Posts Tagged ‘Dudley Sutton’

Blackpaint 632 – Horse Head, Flick Knife and Trick Mirrors

December 15, 2018

British Museum Print Room – New Acquisitions

Great prints, from Rembrandt to Auerbach and beyond, a small sample of which follows – annoyingly, I didn’t take note of all the names, but decided to trust my memory (not a good decision).  However, you get an idea and can look it up online, no doubt…


James Ward


Did know who did this, but now forgotten…. oh yes, Villon, Marcel Duchamp’s brother


Fred Williams




Bea somebody, an Australian

Another forgotten name….

Always worth keeping tabs on the Print Room at the BM, they mount some excellent exhibitions and they’re free to get in.

The Boys, dir. Sidney J Furie (1962)

Another excellent recent resurrection on the Talking Pictures channel, a story of four Teds, attempting to have a night “up West” on virtually no money between them, creating minor disruption in dance halls, cinema queues, aboard a bus and in the street, who wind up charged with the murder of a nightwatchman at a garage, killed in the course of a robbery that nets 15 shillings (75p).

The story emerges in flashbacks during the courtroom examinations and cross examinations and the cast list is distinguished, if you are British and of “a certain age” – otherwise, it will mean nothing.  Richard Todd and Robert Morley as prosecution and defence barristers, Felix Aylmer as the judge, Patrick Magee as a parent, Wilfred Brambell as a lavatory attendant…  “The Boys” themselves are: Ronald Lacey, Jess Conrad, Tony Garnett (later a distinguished director and collaborator with Ken Loach) and finally, the wonderful Dudley Sutton (above, with the flick knife, cleaning his nails in the totally unthreatening and unprovocative manner he uses habitually in the film).  Another baby-faced tearaway, like Richard Attenborough as Pinky in “Brighton Rock”, Sutton has a memorable scene just standing, legs apart, engrossed in cleaning his nails, in the doorway of a snooker hall, unsettling the occupants for some reason…  The other boys are excellent too and there are the location shots, which make it worth watching alone.  And yes, there WAS a film called “Hungry for Love”, in English anyway, with Signoret, Mastroianni and Riva; that’s the film showing where the boys disturb the queue.

Dudley Sutton’s best film work, I think, unless with Ken Russell and Vanessa Redgrave in “The Devils”, tossing a charred bone, remains of Oliver Reed, to the demented Mother Superior, Redgrave….

Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery

Some big names from the west coast “Cool School”, Larry Bell and Ken Irwin, and also Anish Kapoor and Yayoi Kusama, with a flood of silver reflecting spheres the size of bowling balls, but with no spots on them, or penises attached;  basically, this is a set of novelties and illusions, distorting mirrors and such like.  I was craving paintings within a few minutes, but none were forthcoming.



Distorting mirrors, like an old fairground (read “The Dwarf”, Ray Bradbury short story, in “The Small Assassin” collection).


See those rocks?  They look green through the glass, but are in fact silver – or have I got that the wrong way round?


Burne-Jones, Tate Britain (again)

A few more from the BJ; I thought the figures on the right below were very reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Sistine altar wall:



Great Perseus and Andromeda here, giving us a frontal view of A (see back view in last blog):


Atlas – hated this, included it as contrast to P and A above.

One of mine to finish, as always:

Oceanic Divide






Blackpaint 525 – Tight Rope, Frenzy and Sex in Gothenberg

December 20, 2015

Tight Rope, White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey Street

This is a great exhibition; it has to do with artists who walk the line between figurative and abstract, I think (I haven’t read the book that goes with it yet – £20.00) – whatever, it has some lovely pictures from the likes of Guston, Bacon, Freud, Baselitz, Matisse, Duchamp et al.   It has one of the worst Picassos I’ve ever seen ( horrible, evil yellow with scrawls) and a terrific Tracey Emin figure on white over two or three panels.  My favourites below, starting with the great Bay Area painter David Park:

david park

Untitled (Portrait of Tom Jefferson), 1957



Magnus Plessen, Untitled, 2015

Plessen seems to have used tape which he has pulled off to get the straight lines.



Michael Armitage, Conservationists, 2015


Here’s the Emin –


Tracey Emin, I think of you all the time


– and here’s the Picasso –

picasso mustache

Picasso, Man with a Mustache, 1970

Despite the Picasso, there are loads of excellent pictures here.  Even the ones I didn’t like – Dana Schulz’ retina-burners, for example – made me want to go home and paint immediately; those chunky but slippery brush sweeps, I imagine.

Also on show there are Gilbert and George’s “Fuck You” posters (that’s probably not their proper title, but gives an idea of the content).  Should detain you for a minute or so, long enough to read them all.


John Berger on Rembrandt and Goya

I’m reading Berger’s “Portraits – John Berger on Artists” and I find him insufferably precious at times – “It is remarkable how, for those who suffer a desire for art, so much does begin and end in it” (the National Gallery).  He also tends to make confident assertions about doubtful things.  There are examples throughout, but here’s one: “Goya lived and observed through something near enough to total war to know that night is security and that it is the dawn that one fears”; is that really right?  It fits his argument..

However, his comments on Rembrandt’s late self-portraits are interesting; he suggests that R. painted himself from memory, rather than using mirrors – thus avoiding the theatricality that Berger says always creeps in when artists do mirror SPs.  Have a look at the Courbet SP “The Desperate Man” to see what he means.


OK, it’s an extreme example.  Berger also suggests that Goya painted “the Naked Maja” from imagination – he simply did the clothed Maja without the clothes.  In evidence, he offers the breasts; falling unnaturally to the sides as they had done when she was dressed.  That’s what Berger says, anyway.


Hitchcock’s murder film on TV the other night; the cast was staggering, straight off the Shakespearian stage of the 70s – Jon Finch, Anna Massey, Billie Whitelaw, Clive Swift, Barry Foster et al.  The lewd conversation between barristers and the pub landlady about rape comes as quite a shock to contemporary ears and there is a very nasty rape sequence later.  Great bit in the back of the potato lorry, however.

Star Wars – film critics

They’ve all abandoned their critical faculties; not worth listening to (as I write, Mark Kermode is on TV, shouting and waving his arms about).


Fellini, Donald Sutherland in the title role, having sex with a mechanical life-sized doll in Gothenburg, a debauched Dudley Sutton playing a harmonium halfway up a wall…  Now, that’s what I call a film.


dirty protest2

I’ve finally finished a picture – here it is; it’s called

Dirty Protest



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