Blackpaint 531- Loker, Blacklock and Taking No Prisoners


John Loker, Flowers Gallery, W1

Sorry to say I missed the boat on this one; the exhibition ended on Saturday.  Nevertheless, I thought the paintings were spectacular and deserved an airing on these pages.  They are acrylic and it looks to me as if he has used some sort of multi-pronged marker or scraper to interlayer thin lines of different colours across the surface of some; in one painting, the colour mix, seen from the side, appears to be floating above the canvas.  they are big, by the way; 200*215 cm, that sort of size.

loker1

Space is a Dangerous Country – RE-entry, 2014

 

loker2

Space is a Dangerous Country – Columbia/Disaster, 2015

No doubt about the nature of the content, then – which brings me to the next artist:

 

George Blacklock, “Colour and Abstraction” (Crowood Press, 2015)

blacklock

Ancestral Voices V

I went to his book launch last week at Chelsea College of Art, where he is the current dean, I think.  He was an engaging speaker – it was one of those set-ups where he was “in conversation” with another lecturer, followed by questions from the floor.  One piece of very sound advice to artists; don’t be modest with other artists (or prospective buyers), spending time telling them what you don’t like about your own pictures – you’ll put them off.  Tell them what’s good, instead.  Sounds obvious and probably only necessary to say to British artists; I know I’ve done it and so has my partner.

Anyway, from both the book and the talk, it’s clear that Blacklock isn’t really an abstract artist at all, though he looks like one at first glance.  His images are abstracted from real world images – Michelangelo’s Pietas, a banjo player, the US flag – and in that sense, are representational.  He is a big fan of de Kooning, using DK’s famous “slipping glimpser” phrase as the title of a joint exhibition with Gary Oldman in Mexico.  Many of de Kooning’s works are representational -though “abstracted” – the Women of course, but also the light on the water ones, Villa Borghese and so on.

Although he said he didn’t want the book to be a “How to”, that’s pretty much how it’s turned out, with sections on perspective, Fibonacci series, Golden Section, materials etc. and exercises for the aspiring abstract painter. Well worth the twelve quid, though, for Blacklock’s own terrific works.

The Return, Zvyagintsev (2003)

After an unexplained 12 year absence, a father (Konstantin Lavronenko) turns up again in the lives of his wife and two children, receives the ministrations of the unquestioning woman and administers family life with terse instructions.  He takes the two boys off on a “fishing trip” to a deserted island, suppressing any dissent with instant, sweeping, casually delivered executive action.  Where has he been, what is he seeking on the island?  That’s for him to know – the boys must simply obey and learn.

As in “The Banishment” (2007), which also features Lavronenko, Zvyagintsev seems concerned with Russian masculinity, especially how men behave with their wives and children.  Russia comes across as the most ingrained patriarchal society, even as, with “The Banishment”, the story is borrowed from the USA.  So, Zvyagintsev does tortured and torturing fathers and husbands, Tarkovsky does crazed or slightly touched seers (Stalker and The Sacrifice) and Sokurov does – something else.  I’ll come back to him.

Sicario (2015) dir. Denis Villeneuve

Unrelentingly grim and violent; US v the Mexican drug cartels; hanging, beheaded bodies, casual shooting throughout, Del Toro “doing what has to be done”, Emily Blunt being ridiculously obstructive with her prissy legal scruples – towards the end, I thought I was watching “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”.  Not seen it?  Far superior – Warren Oates and Sam Peckinpah, a difficult to beat combination.

Exterminating Angels

angel1

Angel I

 

angel2

Angel 2

 

angel3

Angel 3 (WIP)

Blackpaint

8/02/16

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