved, with Regie recalling a documentary in which Bradford born artist David Hockney put forward his view that artists had used camera obscuras to project the image they wanted to paint onto their canvas. That documentary is available for free on YouTube:

Hat recalled a similar documentary involving American magic slingers Penn and Teller. It's called "Tim's Vermeer" and doesn't appear to be available for free anywhere, but can be rented on YouTube. Here's a trailer:

There's also a scene in the novel (and subsequent movie) "Girl with a Pearl Earring" where Vermeer uses such a device:

 We then moved on to the Night Watch by Rembrandt: