Cambridge Cows: A Changing Spaces Exhibition
Cows are everywhere in Cambridge. Nature encroaches right into the centre of the city. You're cycling past a busy roundabout or striding across a footbridge and suddenly: there they are! Cows!
|Cows on the Backs, Cambridge. Photo: A.P. Clark.|
Cows are also rife in art. Here are some famous painted cows:
|Paulus Potter, The Bull, 1647, Mauritshuis, The Hague|
|Franz Marc, Yellow Cow, 1911, Guggenheim Museum, NYC|
|Theo van Doesburg, Cow, c.1917, MOMA, NYC|
Now Cambridge has its own cows in a shopfront gallery. Look carefully behind the columns in the photo below and you will see cows on canvas.
This is Sussex Street, an elegant 1920s pedestrian area in the centre of town. There used to be a fashion boutique at numbers 5-7 but now the store stands empty. Changing Spaces are an initiative that uses empty spaces to house art. So the cows have moved in.
Looking at cows in shop windows on a sunny day means that there are a lot of reflections. They become part of the experience.
A cow gazing wistfully into a numinous distance.
Cow and calf, walking in parallel.
I like the shaggy Bighorn cow at the end, straight from Scotland. Its mouth is askew; it seems to be chewing its cud. No eyes are visible so its face confronts us with bovine stolidness. The horn juts into a bright blue sky, filled with oil paint that drips into the water below. It reminds me of the abstract drips in a Jackson Pollock painting. And look at the tiny cows in the middle distance: three deft orange squiggles, each with its own cast shadow. Here the touch of the brush is different from the broad sweep of paint for beach and water.
I like the way this makes us look at both 'cow' and 'paint'.
For more on Cambridge cows:
Read Useless Beauty's great cow post.