Blackpaint 603 – RA Summer Show, Black Power, Dunkirk

Nathalie Du Pasquier, Pace Gallery


This finished a week ago, but I thought it was worth including.  She does these LEGO type paintings, with odd inconsistencies in perspective that remind me a little of Duccio and a little of Escher.  I like the colours too; they make good photos – but after a while, strike you as a bit superficial.  But then, so do many (most?)artists…

RA Summer Show

Didn’t get in again – next year, I’m going to adopt my friend Chris Grice’s strategy, and just burn a £50 note on the entry day, to avoid the hassle of filling in the form.  My pick of the paintings below:


Arthur Neal


Christine Stark


Dan Perfect


Sean Scully

Apart from these, the usual suspects in evidence: Barbara Rae, Gillian Ayres, Basil Beattie, Elaine Cooper (she put it together this year), Michael CraigMartin, doing their usual thing.

Soul of a Nation – Art in the Age of Black Power (Tate Modern)

On first viewing, I paid too much attention to the propaganda stuff – the Black Panther posters, the work inspired by “the struggle”… some of it’s good; “Fred Hampton’s Door”, for instance, or Noah Purifoy’s “Watts Riot” (see below) – but I was put off, rather, by the partisan information on the walls.  Whoever wrote this seems happy to describe the killing of Panthers by the police as “murder” (without the quotation marks).  As I recall, the Panthers were an armed revolutionary group – indeed, they made a fetish of their weaponry and pseudo-military organisation – and included a number of convicted violent criminals in their membership.  Maybe the Tate has used the term only where it’s been legally proven – or maybe, as with the “Queer” exhibition, they are going with the radicals…

Anyway, on second viewing, much worthwhile art, my pick below:

David LaRue Johnson, D9 Flat 5th

The one on the left, wee bit Barnett Newman, maybe…


Betye Saar

she does these little “shrine” pieces, rather like Cornell, maybe, or that chap in Barcelona, what was his name?

Noah Purifoy, Watts Riot

Found piece, obviously…


John Outerbridge, Tribal Piece


Raymond Saunders, Jack Johnson

Reminiscent of Nathan Oliviera’s figures.

Also good are Romare Bearden‘s distorted photographic collages and the apocalyptic “American People Series #20:Die”, by Faith Ringgold – it has the energy of “Guernica”.

Dunkirk (dir. Leslie Norman, 1958)

After seeing the Nolan film, I thought I’d check out the original Dunkirk; it stands up really well and several scenes seem to “pre – echo” Nolan’s.  This one puts the evacuation in a wider context, switching between France and England.  John Mills is great as the corporal, reluctant leader of his little band of left-behinds and Richard Attenborough does his usual sound job as the selfish civvie businessman, turned reluctant hero.  “Reluctance” could be the theme – if it weren’t for Bernard Lee, stiffening the spines in the saloon bar and down at Sheerness…

It’s praying that does for Bernard Lee – the Stuka attacks while they are on their knees.

Sorry, rather brief and jejune, this week.  A new painting though…  Next time, Matisse at the RA and “The Encounter” at the NPG.


Merrie England






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2 Responses to “Blackpaint 603 – RA Summer Show, Black Power, Dunkirk”

  1. memadtwo Says:

    Saar is also reminiscent of some of Miriam Schapiro’s work.

  2. blackpaint Says:

    Yes I agree. I wasn’t familiar with Schapiro so thanks for the comment. All the best and keep reading and commenting!


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