Category Index
Books About Big Art
  • A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    by John Richardson
  • Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    by Yilmaz Dziewior, Sarah Lucas
  • Grayson Perry
    Grayson Perry
    by Jacky Klein
  • Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    by Pim Milo, Kathy Ryan
  • David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    by Marco Livingstone, Margaret Drabble, Tim Barringer, Xavier Salomon, Stuart Comer, Martin Gayford
  • Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    by Robert Leonard, Anthony Gardner, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Blair French, Glenn Barkley
  • Yayoi Kusama
    Yayoi Kusama
    by Midori Yamamura, Jo Applin, Yayoi Kusama
  • Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Prestel Publishing
  • Wall and Piece
    Wall and Piece
    by Banksy
  • Mark Rothko
    Mark Rothko
    by Mr. Jeffrey Weiss
  • Louise Bourgeois
    Louise Bourgeois
    by Robert Storr, Paulo Herkenhoff
  • Damien Hirst
    Damien Hirst
    by Ann Gallagher
Join the Big Picture

A blog that aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing works of art

Historically, artists have always worked big, and nowadays those boundaries are being pushed to the limits.

Large-scale art, whether in the form of photos from the Hubble space telescope, sharks floating in tanks of formaldehyde, rooms full of dots, concrete sculptures cast from Victorian buildings or hand knitted blankets wrapped around trees, large-scale art is all around us. Join the Big Picture aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing these works.

All content by Karla Thompson, an ex-pat Aussie living in East London. When not working on Join the Big Picture she is part of the backbone to the Leonhard Pfeifer brand.

Read an interview about Join the Big Picture here.


Karla Thompson
Creative Partner




Detail of Yarn Bombing UK

Entries in Bow Arts (2)


The Shape Open 2013 

I was fortunate to be invited to the opening preview of The Shape Open last week, and found the venue crammed full of wonderful creative types.

Running until the 20th October at Bow Arts The Nunnery, The Shape Open is an annual call-out for disabled and non-disabled artists to submit work in response to a disability focused theme showcasing

This year’s theme ‘Disability Re-assessed’ generated submissions from an exciting range of international artists. The show represents a rich diversity of opinions, reactions and responses to this highly political and often deeply personal theme, but is united by a clarity, energy and commitment to re-interpreting and re-assessing disability.

My personal favourites from the show were:

Cecilia Montague, Can Clean, Can’t Run 2013
Stitch and wool

A tiny piece of cross stitching, the work states what the artist can and can’t do. "Can clean, walk, shop, sew and cook. Can’t run, drive or drink."

An obvious statement it would seem, but one that is obviously overlooked or dismissed. A simple message, but a powerful one.


Fabienne Jacquet, Bunnyman 2013
Mixed-media on paper

In the artist’s words “Bunnyman was inspired by an interaction with a friend who has bipolar disorder. This piece evokes the difficulties experienced by a person whose social skills are often skewed and their frustrations involved in trying to relate and communicate.

This work on paper is about the reality of living with a condition you often cannot control, and the effect it can have on those around you.”

Kind of reminded me of ‘Donny Darko’ a bit too, which really hammered the message home, powerful, emotive, dark.


Sophie Brown Textile Braille 2013
Stitch and wool

A note on this large work invited spectators to touch the exhibit, a note that you do not see often in galleries. And touch it I did. It was soft with subtle textures and raised surfaces and light.

A beautiful tactile piece that was difficult to see, being white on white, but beautiful to touch. Not something you come across in a gallery environment. A subtle, gentle message about gallery’s perhaps?


Aga Maria Masternak Aries 5 2012
Watercolour on paper

The long awkward pose and disturbing angel of the torso was influenced by Romanesque sculptures where the bodies were carved into limited amounts of space, thus altering their proportions to fit the material. As in life, the physicality of the body can limit the individual.

Sensitively done, the work is both beautiful and uncomfortable at the same time.



Monica Takvam ‘Description of My Face by Frances’ and ‘Description of Jonathan's Face by Jane’ from the series ‘Blind’ 2012
Lambda C-Type photograph, Perspex with Braille

In the artist’s words “Forming part of a larger on-going project on blindness and perception, this work seeks to explore eye-sight, sight-loss and portraiture. I invited participants to describe someone close to them that they have never seen.

The close-up portraits are then overlaid with the transcribed description in Braille on a frosted, semi-transparent surface”

These two works were intriguing, again being difficult to see from most angels, but, if you persisted, just for a moment, you could glimpse the person behind the frosting.

The show runs until October 20 at Bow Arts The Nunnery. It is a strong collection of work full of work that is confronting and thought provoking.


Madge Gill – Outsider, Artist


The term ‘Outsider Art’ was first coined in 1972 as a term for art that was created outside the boundaries of official culture; in particular art made by those who were inmates in insane-asylums and children.

I like the idea that in Britain in the 70’s any art that proved both popular and created outside the establishment needed to be classified as 'made by a crazy person’. I think that all artists are a little ‘crazy’. Sometimes the ‘crazy’ comes out in the way they dress, in their compulsive obsessive nature to repeat patterns and processes over the course of their life, to cut their own ears off, or just in the way they express themselves.

You have to be a little bit ‘crazy’ to be an Artist, and that is what makes this select group of individuals so wonderful. I’m not sure if I like the term ‘Outsider’ – it feels quietly, snidely aggressive but it is a classification that intrigues me.

Madge Gill’s work is clearly obsessive; with compulsive mark making. Her artistic output was as diverse as it was prolific, creating ink drawings and paintings on cardboard, calico, knitting, tapestry, embroidery, rug-making, dresses and tablecloths. All from her living room in East London in the early 1900’s.

Some of the artworks were postcard sized, others huge. It was the incredible roll of paper on display at the Nunnery Gallery at Bow Arts that captivated my attention. The work features crowds of beautifully adorned females, scratched and etched into the thick roll of paper in both red and black ink. The intensity of the mark making at the beginning of the roll suggests a real passion and desire to put the images onto paper. As the paper expands, the enthusiasm for the work seems to deteriorate; Gill is said to have been inspired by a spiritual being that helped and guided her with her work. This intensity seems apparent in the beginning of the piece, and possibly a waiting period before another ‘visit’ to help fuel her inspiration again.

Crazy? Perhaps. Passionate and talented – definitely.

Madge Gill’s work was first shown at the East End Academy exhibition - Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1938 - an annual event since 1932. Anyone could show their work, the only proviso being that the artist must live or work east of the Aldgate Pump and no more than 10 miles away.

Gill felt uncomfortable selling her work, and there is an argument there to say she never intended her work to be seen by the public at all.

The Nunnery presented the first major retrospective of ‘Outsider’ artist Madge Gill, and the final installment the exhibition continues until January 31, 2013.