Posts Tagged ‘JP Donleavy’

Blackpaint 606 – St.Ives now, Matisse, Bigelow, Donleavy

September 18, 2017

Penwith Gallery, St. Ives

We went all the way to Cornwall to visit Tate St. Ives, only to find that the gallery is being rebuilt and is closed until 14th October.  Still, a few nice things at the Penwith in town:

Karen McEndoo

 

KM again

 

David Moore

I like this prone figure study, a little like Tracey Emin’s drawings at first glance.  Generally, you could see the unmistakeable influence of 60s St. Ives painters immediately – Lanyon, Roger Hilton, Paul Feiler, Terry Frost (there were several Andrew Frost paintings and prints, not that he is particularly like his father) – but some nice stuff, nevertheless.  Everyone’s influenced by someone and these are pretty good influences…

JP Donleavy

 

A fulsome obituary in the Guardian last week mentioned Donleavy’s hatred of feminism and skill at boxing, as well as praising his “comic” novel “The Ginger Man”, comparing Donleavy to Joyce (!), and perpetuating the view of Dangerfield, the protagonist, as a sort of roguish, charming ne’er do well, a hard-drinking broth of a boy.  It failed to comment on the scenes in which Dangerfield beats up his wife and threatens and assaults a girlfriend.  I found these scenes shocking when I recently re-read the book after 40-odd years, although I don’t recall them from my first reading – shows how sensibilities have changed, maybe.  Still, I was surprised that no-one on the vigilant Guardian staff commented, and that no readers wrote in.  See also Blackpaint 596 and 589.

Zero Dark Thirty, dir. Kathryn Bigelow (2012)

I sat up until nearly 3.00am, watching this riveting film about the finding and killing of Bin Laden.  I was not surprised at its gripping force –  after all, Bigelow made “Point Break” and “The Hurt Locker” – nor at the lack of moral commentary.  The torture scenes prompted no soul-searching on the part of Maya, Jessica Chastain’s heroine, or anyone else; it was part of the job in hand.  I recalled scenes from Pontecorvo’s “Battle for Algiers” (1966), in which Algerians were tortured with electric shocks and blow torches; Pontecorvo’s Mathieu, the French para commander, asked critical journalists: “Must France remain in Algeria?  Then you must accept these methods” – or words to that effect.  Then again, Pontecorvo was a Marxist; Bigelow’s politics I’m not sure about, but I’d guess somewhere around Clint Eastwood.

Matisse in the Studio, RA (until 12th November)

I saw this weeks ago, but didn’t get round to doing it; it’s got some of the actual objects that Matisse depicted in his paintings, chairs, figures and so on, next to the paintings themselves.  Couldn’t take photos and don’t remember much (except that the paintings and sculptures were great, of course) so I’ll just copy the notes I made at the time:

  • The chair one – with the chair.
  • The red/gold prone figure – with the figure.
  • The Italian Woman – that one with the cut away left shoulder (viewer’s left)
  • The portrait of the woman with the black shaping “guidelines”.  Apart from the woman below, the reader will have to search these out on the net – or go to the exhibition, of course.

The Italian Woman

Two of mine to end with –

Wood before the Yat

 

Rough Flower

Blackpaint

18.09.17

 

Blackpaint 589 – Pablo, Vanessa, JP and John

March 7, 2017

Picasso Musee, Barcelona

Mainly early paintings and drawings.  His dad was a drawing professor, apparently.  Early stuff amazing for a youngster; the head in the drawing below the only error I could see, apart from dodgy legs on a bearded man on the end wall.  Several drawings very like Toulouse Lautrec.

 

picasso-life

Academic Study, done when he was around 14 – gratifying to see a slight error in positioning of the head….

1901 was a decisive year; three memorable pictures – the “Margot” below, the red dwarf girl and the still life (also below).

 

picasso-still-life

Still Life – like a Cezanne, but with each article “floating” separately on the table top.

 

picasso-woman

Portrait (Margot) – there’s that characteristic positioning of the head to one side.

Another favourite – Portrait of Madame Canals (1904)

Then, 1917, and lots of black cubist playing card pictures,; a gored horse, bowels falling out – “Guernica” of course, but bony quality, forerunner of the skulls and those bone people on the beach.

Then, 1931; the Marie-Berthe portrait, in which her nose comes direct from the forehead, like a stuck-on gourd.

A roomful of versions and sketches of “Las Meninas”, a roomful of “Columbines”, doves in a window overlooking a bay.  The doves are just circles with smaller circles and dashes at one end, for the head and beak.

Vanessa Bell, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Some really impressive paintings in this exhibition, showing her every bit as strong as Duncan Grant.  There is a group of portraits in the first or second room, including the Iris Tree and self portrait below, that I thought was particularly brilliant.  But the still lifes, landscapes and abstracts are also great.  Highly recommended.

 

Iris Tree, 1915

 

Still Life on Corner of Mantelpiece, 1914

 

Oranges and Lemons, 1914

 

Self Portrait, 1915

The Ginger Man, JP Donleavy

Got a second hand copy of this, which I read about fifty years ago when it was really popular.  Donleavy is also the author of A Fairy Tale of New York, the title of which the Pogues borrowed for their single with Kirsty McColl.   It was a book about drunken, ne’er- do-well Irish American students, carousing in Dublin.  If you read it, you will remember the toilet bowl emptying through the floor/ceiling when the chain is pulled and the drunken parade through Dublin in the kangaroo suit.  Stylistically, it’s an attempt at something like Bloom’s sections in Ulysses, stream of consciousness, verbless phrases, even the vocab and settings (Laestrigonians, Gerty MacDowell etc.).

What came as a very nasty surprise was this, on page 29; the “hero” is rowing with his wife, who has just slapped his face:  “Sebastian up off the table.  He drove his fist into Marion’s face.  She fell backward against the cupboard.  Dishes crashing to the floor…..Took the child’s pillow from under its head and pressed it hard on the screaming mouth.”  His wife manages to save the child and Sebastian hits the streets to drink away his worries.  Next time his wife appears in the novel, she succumbs very willingly to his sexual prowess; the punch and the attempted murder are forgotten – but she is still angry about his language, laziness et al.

The point of this is that neither I nor my partner remembered the violence; we both thought of it as one of those cult books and films  about anarchistic, comical drunks and druggies you read when you are a young rebel;  Sort of a post- WW2 “Withnail and I”.  I checked the net – no mention of the violence, but I did discover it had been selected as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library.  Reviewers, such as Jay McInerney, refer to Dangerfield’s rogue-ish charm.

Lone Star (1996)/Matewan (1987), John Sayles

Saw Lone Star on TV a few days ago; the presence of Kris Kristofferson and Matthew McConaughey AND Chris Cooper in the same film should be enough to guarantee it – and yes, it’s got racial tension,  violence, some tame sex, a mystery body, murders and McConaughey doing that cold, flat stare from behind a revolver.  But somehow, it’s irritating, to me at least.  It checks too many boxes in terms of the competing interests and “issues” of the various groups, whites, Latinos, blacks, Native Americans.  And the nice people win in the end.  Matewan, set amongst West virginia coal miners and also starring Cooper, has a cathartic shoot-out (necessary in this sort of film) and the good people win here too – but only temporarily;  The old evil capitalism re-asserts itself at the end.  More violent, more pessimistic, more better.

I find myself wondering how “Deadwood” would have turned out with Sayles as director…

 

Little Lake Shore

Blackpaint

7/3/17