Blackpaint 86


Barnett Newman

I can’t leave this idea of the painting “painting itself ” (see previous blogs on Ofili et al., nos. 45 – 49, and 83)).  Now I’ve come across it in a quote from BN in the Taschen “Abstract Expressionism” book by Barbara Hess: ” I began these paintings eight years ago the way I begin all my paintings – by painting…..It is as I work that the work itself begins to have an effect on me.  Just as I affect the canvas, so does the canvas affect me.”  OK, so it’s not totally a matter of the artist as a sort of passive applicator but a dual process – a bit from the artist, a bit from the painting and so on.  Even the ones who work from sketches (Kline, Hartung) produce the sketches by the means of “automatic writing”, that Surrealist conceit of the artist’s subconscious doing the work by guiding the hand.

What strikes me is the difference between the work of the various artists – you could hardly find more differing styles than those of Newman, Kline, Hartung and Ofili, yet they have all made strikingly similar comments about the nature of painting as they experience it.  Of course, this probably just means that I’m saying something extremely banal…

Nathalie Djurberg

Again from Taschen, this time “100 Contemporary Artists”, the most superfluous explanation of a title: “..as in Tiger Licking Girl’s Butt (2004), in which, as the title implies, a tiger compulsively licks a girl’s behind.”  Interesting use of the word “implies” here.  Incidentally, no danger to either tiger or girl involved, since they are both clay models, used for animation by the above artist.

Final Version (I think) of “Ain’t Seen No Whiskey”:

And Version 1 of “Untitled, March 13th, 3.00am”

So called, because that’s when I did it, after a long dinner party involving a surfeit of anchovies and a ukelele.  Definitely had seen some whiskey on this occasion.

Read on over the next few entries “to see how the dialogue between the painting and myself develops”.

Listening to Dick Gaughan again, the “Green Linnet” (Napoleon, of course):

“I have roamed through the deserts of wild Abyssinia and could yet find no cure for my pain;

I’ll go and enquire at the isle of Saint Helena – but soft whispers murmur, ’tis vain.

Come tell me ye critics, come tell me in time,

What nations I must roam, my green linnet to find.

Was he slain at Waterloo, in France or on the Rhine?  No, he’s dead on Saint Helena’s bleak shore”

Blackpaint, Sunday evening coming down.

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