Blackpaint 689 – Back to the Tate and Shouty


Haven’t written for a long time; hours in hospitals waiting for my partner to get her bloods and platelets and chemo doesn’t allow for much in the way of art appreciation. Having said that, we did encounter a real prime piece of modern abstract art in the basement of the Macmillan Centre in Huntley Street; A big Gillian Ayres behind a glass screen, with a bunch of red plastic chairs in front of it. As soon as the chairs were all empty, I took photos of it. The staff regarded me quizzically as I did so.

Actually, it doesn’t look like an abstract at all, but rather like a phalanx of fruit-studded phantoms approaching to break through the glass and engulf the seated outpatients awaiting their transfusions and tests. I assume Ayres was commissioned to do this piece for the cancer centre; wonder what the brief was. I love it though.

Turner at Tate Britain

There’s a rather massive Turner exhibition on at TB at the moment; despite having seen several Turner shows and having the Taschen and the Phaeton, there were still several that were new to me. The old familiars are there: Temeraire, Napoleon, the shipwreck, the slave ship, the Gothard Pass, the train chasing the hare in the rain, the storm at the harbour mouth, the funeral ship – and so on. Below are a few that caught my attention;

Think this is a detail of one of his whaling paintings. Who else was painting like this at the time (1840s, I think)?

Another detail – the disembarkation of Louis Philippe. Even more – what’s the word? – indistinct, obscured, shrouded…

Earlier, more conventional (understatement!) looks almost Dutch genre to me. Easy to see how many farriers lost their teeth…

A visitor contemplates a sea battle. Where does that stance come from? You never see younger people stand with their hands behind their backs. Is it military? A way of avoiding putting your hands in your pockets, maybe?

The “Shouty” is what my friends and I call the Regency Cafe, just round the corner from the Tate Britain; I won’t explain why, but it will be obvious to the new customer. It’s where that scene in “Layer Cake” takes place, when the gangster gets a pot of scalding tea tipped on his face. Always full at lunchtime, but somehow you always get a seat, I think because they don’t let you bag a table before you order. I recommend steak and kidney pudding, chips and peas with gravy.

To Be Honest…

This is everywhere, all the time; TV adverts, politicians, footballers, commentators, comedians – I think this phrase, with its variants such as “If I’m honest..”, is chasing “on a daily basis” and “at this moment in time” very hard. Why? The tendency to share, to be transparent, open about your feelings, the idea that it’s somehow good for “mental health” (itself becoming a cliche). And people seem to buy it. As Bob Monkhouse said memorably, “Sincerity is the biggest thing; if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Anyway, I’ve rededicated myself to avoiding cliches, from this moment in time going forward. I’m determined to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Here are some of my recent pictures:

Waggle Dance

Ghosts of Autumn

OK that’s it for now – determined to publish tonight. I still haven’t got the hang of the new WordPress tec and probably never will. But I will keep trying, going forward. If I’m honest,,,

Blackpaint

14/06/21

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