Posts Tagged ‘Freud’

Blackpaint 617 – Put the Coffee on and Squeeze My Lemon

March 23, 2018

All Too Human, Tate Britain until 27th August – so plenty of time..

A huge and brilliant exhibition, multiple rooms of stunning paintings, but with a few puzzles; the title suggests portraits and figures, the human body/bodies and there’s plenty of that.   There are, however, also city- and landscapes (Auerbach, Kossoff, Bomberg, Creffield, Soutine).  The booklet says “All Too Human explores how artists in Britain have stretched the possibilities of paint in order to capture life around them” – about as general as you can get.  And how about Soutine?  There’s a portrait and a wild expressionist rendition of Ceret, both brilliant, but did he ever even visit Britain?  Booklet says yes, so fair enough.Anyway, below a sample of the best stuff.  I think the best is Bacon’s 1956 “Figure in a Landscape”; never seen it before (unlike most of the other pictures here) – it’s the one with the near abstract swirls of paint and the vivid, smeary blue sky.  I couldn’t find a picture of it, unfortunately.

Lucian Freud, portrait of Frank Auerbach

That bulging forehead and crooked nose, the angle..

 

Freud, portrait of Bella

Looming out at the viewer, those feet…

Euan Uglow, Georgia

Classic Uglow/Coldstream plotting, sculptural accuracy.

 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Lovely portrait – but it’s not is it? She paints from imagination, I believe.

In addition to these, there are Bacon triptychs –  Dyer, Rawsthorne – , a roomful of Freuds; a Sickert woman naked in a chilly grey dawn bed; Auerbach and Kossoff churches and streets and parks; Bomberg and followers (Creffield and Dorothy Mead, better than the boss for my money); three Kitajs, two of them (Cecil Court and the Wedding, the one with Sandra, obviously, and Hockney) huge splashes of vivid colour amidst the general brownishness; the weird little girls in Paula Rego’s huge, sinister tableaux.

In the last room, Yiadom – Boakye, Cecily Brown, Jenny Saville and Celia Paul.  Brown’s paintings are always worth looking closely at, to decipher what’s going on.  Celia Paul’s bear a resemblance both to Rego and Soutine, I think.  Brilliant exhibition then – apart from the FN Souza room.  I couldn’t find any pleasure in his flat, dark, spiky images of the Crucifixion et al; they did remind me a little of Wifredo Lam here and there.

 

Roy Oxlade, Alison Jacques Gallery until 7th April (Berners Street, W1)

Oxlade was another Bomberg pupil, but you wouldn’t know it from his work, unlike some of the more slavish acolytes.  He died in 2014, at 85; these are works from the 80s and 90s.

I loved these dowdy, barbaric, cartoonish at times, mostly big old slap-around canvases; repeating images, paint pot and brush, coffee pot (shades of Kentridge), lemon squeezer (shades of Robert Johnson).  I reckon you can see a lot of Rose Wylie in his work and vice versa; not surprising, maybe, because they were married.

Blue Stalks, 1998 

That looks like a Basquiat face, next to the flower pot.

 

Profile and Brushes, 1984/85

I thought this was his version of Bruegel’s Icarus (legs disappearing into the sea) until I read the title.  Hadn’t spotted the profile…

 

Kitchen Knife and Scissors, 1986

Dancing scissors in a stormy landscape of paintpots.

 

Green Curtain, 1996

Oxlade’s Rokeby Venus, maybe – no mirror though.

 

Yellow Lemon Squeezer and Coffee Pot, 1987

Yes, I get that – the lemon squeezer looks like an old fashioned candle holder; everything’s floating and is that a coffee pot which has grown legs? (Kentridge again).

Death of Stalin, dir. Armando Iannuci (2017)

Jason Isaacs as Zhukov

The historian Richard Overy write a very peevish critique of this brilliant film, pointing out errors – the main one I think was that Beria was no longer head of the NKVD when Stalin died.  Were 1500 would -be mourners massacred by the NKVD when they (mourners) came to town?  Nevertheless, the screenplay, based on a graphic novel, apparently, is convincing and so, decisively, is the acting: Palin as Molotov, Buscemi as Khrushchev, above all Simon Russell Beale as the demonic Beria.  Chilling and very funny, but too horrifying to raise a laugh.

Rearview

Blackpaint

23/3/18

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 499 – The RA, the Internationale, Milk Cartons and Laundry Baskets

June 14, 2015

The Royal Academy Summer Show

Last blog, I identified the best picture in the show, which happened to be that of my partner, Marion Jones (Bars and Triangles, sold already).  It had a fleeting appearance on the Kirsty Wark BBC programme about the exhibition last night; about half a second, I think, so here’s another chance to see it:

marion RA

However, I feel I should I should mention some other pictures on display, so here goes:

Rose Hilton – Red Studio

rose

 

Hughie O’ Donoghue – Animal Farm

hughie

 

Frank Bowling – Pickerslift

frank

(It’s much bigger than this)

Christopher le Brun – Can’t or Won’t?

chris

(and so is this)

These are all big nobs; of the non – RAs and unknowns (to me, anyway) these two are the ones I liked best:

Arthur Neal – Studio and Garden

arthur

 

John O’Donnell – Winter

john

 

The BBC at War, BBC1

Just watched the first episode of this; interesting that William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) had a British audience estimated at six million for his propaganda broadcasts from Germany; the JB Priestley broadcasts were set up by the BBC in competition.  Also, When the Germans invaded Russia, Churchill forbade, for a time, the playing of the Internationale as one of the anthems of the Allied nations; the music played on the programme to illustrate the eventual rescinding of the ban was NOT the Internationale, however, but the Soviet National Anthem.  Maybe the BBC doesn’t know the difference.

The Saragossa Manuscript, Wojciech Has (1965)

This Polish film is pure Bunuel, which perhaps explains Bunuel’s approving comment on the DVD box.  I think it contains the original delayed -action joke, where something happens mysteriously in one scene – and then is explained much later.  Guy Ritchie did it in “Snatch”, when a milk carton inexplicably explodes on a car windscreen and gets then chucked at the car later in the film.  In “Manuscript”, it involves a laundry basket.

Jonathan Jones

Another VERY definitive position adopted by Jones, this time regarding Bridget Riley.  Apparently, she’s more important than the figurative masters Bacon, Freud and Hockney because she provided the public with a new reality, based on a “scientific” approach to optical effect.  Only Howard Hodgkin is as important – his approach is poetic, though, whereas hers is (sort of) scientific.  The approach is quite reminiscent of Brian Sewell; black and white.  Anything reviewed is either brilliant and exposes the shoddiness and the bogus nature of some other artists – or it’s bogus and “silly” like Bacon at the Sainsbury Centre and is exposed as such by the brilliance of some other artists.

I’ve just seen “Fighting History” at Tate Britain, a show panned by Jonathan Jones as “moronic” in the Guardian the other day.  He’s right that it’s not great, but it’s nowhere near as bad as he says; my take on it next week.

 

geometry1

Geometry 2

Blackpaint

14.06.15

Blackpaint 57

February 3, 2010

Greer article

A small postscript on yesterday’s comments – I checked the internet for pictures by the three women artists that Greer mentioned yesterday; Helen Lessore, Silvia Gosse and Hilda Carline.  Very little for Lessore and Carline, more for Gosse, but some of them turned out to be by Sickert!  Excellent self-portrait and an interesting abstract by Carline.  A portrait of Patricia Preece too, fully clothed and clearly older than in the Spencer nude picture, with a thoughtful and very much alive expression.

Van Doesburg

There was more stuff on the above by Adrian Searle yesterday, that I didn’t get to mention because I was preoccupied with Spencer et al.  He highlights the “Jekyll and Hyde” nature of Van D., who had another persona, the Dadaist “IK Bonset”.  When he wanted to escape(?) from the De Stijl type artist he just adopted this other identity and did what he liked.  He even got his wife Nelly to put on a false moustache and pose for a not very convincing photo portrait of “Bonset”.

What a great idea – pretty obvious I suppose, but it sounds quite liberating to me.  I’m working on my other persona now.  Maybe several….

Ugly 

That Greer stuff has got me thinking about “ugly” in art;  she obviously hates those pictures by Spencer, maybe Freud too, which show women’s bodies in unflattering lights, poses, and with flaws present.  I think they have a sort of beauty; that’s a matter of taste.  What about Bacon?  I find a lot of Bacons beautiful too, especially the portraits of Dyer (the one with the bifurcated head, in a mirror is it?), Muriel Belcher and Isabel Rawsthorne.  The compositions and colours are “pleasing” too, in some way.  So some of them depict violence and pain – the National Gallery is full of crucifixions and beheadings and tortures, mostly depicted in beautiful colours and settings.  I found the stuff in that “Sacred Made Real” exhibition really ugly and depressing; couldn’t wait to get out and go upstairs for some crosses under blue skies.

I think the only paintings that I’ve seen that really horrify me are those by Marlene Dumas – the dead women’s portraits and the kid with bloody hands.  I’d be really interested to know what Germaine Greer thinks about them.  Any other offers? Interesting that you can buy (rather expensively) little toys of Bosche’s monsters in the NG gift shop – they were once considered horrifying, I suppose. 

Painting

Trying to do a figurative painting, using the “fractured surface” look I did in last two paintings – it’s not going well, as can be seen below.

Listening to “Ain’t no more Cane on the Brazos”, by Lonnie Donegan.  Yes, I know he nicked it and was a Leadbelly copyist – but I like it.

“You should-a been on the river nineteen and four,

Oh, oh, oh, oh,

“You’d-a find many dead men, most every row,

Oh, oh, oh, oh.”

Blackpaint

03.02.10

Blackpaint 14

December 13, 2009

Rothko and Boyd (cont.)

The other thing that Boyd did in his article was divide artists up into “foxes” and “hedgehogs”;  foxes do all sorts of different art, hedgehogs are “one-trick ponies” (lots of animal metaphors in use).  Among the hedgehogs, he includes Lucian Freud and Vermeer, as well as Rothko, of course.  I can see why Rothko is included,  although surely he had three tricks- the stripes and panels, the arches and, earlier, the so-called Multiforms.  Maybe these were sub-divisions of the main trick.

Freud is “one trick” because of the figure studies, presumably; but then, he has done naked, clothed, full body, heads – and backyards and gardens on occasion.  But why Vermeer? Interiors, mysterious women?  I find it hard to think of many artists who could not be called “hedgehogs”, to use Boyd’s term, if one wanted to make the trick big enough-Picasso, Richter, Cezanne, Van Gogh….

But, for all the above cavils, it raised some questions for me such as why paint (or sculpt, or photograph, or…)?  To be answered in coming blogs, no doubt.

Listened to: Church Street Blues, by Norman Blake.

“Get myself a rocking chair, see if I can lose

Them thin dime, hard time,

Hell on Church Street Blues.”

More tomorrow,

Blackpaint

13.12.09