Posts Tagged ‘Bob Glass’

Blackpaint 390 – Blind Gary, Sybil and The Magic Board-Rubber

April 18, 2013

Dobell’s at the Chelsea Space

Little gallery in the Chelsea Art School complex opposite Tate Britain.  Photos from the 40s, up to when Dobell’s moved to Tower Street.  I knew it best from then on, when Les Fancourt used to sell me Texas 50s blues on Krazy Kat pretty much every week, but some familiar faces in the photos, notably Jimmy Asman and Maureen from Asman’s in New Row (sadly, also gone).  Asman sold me my first jazz record, by Billy Banks’ Rhythmmakers in 1932; “the Hottest Jazz Ever Recorded”, the sleeve announces.

The original record racks are in the exhibition, and the Phil Seaman, Billy Butterfield and Dill Jones sleeves – I’m sure they were all in the rack the last time I looked in the shop!  Also those great bags with the record spines; I wish I’d kept some.  The famous shop was at 77 Charing Cross Road, hence 77 Records – see the Blind Gary Davis LP cover below (although I think my copy came from Dave Carey’s Swing Shop in Streatham – sadly, also long gone).

gary davis

Also in the photos, Ray Smith of Ray’s Jazz, which survives in Foyle’s of course, but without Ray or  Bob Glass, who knew everything about jazz and blues, most things about all other kinds of music – and everything, really.

Chelsea Interim MA Show

Worth a look;  there is –

A cardboard ocean liner crashing from heaven into a table (or maybe a chair);

Bright, fragmentary Japanese – style abstracts, stuck like jigsaw pieces to the wall;

Video of a woman bound like a mummy in coloured wool strands, which plays in colour on the floor and in B&W on an old TV on a stand;

Video of PP Arnold in B&W, playing on another TV (I liked this basically because I identified PP Arnold – “First Cut is the Deepest”, before Rod – without seeing the label);

A room full of detritus – Pyms bottles, rubbish, fractured polystyrene, dubious smears and puddles – with a curtain screen at one end, from which hip-hop music emerging.

Sir William Nicholson

Got a catalogue called “Making Waves” in Campbell’s by the Tate Mod for a quid; it had two fantastic compositions by the above, one of which, Portrait of Sybil Hart-Davis, is below.

william nicholson 3

It’s great, isn’t it?  And this one too –

william nicholson 2

I love the composition, the colours, the space in the Hart-Davis one…

Tate Britain

They’ve rearranged the pictures in some of the 20th century rooms and put some new stuff up;

There’s a sort of landscape room (although it’s got that huge Lytton Strachey portrait by Lamb and some other pics that are not really landscape) – I liked the three fibreglass moulds of earth and rock by Mark Boyle, the Tacita Dean lighthouse film, the Wilson Steer girl from behind, and the Spencer Gore.

There’s a huge Hoyland canvas in a dark pink on grey, just big expanses of colour with grey stripe and a sort of inset panel of paint; the colours throb.

Tony Cragg’s “Stack” – like a pile of palettes (although it’s not), with all sorts of matter wedged in – another jigsaw.

A nervy, colourful AbEx job from Fiona Rae, lots of jaggedness on white canvas.

My favourite Gillian Ayres breakfast – although her title is “Breakout”, I think.

Loads more – next time.

In The House

Director Francois Ozon, with Kristin Scott Thomas, Fabrice Luchini and Ernst Umhauer.  A lonely schoolboy insinuates himself into the home of a schoolmate as an unofficial maths tutor, but really to write about the family and maybe seduce the mother.  He writes up his visits and shows them to his literature teacher, who is himself seduced and starts to encourage and aid in the project.  Very funny, but quite slight – unlikely to stay with you long.

Two observations:

  •  It’s another example of that “turning the tables” thing that French directors seem to love – the boy’s obsession captures the teacher, and later transfers to KST, the teacher’s wife (there was another example on TV this week, a film from 2003 starring Daniel Auteuil, called Apres Vous).
  • The prose style of the boy’s regular reports on the family reminded me strongly of Camus’ Outsider.  Must re-read it.

The Magic Board rubber

In Arne Dahl’s The Blinded Man, episode one.  I thought I was seeing things, until Chris Grice mentioned it to me.  It rubs out – then it restores.

Man Hands

Also indebted to Chris for pointing out the Seinfeld episode in connection with last week’s discussion of the Holbein portrait.

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Blackpaint

18.04.13

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Blackpaint 268

April 21, 2011

Rose Hilton

In one of the Cork Street galleries I blogged about, a display by the above, now in her 80’s.  She was unable to keep up her painting while married to Roger Hilton; partly due to his opposition, partly to the attitudes of the time (woman looks after the house and kids, man gets on with the artistic creativity side of things).  She apparently accepted her role while he was alive – however, he died in 1975, so pity she waited this long.

The paintings are beautiful; glowing, saturated colours, pinks, oranges, reds, a sumptuous grey.  Mostly figurative, one abstract (I think) reminding me strongly of a Diebenkorn.  The painter who comes to mind most frequently is Bonnard, one nude very like Matisse, Roger in there occasionally with the charcoal line, Feininger in one townscape.  I loved these paintings and despite the fact that this was a commercial exhibition, there was no repetition fatigue such as marred the Hoyland and Cohen exhibitions.  Go and see these works if at all possible.

“Mixed” gallery 

I don’t know the name of this gallery, but you can recognise it by the big, yellow/orange Albers on the wall to the left of the glass doors.  As well as the Albers, there is a Donald Judd shelf in aluminium and wood(?) – sleek and shiny; a very uncharacteristic Dubuffet – no scraping; a standard Ben Nicolson (standard is good – I don’t go along with the Guardian critic who compares him unfavourably with Mondrian, because Mondrian was soulful and mystical and Nicolson wasn’t;  good job too, say I) and a bunch of sculptures by Bill Woodrow.  Several of these echo Rauschenberg’s “Gluts” – see Blackpaint last August – in that they are car parts; battered doors, bonnets, fenders attached in a little tableau to a soft sculpture – a black panther in one, an Indian Chief”s headdress in another, echoing his exhibit in the Tate Britain.

Miro at the Tate Modern

Went to this the day after it opened, in the evening.  Got in straight away, no queue, no struggling masses, despite the hype.

The first room contained a number of paintings that reminded me of patchwork quilts with deep blue skies above.  There were two yellow abstractions (although how abstract any of Miro’s work is, is open to question), one called the Hunter, I think; unmistakeable Miro, little microbes and other entities connected by lines, swimming about all over the place.

There were some collages with gouache, very effective, I thought, and a number of small, electric coloured tubular entities on black background, Daliesque –  hated them.

Several paintings linked by the theme of the Catalan peasant – one very much like Ernst, a washed-out blue and washed-out red for the hat; you’ll see what I mean.

A line of maybe 20 drawings in ink on white, potato head entities that reminded me of Jorn’s little people – line like Stirnberg.

Loads of those little ones with red, white and/or blue entities swarming on metallic looking grey-black backgrounds.  The famous one is the “Escape Ladder”.

Up to now in the exhibition, nothing that was new to me, apart from the quilt ones at the beginning.  Touches of Klee, Dali, Tanguy, Gorky and Ernst – Gorky as well in the long titles, eg the Girl with the blonde armpit etc.  Now, getting to the 60s and the influence of Abstract Expressionism and they get BIGGER.  Suddenly, three are filling a room.  The orange one with the thick black loop is the harbinger; then the burnt canvases, looking like metal remnants on their supports.  Twombly-like scribbles and meandering lines; the condemned cell one with the white paint tipped on and streaking down; the black fireworks at the end.  Needless to say, I loved all these, the usual precise little drawings on defined backgrounds having given way to size, roughness, violence – texture.  Not really what Miro is about though – Escape Ladder et al far more characteristic.

Have to say, it seems absurd to try to make a case for Miro as a committed political artist – he went to France for the duration of the Spanish Civil War, when volunteers from all over Europe were making their way (with difficulty) to Spain to fight for the Republic – and in some cases, for Franco.  Then, when WW2 came along, he relocated to Spain and managed to work under Franco’s rule.  One poster done in France and one painting in 1974, recording (protesting?) the execution of Puig Antich isn’t much.

I think to call Miro “political”  is a bit of an insult to Ai Weiwei, a truly political artist, still missing in China, and whose work remains on display in the Tate, still with no comment from the gallery on his current plight.

Ray Smith

RIP Ray, of Ray’s Jazz, late of Shaftesbury Avenue.  Many happy Saturday afternoons spent there, listening to and sometimes buying, some arcane stuff on the advice of my mate Bob Glass.  It’s where I was educated, really.  Now Bob and Ray are gone – left us here to carry on.

Blackpaint

20.04.11

Blackpaint 122

April 27, 2010

Tanning and Carrington

What I should have pointed out yesterday, once I had cleared up my own confusion about these two artists, is that they are both living:  Carrington in Mexico, aged 93 and Tanning in the USA, 100 years in August.

As to their work, Tanning does little girls, giant cockroach/grasshoppers in deserted ballrooms, with giant artificial-looking flowers, flights of birds that attack windows and fall as fishes.  Carrington does elongated, wild-haired women (self portraits, I  think), sometimes naked, often beset by white horses and once, attended by a strange half-hyena, half-zebra creature – or maybe it’s wearing its ribs on the outside…

Paul Feiler

I got a fine little Austin/Desmond catalogue from the shop near the Tate Modern, of works by this artist.  Born 1917,  a St.Ives artist who, for some reason, did not get a Tate paperback written about him.  He uses a palette of milky, curdled whites, ochre, browns, greys, blues and blacks.  His surfaces are often scraped and nubbly, his motifs are scored arcs, ovals, circles and stripes, always scratchy and rough.  Some works are semi-figurative; a window frame, for instance.  They have place names mostly, like Porthgwarra and Gwithian.  William Scott compared him to de Stael and in one painting, “Botallack, grey and black”, you can see what he means.  There are some smartly executed little figure sketches too.  It’s fascinating and instructive to see how much variation and beauty can be wrung from a fairly restricted palette and range of marks.

Jock McFadyen

Another cheap book from the same place.  Born in 1950, a youngster compared to today’s other features, McFadyen lives and works in the East End and does scenes of life in the area in the 80s.  A line of prostitutes lean against  wall, three hard-looking men with a forlorn pit bull, a one-legged woman on a crutch, a couple of girls in a park, waiting for “the Cortina Boys”, graffiti, yobs, market scenes.  And a portrait of Harry Diamond, the photographer, dancing to jazz, no doubt, in “Paul Tonkin’s prefab”.  Harry Diamond was known both for his great photography and for having been a model several times for Lucian Freud.  That’s him in Freud’s portrait of the young man next to an aspidistra.  I can attest that McFadyen’s portrait is excellent, having met Harry several times in the last ten years through my dear friend, Bob Glass.

Listening, appropriately, to the Duke Ellington 40’s band, the so-called Blanton band, doing “Harlem Air-Shaft” and “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”

Blackpaint

27.04.10