Explanations and titles of FB challenge: An art work a day, no title no explanation

Sometime in May, Judy Willoughby invited me to post an artwork a day for a week on Facebook, without title or any other explanation. It took me a while to get into this, as I had decided not to accept any challenges of this nature, but one evening I decided to bite the bullet and pulled a random book out of my bookcase, which happened to be of the art of Franco Vecchiet. I know Franco from Venice, as he taught relief print for many years at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, where I ran some etching weekends, and also took part in a residency. You might be forgiven for imagining this installation was in Venice, but in fact it was in Spalato, in 1987.

artwork a day 1 Franco Vecchiet

Awake, Installation by Franco Vecchiet, Spalato 1987

For the second artwork I did much the same thing: a random book selection, this time ‘The Art of Dove Bradshaw’. I was given this book by Gareth Mills, of Glastonbury bookshops fame: he explained that I was probably the exact person who should have it. My near namesake, Dove Bradshaw, is an American artist who works with ‘nature, change and indeterminacy’. She combines unstable materials with traditional ones, setting off a metamorphic process.  Here the materials are copper and acetic acid on paper. She also, incidentally, was friends with, and worked with, John Cage and Merce Cunningham. Someone after my own heart. I want to be her sister.

Artwork a day 2 Dove Bradshaw

Without Title, 1994, Dove Bradshaw, Copper, acetic acid on paper, 13 3/4 x 3 inches

So far, the work has been by artists who are not well known in the UK. For the third artwork, I resorted to a better known artist, Marino Marini.  He is mostly known for his sculpture, but I really love his 2D work. I saw this and other paintings and prints at an exhibition in Chartres, France, in 1993, and they’ve never left the back of my mind.

Artwork a day 3 Marino Marini

Transparence, 1959, Marino Marini, Oil on canvas 1.51 x 1.20m

Artwork number 4. This is from a book in my bookcase that I have haven’t seen there before….honest. It’s a kind of catalogue of book works, and starts with a memorable quotation from Jorge Luis Borges: ‘I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.’ So many images I could have chosen, but this one truly did sum up my feelings the day I posted it;  it is the world I would like to inhabit. It’s from a book by Juergen Teller, ‘bringing together images from the Spring Summer 2008 Vivienne Westwood campaign. In his usual style, Juergen Teller photographed the collection by creating a highly theatrical mis-en-scene which involved the collaboration of not only the models but also the designer herself. ‘

Artwork a day 4 Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2008, Juergen Teller, photograph

Day 5. By now I had a sense that the number of images left was limited. I always intended to include this painting by Leonora Carrington, entitled ‘The Artist Travelling Incognito”. I love her humour (and wisdom). I saw it in an exhibition of her work in Tate Liverpool some years ago, and bought the postcard.

Artwork a day 5 Leonora Carrington

The Artist Travelling Incognito, 1949, Leonora Carrington, oil on canvas 45.5 x 35.5cm

When I first saw this image, I thought that the artist, Yinka Shonibare, had wrapped all the books in African fabrics. But they were bound, not wrapped. An astonishing installation acquired by the Tate for its permanent collection, the books ‘celebrate cultural icons and diversity. Three walls of the gallery are taken up with shelves of 6,328 books. On 2,700 of the books are the names, printed in gold leaf, of first- and second-generation immigrants to Britain who have made significant contributions to the country’s culture and history.’ An artwork for our times.

Artwork a day 6 Yinka Shonibare

The British Library, 2014, Yinka Shonibare

And so to the last artwork. So many candidates for this! But I decided to go back to my – and everyone’s – artistic roots, and posted this owl from the Chauvet Cave in France. A humble little sgraffito which nevertheless demonstrates the extraordinary skill of the people who decorated the caves. Just a few lines say it all. One of my all time favourite quotations is from ‘On Drawing’ by John Berger, who visited these caves and afterwards wrote: ‘Art, it would seem, is born like a foal who can walk straightaway. Or to put it less vividly… the talent to make art accompanies the need for that art; they arrive together.’

I couldn’t end this project on a better note.

Artwork a day 7 Chauvet Cave Owl

Owl, Anon, Chauvet Cave, Le Pont d’Arc, France


  1. What a wonderful compilation – both intuitive and thoughtful. Just like you! Thank you Bron.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Ama; I really enjoyed pulling it all together in blog form. Much more flexible than Facebook I find.

  2. clevedoncarol said:

    A thoughtful series. I had seen the Installation by Yinka Shonibare, astonishing work., and I knew about the cave drawings but I hadn’t seen an owl before. I wonder why an owl was depicted? We love the shape and face of owls so was that what our very distant ancestors also admired. A real connection across so many years. Thank you bron. I was unable to post a comment as I’m not recognised by this so I’m replying by email instead. Thanks for your post . Carol

    • Ah but your comment has come through nonetheless, thank you. It was the first time I had spotted the owl in the illustrations in my Chauvet cave book. Could have been by Picasso….

  3. jersheharvey said:

    Brilliant, Bronwen! Thank you very much. Hope you’ll have another such initiative or challenge. Jeremy

  4. Wonderful, thanks Bron! Some of these I’ve never come across before. Love Berger and your choice of quote! 🙂

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