Posts Tagged ‘Cullen Washington Jr’

Blackpaint 460 – Saatchi Abstracts, Auerbach at the Tate and Cotillard at the ICA

August 29, 2014

Saatchi Gallery – Pangaea: New Art from Latin America

Three striking painters in this exhibition:

Aboudia, from the Ivory Coast – graffiti style conglomerations with the usual features; smears, splatters, cartoon characters, slogans, livid colours.  I’ve a penchant for this sort of art, even though it’s hardly original (Rauschenberg through Basquiat) and the recent Saatchi exhibition “Body Language” had strikingly similar work from Eddie Martinez.


Antonio Molta Campos, from Brazil – My favourite; huge, vivid, curving jigsaws of paint, blue, black, pink, that appear to form into giant heads and torsos.  Lovely, clean lines forming a contrast with the street jumble of Aboudia…..


….and the scruffy, filthy assemblages of brown card and other scraps of the Columbian artist, Oscar Murillo.  He lists “dirt” among his materials and from his picture on the gallery wall, appears to be an elderly woman.



Saatchi Gallery – Abstract America Today 

The other Saatchi exhibition, in the top floor galleries; here. there are four painters whose work I liked:

Cullen Washington Jr. – big, black, white and brown paintings and assemblages with fluorescent bits of tape holding them together, or more probably, just stuck on.  These had an immediate impact, but faded somewhat after the first contact.


Paul Bloodgood – reminded me oddly of a tube map somehow; don’t know why.  Liked them, apart from that insipid cream colour…


Jackie Saccoccio – I liked the “net” of paint she cast over the surfaces…



And Keltie Ferris – blurred lower layers, sharp uppers, those blasting diagonals…


 Tate Britain – Frank Auerbach; the Lucian Freud Bequest


One room of Auerbach paintings and drawings, including some brilliant life drawings from his college days; striking cityscapes of Mornington Crescent and Primrose Hill in winter; and some staggering (running out of superlatives) portraits, notably three (at least) of “E.O.W.”  I thought I knew Auerbach’s work pretty well, but am about to reveal great ignorance.  When you look at these portraits close up, they are a mass of thick, intertwining worms of paint, rising in thickness from maybe half an inch at the perimeter to three inches maybe at the centre.  You are aware of a head, a sort of expressionist explosion of features, but nothing from which you could identify the sitter, beyond maybe a long head, or chin – if you knew what the sitter looked like.

But if you stand back 10 or 12 feet and look again, a surprisingly precise and identifiable image of the sitter’s face appears in the middle of the mass of worms, as if swimming to the surface.  Maybe everybody else knows this, or sees it straight away – revelation to me, though.

A beautiful exhibition, and free – as are the Saatchis, of course.

“Two Days, One Night” at the ICA

Dardenne Brothers film. featuring Marion Cotillard.  Apparently hard realism, set in dreary, half-built housing estates in Belgium, strongly resembling Britain.  She’s a factory worker, voted out of her job by her “mates” after being off with a nervous breakdown.  The boss, through the foreman,  has put it to the vote; do they want their bonuses or for her to be kept on?  Bonuses, apparently.  She has the weekend to go round to all their houses and try to get them to change their minds, in the re-vote the boss has conceded on the coming Monday.

It got five stars from Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian; easy to see why; theme and politics are right (the unspoken message is pro-union), beautifully acted, convincing – superficially, anyway.  I thought it was lacking in dramatic tension, however, in that you knew you were in for a dozen or so doorstep encounters right from the beginning.  She attempts suicide (not a spoiler this, since the opening certificate warns you that there is a suicide attempt), recovers, changes her mind, and gets back on the doorbells, within a couple of hours.

No reason why a film should have everything, but this could have easily been a TV play; no visual stimulation at all.  The same night, I saw Bigelow’s “Point Break” again on TV.  Ridiculous story and dialogue, cartoon acting, blatant steals from “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” and “Straight Time” but fantastic surfing and skydiving.  Supposing you transposed the directors…





Blackpaint, 29.08.14