Posts Tagged ‘Emperor of Japan’

Blackpaint 261

March 17, 2011

The Emperor

I forgot that Japan still had an emperor – Akahito, isn’t it?  When I saw him on TV, I thought he looked like a character from a David Lynch film.  It’s quite surprising that in the world’s third largest economy, disaster survivors are rationed to half a rice ball a day and lack bedding and other essentials – not so different to New Orleans after Katrina really.  No doubt I’m wrong, so back to art.

I thought I’d revisit some old favourites.

Asger Jorn

Look at “den Hellige Have” (the Holy Garden”); the gamut of colours he manages to bring together.  Green, green-blue, ultramarine, cadmium yellow, red, black, pink, orange – shades of Hoffman and de Kooning.  I think you need to have a surface roughness and  drawn quality around the different colours to bring this off, otherwise it’s too vivid, like a child’s painting.  His pictures from the mid 60s are so varied in style.

Joan Mitchell

Her middle period stuff – again, early to mid 60s – sometimes look like exploding heads (see La Chatiere 1960); like Appel, but colours less screaming and without the inch deep ridges and canyons of paint.

Peter Lanyon

Has a definite palette, sometimes quite close to Alfred Wallis (see Porthleven); green, sea green, blue, brown.  Also sky blues, white, red and orange (see Soaring Flight, Offshore, Eagle Pass, Wreck).

Michelangelo

“The Rebellious Slave (prisoner)”, in the Louvre; look at the complex of interlocking muscles in the depression behind his pushed-forward, left shoulder and below thw thick band of muscle extending from the shoulder to the back of the neck – fantastic work.

Frank Auerbach

I may have said this before, but to see his work in the Tate Britain, you would think he was a dirty, muddy painter.  In fact, many of his paintings sing with colour; blues. yellows, oranges, white, greens – both portraits and cityscapes.  I think he is the greatest living figurative painter, in that he is more varied and experimental than Lucian Freud.

RB Kitaj

Again, may have said this before, but the surprise to see his completely different approaches to doing the human figure.  In his painted tableaux, they are square-ish, stiff, roughly drawn, cartoon – like; in the life drawings, they are, to my mind,  unparalleled in the skill and beauty of the execution.  I really can’t think of anyone better .  That woman with the Veronese back and the three studies currently in the British Museum exhibition..  Go and see them, if you are not familiar with them, and see if I am exaggerating.

Abstract painting

I’m still constantly amazed to hear people describe abstraction as “modern art”.  It’s really old-fashioned now, surely, retro not modern.  Maybe it’s just a British thing that it has to represent something in the real world (landscape, portrait, storm at sea) or else, it’s a picture of nothing.  Highest praise is, “You really feel like you are there”.  Also interesting is that politics has little to do with taste; the most radical of politicos often have the most fiercely conservative views on art.  With this in mind, I have returned to figurative painting (see below).

Aphrodite at the Waterhole (apologies to Hancock)

Blackpaint

16.03.11