Blackpaint 633 – Joe Bradley, Brent Wadden, Bellini, Mantegna and Me


Joe Bradley, “Day World”,  at the Gagosian W1

I’m sorry to say that it’s too late to see these great paintings at the Gagosian – the exhibition finished a week or so ago.  Even so, I think it’s worth putting the photos up, so readers might look Bradley’s work up online.

As can be seen, they are rough-surfaced in places and generally  “painterly” – hate the jargon – one or two resemble street art with their broken, spattered surfaces.  I think they have that shimmery quality that some of Rothko’s have and the bright palette of, maybe, Albert Irvin?  Maybe that’s pushing it, but I really like them.

 

Hard Time

 

High Rise

 

Black Peter

 

Day Rite

All the works are dated 2018; apart from “Hard Time” (and the drawings I haven’t mentioned), they are all over 200 cms each way.

 

Brent Wadden at the Pace Gallery until 10th January

By way of total contrast – well, actually, they are similar in size and all done this year – are these pieces, which are “handwoven fibers, wool, cotton and acrylic on canvas”.  I didn’t like them at first, thought they were well-crafted but anaemic – but I find they have grown on me.  I like the awkward, crooked join-ups in the middle and the way that the one at the bottom looks as if it’s painted with wide sweeps of emulsion and scraped a bit with a …scraper thing.

 

 

 

 

They are all titled “Untitled”.  Bradley was born in 1975 in Maine, now living in New York;  Wadden is slightly younger (1979) and was born in Nova Scotia, now living in Berlin and Vancouver.

Bellini and Mantegna at the National Gallery

Bellini Resurrection

It turns out that that they were brothers in law, Mantegna a few years older.  Giovanni Bellini was influenced by Mantegna at first; the latter was sort of self-made, while Bellini’s family were painting “royalty” in Venice.

The early, smaller ones (Georgione size) by both painters had those weirdly shaped, sharply defined rocky landscapes; Bellini later gave up on deserts and reverted to lush Italian landscape backgrounds instead.

Some paintings, by both, are startlingly bad.  A Bellini piece, “Feast of the Gods”, looks like a bunch of drunken peasants, one with a shiny comedy helmet; the women have the serene Bellini faces – see his Madonnas, usually that teenage babysitter model – but strangely distorted, one with a flattened nose…  Another, early one has a really unconvincing desert backdrop like stage scenery.  And that Christ in the painting above, emerging from the tomb and shooting straight up in the air with no muscular movement, like a cardboard cutout.  Worse, though, is a Mantegna of Christ being lifted up by two angels, they look like a singing trio.

But – some are fantastic.  There is a beautiful St Jerome by Bellini (again, Georgione comes to mind) and the Loredan.  This latter is oil on poplar and is rich and gleaming; some of the others, on canvas, are rather dry surfaced.  As for Mantegna, there are three of those huge ones of Caesar’s triumphal march that were in the Charles I exhibition at the RA a while back.  I like the one with the elephants and the grinning horse.  Much more to say, but I want to publish this before Christmas.

Venice Marathon October 2018

That’s me in the Vietcong headband, with my number one son, about to finish in the rather unusual prevailing conditions.  Two more sons, somewhere ahead in the water.

 

Two recent pictures to end with-

 

Still Life with Blue Vase on Fire

Blackpaint

 

Mystery  Train to Nowheresville on the Lost Highway

Blackpaint

24.12.18

 

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: