Blackpaint 119

Raoul de Keyser and Prunella Clough

The second pair of artists in my “spurious connections” series (see Blackpaint 117).  What you have to do is to Google the artists, go to Images and be startled by how right my generalisations are.

De Keyser is Belgian, born in 1930 and living; Clough was British, born 1919 and died in 1999.  So what do they have in common?  First, a sort of “bittiness”.  They both tend to produce works of fragmented, often floating shapes and both use the periphery of the paper or canvas, sometimes with the objects drifting out of the picture.

They both use a variety of materials and methods; Clough’s images are usually more hard-edged, precise; De Keyser’s are often fuzzier, rougher, more brushy – his are perhaps more playful.

They both combine the abstract and the figurative and both use mundane, everyday things and scenes – de Keyser, football pitches (he was a sports writer), dogs; Clough, plastic carrier bags, barbed wire fences, corroded water tanks, canal banks).

Finally, many of their works are comparable in size and their pictures contain a lot of space.  That’s about it – read the rest of this, have a look on Google and most importantly, comment to point out what rubbish I’m writing.  I know it is already, because my partner, a big fan of both artists, has already done so.


Just to return to this play for a moment (see Blackpaint 118), I have to point out some amusing ironies.  First, we were sitting in the upper circle surrounded by teenage boys and girls from, I would guess, two different schools, very “well-spoken” and, as it turned out,  perfectly well-behaved. 

The play then proceeded to present a sympathetic, even heroic portrait of a middle-aged caravan dweller who supplied drugs and drink to teenagers – lines of cocaine were snorted, cannabis was smoked, acid was taken on stage – and allowed them to sleep at his site.  He boasted graphically of having had sex with most of their mothers in earlier days.  The word “cunt” must have been used at least ten times (invariably getting a laugh from the cultured audience).  The view was expressed that teenagers would drink, take drugs and have sex from adolescence onwards anyway – at least they would in Wiltshire.

I’m wondering what attitude the members of the audience would adopt, should such a person really park his caravan near to their homes.  I for one would sign the petition; or more likely, I’d refuse, safeguarding my libertarian values, hoping all the time that the neighbours’ signatures would be enough to do the trick. 

Listened to the New St. George by the Albion Country Band

“Freedom was your mother, fight for one another,

Leave the factory, leave the forge,

And dance to the new St.George”.

Rooster would agree.



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