Archive for September, 2022

Blackpaint 706 – Emin, Locke and Avery and Me

September 20, 2022

A long, long time since last blog, during which time I’ve felt unable to write anything of interest. It may be that I’m right to feel that way, but I’m going to give it another go – what’s the harm? Consequently, the shows I mention have been on for some time, so you may well have seen them already. So – sorry! and thanks for reading, if you do.

RA Summer Show – it finished in August, sorry

I breezed through this weeks ago – it was so rammed with people I was unable to take much note of the pieces. My favourites among those I did notice were these two

Flowery People (didn’t get artist unfortunately)

Reminder of Jeff Koons’ giant flowery cat outside the Guggenheim Bilbao and perhaps more closely of those Thames Day events Ken Livingstone used to put on on the South Bank some years (decades?) ago. There was always a presence or two like this prancing around…..

Tracey Emin

Despite the scorn Tracey seems to engender in the life drawing customers at Putney School of Art and no doubt in other similar classes, I really like her ongoing series of blood drenched, crawling, writhing female figures, done in those broken, scrawly lines. Remind me a bit of Roy Oxlade, stylistically.

Hew Locke at Tate Britain

Locke’s dark carnival parade is a stupendous achievement, when you consider the range of skills required to put it all together; carpentry, tailoring, sculpture (notably cardboard) , costumery – couldn’t have done it all himself, surely. But even if he “just” conceived and designed it and had a bunch of assistants to do the specialised work – it’s still pretty good. I think there’s a video in the display which explains all. I didn’t watch it so I don’t know. Very bad for a blogger, I agree – go and see for yourselves, before 16th October, when it comes down.

Milton Avery – American Colourist, at the RA until 16th October 2022

The paper leaflet that accompanies the exhibition points to Avery’s friendship with Abstract Expressionists, notably Mark Rothko, Gottlieb and Barnett Newman. It says “Through his association with key exponents of Abstract Expressionism, Avery’s early paintings played an influential role in how the movement developed and unfolded.”

This seems to me to be a very large claim, for which there is little evidence in this exhibition. A couple of beach scenes, simplified into lines of colour vaguely suggest Rothko; the brownish (rather depressing) reds he sometimes uses find echoes in Barnett Newman’s Zips – but beyond that, I can’t see a connection.

The bright red hat on the maroon background and the way the figures are grouped vaguely suggest Sickert, a little – maybe?

Cartoon-y girl; love the way her foot’s tucked awkwardly underneath her – and her little head and brown face.

Surely that’s Max Beckmann at the head of the table – looks like him to me anyway…

Self portrait with red ears (obviously).


Oystercatcher – maybe American ones are slightly different.

I like this one – it reminds me very strongly of similar paintings by Malevich at a particular point in his work.

Another cartoonish one – the cone shaped figure, the black sea, red/brown sand – striking.

Cartoon from Private Eye some weeks ago

Sums it up – see the Hogarth exhibition reviewed a couple of blogs ago.

Figure Studies

To finish, some works I sold at my last exhibition “Figure Studies”, at the Sprout Gallery Furzedown , South London. I sold better than ever before – and, as always, felt sort of flat and empty afterwards.

Eco Worrier

Ghost of Autumn

The World Turned Upside Down 1

Red Recliner


20th September 2022