Posts Tagged ‘Appel’

Blackpaint 207

October 15, 2010

Dexter Dalwood

I’ve been looking at the new book of Dalwood’s work.  A wizard wheeze, doing crime scenes and major events as empty rooms or places.  It ticks the social comment box – if you call a painting “Yalta” or “Birth of the UN” or “Sunny von Bulow”, it doesn’t matter what you put in it, critics will see some social or political relevance there; I don’t think there usually is any.  The Turner Prize entry, “Dr. Kelly”, for example – a tree on a hilltop, against an intense night-time blue, big silver moon – it says loneliness, maybe despair, to me; but it doesn’t constitute a critique.  Maybe having a picture named after a scandalous tragedy involving the Iraq war in the Turner Prize exhibition will be enough to gain Dalwood a lead; who knows?  

It doesn’t have to be, of course, as long as the picture is good and interesting; I’m just suggesting it helps, by giving the work another (spurious) dimension.  Good luck to him – an idea that can run, and already has for some years.

Dalwood’s paintings contain little cameos of other painters’ work;  De Kooning, for example, in the UN picture; Bacon on the wall in “Klaus von Bulow”; and Sunny as Millais’ Ophelia in “Sunny von Bulow”. 

Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”

For some reason, I’d thought that M. painted this straight after finishing the ceiling in 1512; I suppose I just thought you would – “ceiling done, now for the walls” sort of thing.  but  no – he did a lot of other stuff and came back in 1536, 24 years later when he was 60 years old, to do the huge fresco for a different Pope, Paul III.  It took him until 1541.

Later, following the Council of Trent, some of his figures had breech cloths painted in to cover their genitals – but the concealments look  pretty random to me.  Why cover some members and leave others on display?  I can understand why they would want Jesus under wraps (but his winding sheet seems to curl round fairly naturally, so presume that was M.’s own work) -but there seems to me no reason behind the other choices.  Can anyone help?

Ai Weiwei

Sad news that the seeds are now out of bounds; now that I think of it, there was a thin mist of dust hanging above the “beach” when I was there.  Health and (choke) safety gone (cough) mad, if you ask me (wheeze and collapse).

CoBrA

There urgently needs to be a documentary made about the above group and their associates; Jorn, Appel, Pederson, Constant etc.  I can’t remember ever seeing anything about them on television or film.  Same goes for Per Kirkeby, who after all, is still alive.  Tons of art on British telly at the moment, but its mostly crap, or about huge names (Picasso, Matisse, Warhol); we know all that.

Corryvreckan by Blackpaint

15.10.10

Blackpaint 186

September 3, 2010

Tate St. Ives “Object, Gesture, Grid” (cont.)

The “Gesture” room presumably refers to Abstract Expressionism and its St.Ives co-abstractionists (but see previous blogs on whether Lanyon, for example,  can truly be called an abstract painter; its a convenience term).

Appel

First, a great Appel called “Amorous Dance”, the movement vaguely recalling that long jazzy Pollock in the Tate Modern.  Pollocky looping lines on basic grey, but close up the usual swirl of multi-coloured ropes of paint, so thick they look like waves and hummocks.  The painting’s under glass, maybe to hold the paint in.  It looks dingy close up, but clean and beautiful from 8 feet away.

Feiler

Paul Feiler, the only living artist here, I think – that must be an odd feeling – white, grey, black and brown, scraped surface, disc, recalling the Mellis next door.  The Feiler is great but has spawned a host (argh! cliche!) of imitations in little art galleries around the country.

Pollock

“Yellow Islands”, squares of yellow, peeping through swirls of white and black, on raw canvas(?).  At the edges, the black has blotted in to the canvas like a Frankenthaler.  A big blotch of black in the centre has run down.  Lose yourself in the layers, working out what he did first.

Rothko

One of those huge black and red arch things that he did for the Seagram, and that were on display in a sort of inner sanctum in the Tate Modern a while ago.  Out of that context, I think it’s empty.  Controversial, I know.

Bryan Wynter

“Riverbed”, cream, grey, red, interlocking key-like shapes, one of which, hugely enlarged, I’m sure I saw in Barbara Hepworth’s garden later.  Also from the Tate M.

Sandra Blow 

“Vivace”, huge white canvas with a pot of paint apparently flung at it to make a big “V” shape, recalling a simplified bird in flight.  This splosh has been allowed to run down in thin trickles and then the canvas has been turned on its side.  Blow has then attached collaged strips of different colours to the right hand side.

Patrick Heron

A very Joan Mitchell- like painting – in her later, Monet-ish manner.  Dabs of bright colour, some allowed to trickle, all over canvas; then partly obscured by white, snow-like blobs.

Hans Hoffman

“Nulli Secundus” – deep red on black “floor”, cream/green toothpaste sweeps downwards.  Blocks of fizzing powder blue at the top.  how does this all work? It shouldn’t but it does.

Twombly 

A sculpture!  It’s small, like all the others; a foot or 18″ tall.  It’s bronze, and like a cannon, or the juggernaut – never would have guessed Twombly.

Lanyon

“Wreck”.  It’s like Noah’s Ark, resting on top of the soundhole of a guitar – you can see the strings.  Sea greens and lemon yellow – shouldn’t  work, but it does (that should be the title of this exhibition).

David Smith

Nearly forgot David Smith – fantastic sculpture, like a dream farm implement… What do I do with this?

de Kooning

“The Visit” – always save the best to last.  A pink woman, with her legs wide open, sweeping, gestural brushstrokes at the top, those pastel greens and yellows and red splatters…. he’s just the boss, surely.

Can’t stomach writing about minimalism tonight.  Back tomorrow, keep reading.

Listening to What Made Milwaukee Famous, Jerry Lee Lewis:

“It’s late, and she is waiting,

And I know I should go home;

But every time I start to leave, they play another song;

Then someone buys another round, and wherever drinks are free,

What made Milwaukee famous has made a loser out of me …”

Old shit one, but I like it.

Blackpaint

03.08.10

Blackpaint 181

August 24, 2010

Blog

Sorry, its going to be  short today as I’m  trying to get a painting right – oils are great, make everything brighter and sharper, but they’re thick and sticky so I find I need to pretty them up here and there to make them look a bit more intentional, not just a tangle of colours I’ve splurged randomly onto the canvas and rolled around in (although I’ve done a bit of that too).

Louisiana

Not the US state, but the art gallery in Copenhagen.  Was there three summers ago and it was the best, with Guggenheim Bilbao, that I’ve been to outside London.  Anyway, in Hay on Wye, found an old 1995 catalogue for  Louisiana for a tenner.  It’s got the following, which I recommend you look up on Google as usual and give yourself a high quality visual experience (I was going to say “treat”, but I’m avoiding cliches like the plague, at this moment in time):

Pierre  Alechinsky

Belgian, member  of CoBrA, look at “Noise of the Fall” (Bruit de la Chute).  like Bram van Velde matched with de Kooning, it has a little fringe of black and white waterfall pics at its base, like those little scenes you get at the bottom of altar pieces – he did that often.  Compare his with Gorky’s; I like Alechinsky’s, but maybe overfamiliar with Gorky’s, which is in the Tate (but not currently on the wall).

Egill Jacobsen

More CoBrA, I think – “Mask”, bright pink/orange, curves and curls, reminds  me of Constant but also a bit of Gillian Ayres.

Jorn

OK, this is really all about CoBrA – well, it IS in Copenhagen – check out “Dead Drunk Danes”.  Strange title; surely the Danes are a sober people?

Appel

love those rough black grids and lines, scrawled over  and over into the red – a crude, crude beauty every time.

Ejler Bille

Don’t even know if this is a man or woman.  Grey-green grounds, rough surface like pebble-dash, great, looping lines, forming circles and birds.

That’s enough to be going on with – more tomorrow.

Dog Star

Blackpaint

24.08.10

Blackpaint 63

February 9, 2010

Roni Horn

I was thinking that what the Van Doesburg exhibition lacked, apart from green, was a serene, white, minimalist show across the way that you could rest your eyes in, after all those loud primary colours.  When the Constructivist show was on a while ago, Rodchenko and  Popova and all those triangles, there was the Roni Horn performing that function – as well as provoking thought, visual pleasure, etc., of course!  That Icelandic girl’s face, repeated over and over (I know with slight changes, but the repetition is what stayed with me), the water surfaces and the small drawings on white walls just what was needed.  And vice versa, I suppose, if you did the Horn first.

Reading that paragraph over, I am rather ashamed of it – it reads like Alan Bennett without the humour: “it’s always nice to see some lovely white walls and attractive faces after all that loud colour”.  But there is some truth in it.   If you Google images for,say, Gillian Ayres or even more, Asger Jorn or Appel, you find that they are too much en masse; too much colour, too busy – they give you indigestion of the eyes. One at a time, though –  fantastic.

Actually, looking round the room, I’m getting the same from my stuff – too many colours and shapes, too promiscuous.  I need to do some cool, clean blacks, whites, browns, greys, something classy that I can put in a steel frame.  Bit of the old rain-soaked, cold, misty British restraint needed.

Listening to Special Agent by Sleepy John Estes;

“Special agent, special agent, put me off close to some town (*2)

I got to do some recordin’, and I ought to be recordin’ right now”.

Blackpaint

09.02.10

Blackpaint 62

February 8, 2010

Little shop near the Tate Modern

Don’t know what it’s called – its opposite that huge brown, metallic thing that looks like the spaceship in “Alien”.  they sell old catalogues from Christies etc. for £1 and £2 and I got some beautiful repros dead cheap in this way.  Amongst them were pictures of the following works, which you should Google and wonder at:

Karel Appel, Les Enfants 1951; Euan Uglow, Jane, Clapham Common 1951; Peter Kinley, Studio Interior No 115 1959, Sandra Blow, Composition 1958 (oil, sand and grit on board!), Peter Lanyon, Gusting 1961 and Fly Away 1961; Asger Jorn, Lac dans la petite foret and Black Lac Blues (no dates given).  There is also a Franz Kline in black, red and a sharp emerald green, entitled – Untitled.

This last illustrates the annoying thing about artists who call things “Untitled” or “Composition II, no.143”.  It may preserve their integrity, avoiding, as it does, the implication that a painting must look like something or have reference to some place or particular time – but its really hard to differentiate them, if you’ve done 200 “Untitled”s.

Anyway, I hope there are images on the net, or you’ll just have to enjoy the evocative names.

Painting

Having real trouble with latest figurative stuff – trying to combine “fractured surface” experiments with figures.  It’s funny, I thought it would be easy to “combine” abstract and figurative (a contradiction, of course, but what the hell), but its not.  “One or the other; you can’t have both”, they seem to be saying to me.  Better have another whiskey and see what they say then.

Listening to “I’ll be seeing you” by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, Sept. 1942

“I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places…”

Blackpaint

08.02.10

Blackpaint 42

January 18, 2010

Royal Academy Exhibition

I thought I’d have a crack at this, this year, never having tried before.  I didn’t realise they had themes – this years is as follows:

” Raw”

Selectors “wish  to ‘cut to the chase’ and take a look behind the exterior of the pristine; to address the properties of the materials and the working finger prints left in pursuit of curiosity. Raw can be stark, natural, unrefined, honest, bleak, tender and new.”  They want ” candour beyond disguise”.

Well, I should have no problem with “stark, natural, unrefined” and “bleak” – “tender and new” might be a bit of a stretch though – and as for honest… 

It got me thinking about which artists’ work might fit these descriptors.  I would have said Franz Kline; his stuff is certainly stark, and some might say bleak – but then it turns out to have been highly considered and prepared, so you couldn’t call it unrefined.  Other “gestural” painters – Wols, Mitchell, Pollock – sometimes have the appearance, at first sight, of rawness or spontaneous improvisation; but a few minutes consideration are enough to reveal the care, planning, and controlled delicacy of most of their work. 

The painters I would choose are Karel Appel, Dubuffet and (some, but by no means all) Asger Jorn.  Some of Dubuffet’s stuff appears quite literally scraped raw – for instance, the one in Tate Modern where you pick out the figures – and that goes also for the two Jorns, “Proud Timid One” with its scraped surface, and the other one with the little globular people looking out at you.  Virtually all of Appel’s fabulous paintings are great swirls of thickly applied, fresh, blinding colour.  Giacometti drawings are another example, I suppose, in the sense that they are worked and reworked and built up, and of course, Auerbach.

There is a problem here of course, in the sense that these artists produce “raw” work in appearance – the “fingerprints” are left in, the properties of the materials are exploited – but you couldn’t really call their work raw in any other sense.  Auerbach’s, famously,  is very “cooked”, gone over and over again, erased and redone umpteen times.  Again, we see that an “unrefined” appearance is often very deceptive – and these terms that seem so straightforward at first, are quite problematic.

Listening to Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, doing “Begin the Beguine”;

“So don’t let them begin the Beguine, don’t let them play;

Let the spark that was once a fire remain an ember…”

Hard, raw swing with brash, blaring brass and a hard -edged, yearning, perfect vocal.

Blackpaint

18.o1.10