Blackpaint 575 – The Downs, the Dance, the Serpent and the Spitfire


Revisits only this week, on the exhibition front:

Paul Nash (Tate Britain) again – I noticed how Nash often places objects in close-up and often out of perspective with surrounding features (tennis ball, leaves, mushrooms, a cleaver stuck in a wood block).  This achieves a surreal effect, as it were, without anything actually “surreal” going on.  Also, how the clouds sometimes resemble flints or lumps of chalk.  Banal comments, I know; best I can do today…

Nash, Paul; Event on the Downs; Government Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/event-on-the-downs-28930

Abstract Expressionism at the RA –  again – anything else to say?  I spent more time with Clyfford Still;  the “torn strip” effect is sometimes painted, my partner tells me – that is to say, the white bits that resemble the edges of torn posters.  Sounds rather contrived for an AbEx, it seems to me.

still-1

Ab Ex discussion – We attended a discussion on the exhibition, in which three current abstract painters took part: Selma Parlour, Lisa Denyer and Gabriel Hartley.  The most common term used was “materiality”; there was much talk about which was more important,  process or outcome (both, not surprisingly) and several artists to watch were mentioned – Tomma Abst was one, Laura Owen another.  Someone asked from the floor whether Abstract Expressionism would have happened without World War II: the artists acknowledged the importance of the European refugees,  but speculated about home-grown American traits such as the huge landscapes of the “Sublime” tendency.

Three (mostly) B&W films:

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, 2015) – echoes of Apocalypto, Aguirre, Wrath of God (especially in the mission scenes),  and Fitzcarraldo. The relationship between the Europeans and the native peoples occasionally brings to mind Dersu Uzala; at the end , there are scenes of drug-induced hallucination which, astonishingly, remind one of Solaris (Tarkovsky’s, that is).  Colour makes an entrance here.

serpent

 

A Canterbury Tale (1944) – weirdness of story, woodenness of acting, especially the American sergeant, who seeks to be reading or reciting his lines – he was a real US soldier, not an actor, to be fair; the sinister glue man, Colpeper  – but the light, the scenery, the history, the hawk becoming the Spitfire…  Like most Powell and Pressburger films, it seems to have a magical quality that compels you to watch, despite the feyness.  I think it must be the cinematography, by Erwin Hillier.

canterbury-1

Possibly the most uncomfortable scene in the film, in which Alison Smith (Sheila Sim, later Lady Attenborough) sits far too close to the self-righteous and sinister Colpeper, the secret glue smearer and unbeknownst to her, her attacker.  Colpeper is played by Eric Portman.

 

canterbury2

Soon to be a Spitfire…

 

The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1957) – direct line to Corman (Masque of the Red Death), Ken Russell (medieval squalor and hysteria), Monty Python (same) – and any film which ends with dancers in a line against the horizon (Fellini’s “81/2”, Pina..)

The real hero is not Von Sydow’s Block, but his squire, Jon.  Amusing to see Block eating wild strawberries…  Death resembles Gielgud.

seal2

Max von Sydow (the knight, Block)

 

seal-1

Dance of Death

 

gunnar-bjornstrand

Gunnar Bjornstrand (Jon)

 

Planet Earth II

Staggering sequences of course, but the constant music was driving me nuts – until I thought of the Subtitles and Mute functions.  I also find the quality of the photography unsettling – the way it’s in focus throughout the shot, not just the foreground.  I’m just old school, I guess.

Three new pictures to finish, on wood panels:

appelish

The Spheres 1

disharmony-of-the-spheres-2

Spheres 2

spheres-3

Spheres 3

Blackpaint

11/11/16

 

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One Response to “Blackpaint 575 – The Downs, the Dance, the Serpent and the Spitfire”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Took your advice to get to the RA early – pleasantly bearaable for an hour, until it started getting crowded. Astonishing show – like you I’ll have to revisit several times – actually laughed aloud with shock to see such a load of old Pollocks – never seen that many in one place before, even in NYC. Quite dazed on leaving two hours later: stunned by the Lee Krasners which I’d never seen before. Mind, also laughed aloud at some of the cringe-inducing annotations, which are in standard Overwrought Gallery Hyperbole – WTF is a Majestic Empyrean Void? Even bought the catalogue, and there is no higher praise!

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