Andrew Marr, Ice Age Art and the SGFA

October 9, 2014

It was just brilliant on the 7th October to hear Andrew Marr speak on drawing and its importance as an enrichment of life and bringer of joy to all who practice on any level.  At the official opening of DRAW14, the 93rd Annual Open Exhibition of the Society of Graphic Fine Art, he was of course talking to terminally addicted artists, as well as to all the guests at the presentation evening.  We all hugely appreciated the time he spent with us so.

Thank You Andrew!

I was particularly excited by Andrew’s reference to the Ice Age Art exhibition at the British Museum last year, which showed many beautifully observed carved objects from between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.  He went on to relate that study of these artifacts has shown that particular makers hands can be identified and that in some cases their improvement over time can be observed. This seems positively mind blowing to me.

On my two visits to the exhibition, I was overwhelmed to be in some sort meeting face to face with such ancient cultures.  This was accentuated by the small scale of the objects such that you really looked at the individual marks made.  As recorded in an earlier post I was excited by the incredible accuracy of observations of animals so important for their survival.  Some of the original drawings from my sketch book are below, including the one of the carving which inspired my lithograph, Food Chain.

Inspiration for Food Chain on the right
Food Chain





All those years ago these hunter gatherers must have seen birds that swallow fish as direct competition for a vital food source.  I found that particular carving such a wonderful mix of observation and imagination.




ice age women

Here are Ice Age women drawn naturally or reduced to abstract shapes
and Animals carved out of bone, ivory and antlers.
ice age animals
 We may not know why these objects were made or what they were used for, but we do know that the same creative spirit continues to breathe through all artistic endeavour today.
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