Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Fitzpatrick’

Blackpaint 577 – Saatchi Painters, Russian Painters, Russell and the Little People

December 4, 2016

Painters’ Painters, Saatchi Gallery

The only common denominator for these painters is the fact that they ARE painters – supposedly a rarity in this age of video and multi-media installation.  Actually, on reflection, there is another thing they have in common; the deadness of the painted surface.  None of them seem to glow; there is a liverish colour that many share in their backgrounds – as far as I can make out, it seems to be a mix of crimson, grey and maybe insipid cream, and/or mauve.  Where they are bright (as in Bjarne Melgaard, below), they are livid; still no glow.  The photographs actually glamourise the paintings a bit.

One other common factor – they’re all men.  But, to be fair, there are three women artists exhibiting individually in the upper galleries, and the last main exhibition was all women…

 

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Ryan Mosley

 

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Ryan Mosley

 

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Bjarne Melgaard

 

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Don’t know who did this one, but I love that right buttock…

The reason I made the adverse comments about colour is that I’ve twice visited the stupendous Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern this week and the colours are rich and glowing.  The most staggering work – and there are many – is the Combine “Ace” (below), no photo of which comes anywhere near doing it justice.  Review next blog.

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Robert Rauschenberg, Ace.  This pic doesn’t do it justice, it has to be seen in the flesh, so to speak.

 

Also at Saatchi…  Not part of “Painters Painting”, there are separate exhibitions in the upper galleries by Phoebe Unwin and Mequitta Ahuja.

Phoebe Unwin

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I love this imprisoning criss-cross patterning.  Other works here by Unwin suggestive of Gerhard Richter’s faded photo style.

 

Mequitta Ahuja

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I still think there is a hint of Ofili in these great action portraits (surely selfies) of a woman with a cast in one eye.

 

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA

Several arresting works, including these two:

Janina Lange, Shooting Clouds (video)

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Jamie Fitzpatrick, The King (wax sculpture)

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Revolution – New Art for a New World (Margy Kinmonth, 2016) – ICA

Fascinating documentary made by Kinmonth based on research in the Russian archives and interviews with curators and descendants of the artists discussed. The usual suspects are there; Malevich, Kandinsky, Chagall, Rodchenko – but also lesser known artists, namely:

Filonov, Lentulov, Klutsis, Konchalovsky, Popova, Stepanova and Petrov-Vodkin.

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Klutsis

 

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Petrov-Vodkin

The history is sort of GCSE level, but I guess Kinmonth wanted to get onto the art as soon as possible, so fair enough.  It’s sobering to remember the fate of some of these artists, in particular Klutsis and Meyerhold, the theatre director, both of whom were shot, after vicious beatings and torture in the case of Meyerhold.  Why? To wring out vital information about directing and screenprinting?

 

Dante’s Inferno, Ken Russell (1967)

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Oliver Reed and co-smoulderer Gala Mitchell as (respectively) Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Jane Morris, in this fabulous Ken Russell film for the BBC, made in 1967.  According to Russell’s film editor, Michael Bradsell, Reed had three “settings” – Smoulder 1, 2 and 3.  Russell would simply call out the number he wanted and Reed would deliver the appropriate intensity of smouldering look.

 

Little People

A couple of my life paintings to finish, from my series “Little People” (actually, it’s the canvases that are little, not the people – but anyway…)

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Faun’s Afternoon

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Man Sitting Uncomfortably

Blackpaint

4/12/16

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Blackpaint 524 – Karl, Kitaj and hanging about in the woods

December 13, 2015

A Death in the Family, My Struggle Vol.1,  Karl Ove Knausgard

The obsessive detail in which Knausgard describes the minutiae of everyday life can be crushing; when you see the denseness of the type on the Kindle page, no paragraphs in sight, it recalls Proust.  I’m glad to hear that reviewers have mentioned Proust in connection with his projected multi-volume memoir.  Others mention his unflinching confessional style, glossing over nothing for the sake of discretion. It’s surprisingly gripping, in the sense that you read page after page looking for somewhere to stop, thinking why doesn’t he just say he made tea, instead of telling you how he filled the kettle with water from the cold tap, pushed the button in, watched the red light glow….  Should he get up or should he have a wank?  The cartoonist Steve Bell broached this years ago in his “If” series; ex -Seaman Kipling posed himself the same question, but he described it as a “discreet Sherman”.

The critic James Wood described it as interesting, even when it is boring; I sort of see what he means.

Kitaj and his Life Drawings

I have to say I think Ron Kitaj’s life drawings are pretty much the business, so here’s a selection, some of which I’ve shown before:

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I know, male gaze and all that – but they are fantastic.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA

There were four stand out works for me:

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Katy Schwab

These are cross-stitch embroidery – pretty good, eh? There are four or five I think, and they are very small, but perfectly formed.  Made me think of Sonia Delaunay and Sophie Tauber -Arp.

 

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Jamie Fitzpatrick

The figure is made of wax – and he seems to have borrowed his paints from the artist below; the palette’s almost the same.

 

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James William Collins, “Ffion”

I thought a tiny bit Guston-y – but my partner frostily put me in my place, saying the colours were totally different to those of the great Phillip…

 

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Hilde Krohn Huse – Hanging in the Woods

A video sequence. in which the naked artist has contrived to suspend herself from a tree and undertakes a number of balletic or yogic movements which increasingly appear to be attempts to release herself.  It’s funny, sinister in the suicide connotations – and interesting to those of us who do life drawing, in the sense that you don’t often see the anatomy performing under such conditions.  I think next time I’m at Putney, I’ll suggest to the model they might try something similar; wonder what sort of reply I’ll get?

Carol, 2015 (dir. Todd Haynes)

Famously featuring Cate Blanchett as Carol and Rooney Mara as her younger lover.  It had a lot of effusive praise on “Film 2015”;  It looks great (that Zodiac palette, again, that you also see in the current Fargo series), the 50s cars and especially that train set in the department store) and the acting’s good, of course.  However, if it had been a male/female affair, it would have been unremarkable.  My attention strayed once or twice.

I had another attack of that thing where I catch glimpses of other faces; this time, it was Cate in profile with startled eyes and lips hanging open – Donald Sutherland in “Casanova”! And Rooney Mara, in a scene near the end, was suddenly the girl who plays Audrey Hepburn in the Galaxy chocolate advert.

The soundtrack was good, though; Billie Holiday singing “Easy Living” and a vocal group doing “One Mint Julep”.

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Heaven Only Knows 2

Blackpaint

12.12.15