Posts Tagged ‘Cara Dillon’

Blackpaint 311 – Fellini at Skegness, cont.

December 8, 2011

Butlin’s Folk Festival

Last blog, I was rambling on about the Fellini-esque nature of the views at Skegness Butlins – the white tent, the beach, the groups of wanderers – thinking that Butlins and Fellini would make a nice, incongruous pairing for a title.  Nothing incongruous about it at all, of course; Fellini’s films are full of popular entertainment, wandering show people, circus acts, clowns, brass bands…

City of Women

Mastroianni in the above, bewildered, harrassed, pushed downstairs by revolting (but mostly very attractive) women, a strong reminder of Milo O’Shea as Bloom in Ulysses; apologetic, trying to excuse the inexcusable, guilty by nature of his existence – just perfect.  Great scene in which the burly( but oddly alluring) stoker woman tries to have sex with him in the polytunnel and is prevented by the arrival of her mother.

Cara Dillon

I said last time that she was like a gutsier Alison Krauss – since then, I’ve bought some of her records, and only the last, Hill of Thieves, could be called gutsy in any shape or form; beautiful, but wistful.  But live, she’s a different, more powerful proposition. 

Albert Irvin

Strange how you suddenly “get eyes” for a picture, or a painter, if they pursue a distinctive style;  it’s happened to me with Irvin.  I used to think his bright, almost fluorescent colours and lack of “painterly” texture were somehow shallow and trivial.  Someone sent me a postcard of one of his pictures a year or so ago and it’s been on the mantelpiece all that time, slowly (it seems) sinking in – and now I love it.

Gesamtkunstwerk at Saatchi

Free exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in Kings Road; it’s so good, I’m going to take a couple of blogs over it.  First…

Andre Butzer

Like an angry child’s parody of Asger Jorn; the gnome-like faces with big ears, but crudely sketched on the surface, graffiti style, not scratched and sculpted out of the background, like Jorn.  Those flat, jarring colours, especially the green, like a Basquiat with no taste.  They’re huge, of course – great.  That’s three of them, then there were another three with beautiful, clotted, light grey surfaces, over and across which, he’d slid a black-laden brush in geometric shapes – slidey triangles, like Bram Van Velde, only more straight – and other colours too.  These ones were more conventionally beautiful.

Isa Genzken 

A panel made up of maybe four large mirrors, plastered across with fluorescent tape like repairs or crime scene tape; rusty red paint running down, photo-posters of a Leonardo painting and several Michelangelo sculptures stuck on it (photos, not sculptures).  Again, great, but I don’t know why; something to do with modern life and traditional culture, street v. salon, Baader – Meinhof in there somewhere, probably..

Her other exhibits were assemblages on little podia, the most memorable built round a big artificial palm plant, with a large beer glass wearing a hat.  It looked like a bizarre machine.  She often uses little toy soldiers and cowboys, dolls – one with a scorched face – as in horror film cliches, toys/children, vulnerable, innocent/sisnister somehow.

In fact, several of the artists use toys in their work.  As well as the innocent/sinister thing, there is the glamour of a brightly coloured plastic toy – it can set off a drab assemblage of diverse objects like Turner’s red spot on in the London Bridge painting.

This is how my De Kooning type painting is progressing (or not); see last blog.  Final version in next one – something for readers to look forward to.


8th December 2011

Blackpaint 310 – No Mud, just Clean, Singing Colours

December 5, 2011

De Kooning

Sometimes painters just cut through everything else when you look at something and so it is for me with DK – picked up the Taschen to see if it’s worth getting the new Retrospective for 34 quid (it is, of course) and I couldn’t believe how clean his colours are – no muddy slurry, just clean, pure greens, blues, pinks; loads of scoring and dripping and strokes of black – well, you can see in the Woman  below:

See, no mud?  When I try, I get mud straight away, as in first stage below;

Will try to rescue it, but I don’t hold out great hope.

Degas’  Ballet Dancers

I repeated my remark about the Degas exhibition at my life drawing class on Friday – namely, very wonderful drawings and paintings, but you can have too many ballet pictures; it didn’t go down very well – apparently, you can’t have too many.  Coincidentally, we had some ballet-type poses for the 5 minute jobs, and I reproduce a couple here:

The one on left above illustrates the pitfalls of not standing back to check your dimensions – you get stunted appendages (no, not that one) like the tiny left arm, bursting from his upper chest like the Alien baby. 

ROYGBIV at the Whitechapel

Forgot to mention the Macaw’s Wing watercolour by Elizabeth Butterworth and Patrick Caulfield’s Pipe with Smoke; don’t know why they’re so good, really – I think it’s the red and deep blue in both.

Fellini at Skegness

Spent the weekend at Butlin’s in Skegness at the Butlin’s Folk Festival – most of the crowd were white, many were bald (as were some of the male singers); if you were there, my partner and I were the well-dressed, youthful, rather good-looking couple in the queue – you probably noticed us.  All the acts great, as they were at Cropredy (big overlap) but only one really for me, Cara Dillon and her band.  I had thought she was a bit twee, having seen her on that Celtic Connections thing with Aly Bain, where everybody is rather well-pressed  and pleased with themselves; very mistaken.  Powerful voice over Sam Lakeman’s driving, commanding  guitar, she sounds to me like a gutsier, Irish Alison Krauss.  Hill of Thieves – fantastic. 

So, what’s this about Fellini? Being dead, if for no other reason, he wasn’t really in Skegness. But outside the Butlin’s gates, on the windswept beach, with the strange, pointy cone- shaped turrets of the big entertainments tent towering behind the fence, dozens of little groups of people trudging along like pilgrims, walking off the Guinness between sets,  it looked like a scene from 8 1/2, or maybe Dolce Vita, or Amarcord…  Anyway, I’ll post our photograph and you will see what I mean.

The Devils

Hopefully, now Ken Russell’s dead and everyone realises how brilliant he was, there will be a DVD of the director’s cut issued.  I was remembering Dudley Sutton in the film, tossing a blackened bone to Vanessa Redgrave in his best insouciant manner; he was a Ted in “The Boys” with Jess Conrad, I think, years before, and was in Fellini’s Casanova, dementedly playing an organ, halfway up a castle wall.  All this, and a close friend of Roger Hilton too.  And Tinker….

Synapse, Blackpaint

5th December 2011