Posts Tagged ‘Conflict Time Photography’

Blackpaint 479 – Birdman, Auerbach and Cat Strangling

January 24, 2015

Birdman

I think this is the best American film I have seen for years. I was about to say because the others are all superhero crap – but then so is this, in a way;  not crap, but superhero.  Michael Keaton is an ageing ex-superhero, Birdman, who is directing and leading in a Broadway version of a Ray Carver story, “What we talk about when we talk about love”.  The preview stage has been reached and Keaton is struggling with self-doubt and contempt, an egomaniac co-star (Edward Norton, magnificent), a disaffected daughter recently in “rehab” (Emma Stone, also brilliant, below) …. and so on, can’t bother with all this exposition.

Anyway, the dialogue crackles, as does the jazz drum accompaniment, the story is absorbing and funny, sentimentality is kept in check (though not absent) and the acting is great, as are the long takes following the actors’ tracks backstage and out of the theatre in one memorable scene.

I can’t resist the urge to spot resemblances that has often (always?) been a feature of this blog;  I glimpsed Gene Hackman in Keaton, Helen Mirren in Naomi Watts, Matthew McConnaughey in Edward Norton, Richard Dreyfuss in Zach Galifianakis – and in the huge-eyed Emma Stone, Lucian Freud’s painting of Kitty Garman strangling the kitten, below.  Well, just the eyes really – and Kitty is just holding the kitty….

 

emma stone

Girl with a Kitten 1947 by Lucian Freud 1922-2011

 

London Art Fair, Islington Business Centre

Unfortunately, this is only on for another day, but I daresay that some of the paintings below will still be unsold, if you want to buy them (although the first four are not for sale, being part of the Chichester Pallant House Gallery’s exhibition-within-the exhibition, so to speak).

 

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 Frank Auerbach, Reclining Head of Gerda Boehm – the best painting in the building, a more intense blue than appears here

 

sickert jack ashore

 

Walter Sickert, Jack Ashore – you can see Jack in the background, but he’s not the main focus really – look at her left thigh; it’s made up entirely of loose dabs and strokes of white.  I’m not sure why this is good, but it is.

artfair lanyon

 Peter Lanyon – didn’t get the title;

 

artfair denny

 

Robyn Denny – again, no title, and I’m not sure that this is the right way up.  It’s great though, from when he was doing AbEx stuff before going geometric and minimal.

The following were from various galleries showing at the fair:

 

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 Keith Vaughan

 

 

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 Keith Vaughan again – Two Figures

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Margaret Mellis – love that red

 

artfair cadell

 

 

Cadell – Ben More and Mull

artfair fergusson

 

Fergusson – Still Life with Fruit – I love these Scottish Colourists; there’s also a Melville, the Glasgow Boy, in the same display.

artfair gear

 

William Gear – Two landscapes, 1947 and 1948 

artfair kinley

 

Peter Kinley, Figure on a Bed, 1975

…and, as usual, several great Roger Hiltons, Allan Daveys, Gaudier-Brjeska figure drawings, Prunella Clough, John Golding – great stuff.

Conflict Time Photography, Tate Modern

Revisited this (see previous blog) and found a couple of things I missed last time:

  • The collection of photos of Northern Ireland – irritatingly, these go up the wall too high to see them all properly (they are small), but there are some interesting ones low down – a couple of men or boys, tied up and covered with whitewash (?) wearing placards; one proclaims him to be a drug dealer to “underage children”).  Also, the huge photo of a riot which seems to involve throwing of milk cartons – what does the big red circle indicate?
  • The series of photographs of relics of Hiroshima.  The lunchbox of a schoolgirl, contents carbonised; no sign of the girl.  The uniform tunic, discovered in branches of a tree, of a schoolboy; no trace of boy.  Single lens of eyeglass of a housewife; piece of skull found some weeks later.
  • The odd, but fascinating jumble of photos and memorabilia contained in the little sub-exhibition of “the Archive of Modern Conflict”.

 

Still haven’t done any proper painting for a while, so some life drawings to fill the gap.

life drawing 1

life drawing 3

life drawing 4

life drawing 2

Life Drawings

Blackpaint

24.01.15 

 

 

 

Blackpaint 477 – Stockings, Skeletons and Sharks

January 11, 2015

Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA

Another great little exhibition of young artists, only on until 25th January; only a quid to get in.  I liked Athena Papadopoulos (below), with a blue-based collage of stained, spotted and holed fabrics…

athena papadopoulos

Athena Papadopoulos

…and Yi Dai, with the three pieces below.  Those are stretched stockings around the edges and there are tiny hairs in the centre cracks.  Strangely repellent and yet somehow erotic…  perhaps I should get out more, as they say.

yi dai

Yi Dai

Additionally, there was a piece painted on thick cardboard that had to do with meat being minced and obesity(?) – but I’ve lost my notes and can’t remember the artist’s name.  I’ll drop in the ICA tomorrow and check.

There’s a roomful of  videos constantly playing upstairs, one of which appears to be a man in a covered market, straining pints of  thick yellow liquid through a hanging linen bag and then drinking it.  I thought it was paint until he started to drink; my partner thinks it was mango juice.  Not sure of the message – which is not a worry for me, as long as the images are arresting.

Conflict Time Photography, Tate Modern

This is on until March.  Photographs from various war zones, taken at the time of the conflict, then maybe ten years, thirty years, fifty years later.  A huge exhibition; lots of conflicts:

  • Iraq Desert Storm, 1991 – aerial colour shots of the desert, the blitzed convoy remains of the famous “turkey shoot”, dead tanks, a child’s shoes, half-buried in sand..
  • nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, towers like those you get in fire stations for the firefighters to practise on, stairs to nowhere – reminiscent of the Kiefer towers..
  • Hiroshima – distorted bottle, shadow of the ladder man, skullbone fused in helmet, billowing fire and smoke cloud, radiation scars..
  • McCullin’s Berlin photos – US soldiers, standing like saints or angels in the empty statue alcoves of a church..
  • uprooted WW11 bunkers on the French coast (the photos taken by the Wilsons for “Ruin Lust”)..
  • Spain – skeletons disinterred from the Civil War, one with hands crossed over ribs, resembling a mediaeval plague pit; for me, the most powerful visual in the exhibition..
  • Congo, Vietnam, Nicaragua..
  • Nazi party headquarters, Berlin bunkers and the Wolf’s Lair (Rastenburg)
  • strange photos of little wooden model houses, that turn out to be “torture houses” of the Communist regime in Latvia or Lithuania..

skeletons

Nebraska, Alexander Payne (Dir)

My Christmas DVD, featuring the great Bruce Dern as an irascible old git convinced he has won millions in a lottery, who keeps setting out to travel to Nebraska from Montana to collect the prize.  The landscapes are bleak and beautiful; it looks a lot like the Last Picture Show.  It’s funny and not too sentimental and if there were still such a thing, it would make a great double bill with King of Marvin Gardens, in which Dern starred with Jack Nicholson back in the 70s; come to think of it, there are similarities between the young and the old Dern and the long-suffering, protective roles of Nicholson and Will Forte, respectively Dern’s brother in Marvin Gardens and son in Nebraska (if that all makes sense).

Shark, Will Self

Finished this and grew to love it by the end.  The last section, which is fragmented and seems to involve several different voices, smacks strongly of Ulysses – at first I thought of Molly’s bit, but that’s more coherent, so maybe the hospital sequence or the Ormond…  Anyway, got to read it again to try and sort it out…

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 Phil Seated

 

phil1

 

Phil Again 

sonia2

 

Sonia Seated 

sonia1

Amanda’s Back

Blackpaint, 

11.01.15

Je Suis Charlie