Blackpaint 54

Chris Ofili

Got to this yesterday at the Tate Britain.  I liked  the surfaces of the older ones; the resins, swirling patterns, little black blobs, the pastel-y colours, the map pins, and the shiny balls of elephant dung.  they get to be a bit much en masse, though; sometimes I was reminded of the stuff little girls decorate their purses with.  The titles, the Captain Shits and Bitches provide a bit of vinegar and I was pleased to see the Virgin Mary, with her single elephant dung breast, was surrounded by little pictures of backsides and vulvas (? not sure, my eyesight not too good) some with hands pulling the “curtains” apart like Kilpeck gargoyles.  A woman next to me, with her child, suddenly marched her away, when the kid pointed out what was in the little pictures.

The Last Supper

Through the dark tunnel to the “Last Supper” monkeys, glowing in the dark like a zoo aquarium.  Tried to pick out Judas, like Andrew Graham-Dixon, but couldn’t see anything – its usually a pouch of money, or a hand on table or facing the wrong way.

The Hanged Man

Up to new paintings, the Trinidad ones, and I have to say to Adrian Searles, sorry, you’re absolutely right; it is hard not to think of some “colonial atrocity” when you make out the hanged man in the blue gloom.  I liked the brilliant yellows, reds and mauves against the dense blacks and blues but not the thinness and dryness of the surfaces.  The painting I liked most was “the Raising of Lazarus”, bright thick yellow and orange brown, the shapes reminiscent of Art Nouveau as they are in the painting to the left of the blue green woman with the cocktail glass.

One thing I did notice which is very mundane and probably of no significance; all the paintings in a given set are exactly the same size – in the case of the earlier ones, 243.8 cms * 182.8 cms.  Michael Caine impersonators would have a cliche to fit that fact – as an avoider of cliches, I couldn’t possibly comment.

My Painting

My last two looked sort of like colours seen through shattered glass (see below); now, I’ve mixed some flesh tones up and trying that out “under” a similar fractured surface.

Listening to Mahler 9  (the “Abide with me” one)


Don’t know the date.

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2 Responses to “Blackpaint 54”

  1. hiddenamongroots Says:

    I like what you are doing here. Great marks breaking up the surfaces. I’ll be back.

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