Posts Tagged ‘Karl Bielik’

Blackpaint 515 – The Thicker the Better, Chaps.

October 19, 2015

Auerbach at Tate Britain

There are three fantastic modern painters of wildly different types on in London at the moment – John Hoyland at Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, Peter Lanyon at the Courtauld and Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain.  I did Hoyland last week; now for Auerbach (the only one still living and, very much, still painting).

Below are two of my favourite paint “cakes”; the earlier paintings are REALLY thick, the paint in semi-detached curls in some cases.  The paint is built up almost into reliefs or sculptures on the canvas.  “Earls Court Road, Winter” (1953)  is brown, black, grey and almost green, a scabby mass of wrinkled oil like a chunk of mud excavated from the site and hung in the gallery.  The paint gets progressively thinner as the years pass, but it’s always oily, slippery, layered and brushed through other colours, picking them up on the way.

auerbach eow on bed

EOW Nude on Bed (1959)

auerbach eow half length

EOW Half-Length Nude (1958)

The heads and portraits are pretty much all fabulous; some of the cityscapes, parks and buildings less so.  I found myself thinking the sacrilegious thought about the picture below: “I could have done that when I was 11”; and then three or four more times, with others, “Mornington Crescent Looking South” (1996) and “The House” (2011), for instance.  The point is, I didn’t and Auerbach did, although not at 11.  Auerbach invites this sort of random, outlaw thought by stating (on the wall, at the start)  that he wants us to consider each picture as a thing in itself, not an example of how he was painting in a given decade.

auerbach vincent terrace

Interior Vincent Terrace (1982 – 4)

As always with Auerbach exhibitions, we were plagued with those who stand for minutes, an inch away from the surface, sometimes delivering lectures to their girlfriends – it’s always men, I’m sorry to say – and blocking everyone else’s access to that picture.  It’s stupid of course, because the portraits mostly resolve into quite startlingly sharp images from about 12 feet away.  Up close, they are a mass of intricate, indecipherable whorls.  Sometimes, they are better like that, though.

I’ve lots more to say on this exhibition, but I’m going for the third time tomorrow, so I’ll save it for next time.

Lanyon, the “Glider”  Paintings, Courtauld Gallery

lanyon solo flight

Solo Flight

I reckon about 20 pieces of work in this exhibition, staggeringly beautiful images; blue curtains of rain or mist, vortexes, cloud, coastline, reproduced in his gestural swipes and sweeps, scrapings, splatters, dribbles and pools – no, oceans – of deep green/blue.  He’s painting the invisible air currents a lot of the time.  There are also several of his assemblages. incorporating thick bits of broken blue glass, scrawled with black paint.

lanyon cross country

Cross Country

It was startling, then, to see two paintings,”Near Cloud” and “North East”,  both from 1964 (the year of his death, after a glider crash) which were “emptied out”, like late de Koonings.  They were flat, untextured, thinly painted, almost diagrammatic.  What happened there?

Sluice Art Fair, by the Oxo Tower

Lots of little art works, some very classy; photographic prints, collages, tiny drawings on blocks – but at gasp-inducing prices.  For example, a small square with some very attractive gestural lines and patterns sketched on it, by Kark Bielik, was priced at £800.00!  Clearly, the labour theory of value not operating in the art world at any level (obvious, I suppose).

One of those riveting and irritating films in which disparate images are flung before your eyes for less than a second before they are thrust out (images, not eyes) by another.  Your mind is always processing them in retrospect.  A lot of war images – there go some Russian attackers! Now it’s a mine going off! – in this one; I think we saw the prototype of this sort of film montage at the Biennale a couple of years ago, by Stan VanDerBeek  (Blackpaint 414).   This one’s by Laura Pawela.

Gargantua and Pantagruel and Finnegans Wake

No doubt someone has done a thesis on it, but reading these simultaneously – well, a bit of one after a bit of the other, as it were – I was struck again by the lists.  They both, Rabelais and Joyce, like a lovely long list of silly names, or disgusting objects, or what have you.  By long, I mean pages in Joyce’s case.  Sometimes funny – often irritating.

 

buff tit 2

Buff Tit,

Blackpaint

19.10.15

 

Advertisements

Blackpaint 504 – Giving Birth, Kicking the Dog, Sucking the Toes…

July 21, 2015

UrbanArtBrixton

Here’s what our my pitch looked like, weekend before last –

urbanart1

 

urbanart2

Whitechapel Open, Whitechapel Gallery

It struck me as a sort of anti – RA Summer Exhibition.  There was a brick corner; a film of artists wrapping, with great difficulty, a huge sheet of gold leaf around the half-built top storey of a building; Stezaker-like collages of a woman’s leg appearing from fabric furniture;  some meticulously beautiful neo – Constructivist drawings:  very few paintings – my favourite was Karl Bielik (below).

bielik

Slice, Karl Bielik

I was lucky enough to go to the private view, the guest of art teachers; as the free drinks flowed, I stood at the edge of the gallery and took in a most impressive sound installation – the roar of several hundred lubricated arty types yelling into each other’s faces at close quarters; truly impressive.

Pangaea II, Saatchi Gallery

Art from Africa and Latin America; by turns, huge, colourful, sexual, grotesque – a woman beginning to saw a giant turtle in half – an image to make you wince – magical-realist (the trees) and graphically terrific (Abebe).

fedderico herrero

Federico Herrero

dawit abebe

Dawit Abebe

 

Ian McEwan

He seems to have difficulty with endings; McEwan is up there with Stephen King for keeping you reading, but he’s much better than the ending of Amsterdam indicates – he can’t seem to sort out whether it’s a thriller, a tragedy, a satire or a black comedy and goes for Roald Dahl to wind it up.  Solar, too, goes astray at the end, turning into Tom Sharpe.  Enduring Love (the balloon one) was brilliant throughout – until the end, when the hitch-hiking prof and his student girlfriend show up.  And the feuding hippy gangsters weren’t convincing, either.

Having just finished “A Child in Time” (1987), I read a couple of reviews from the time and was staggered to find that the prime minister in the book was supposed to be female.  McEwan avoided “sexing” the PM deliberately, but it must have seemed obvious to anybody reading at the time and living under the Thatcher regime.  In some respects, his near future is strangely old fashioned now, of course – telephone boxes that people use, typewriters, porters on railway stations – but, apart from the licensed beggars, the politics and the media stuff sounds pretty much the same.

There’s a detailed account – that makes it sound cool and detached; it’s not – of childbirth in the book; are there many others by male authors?  I don’t mean midwives calling for hot water, and screams from behind closed doors, but from the bedside, or even the bed (or wherever)?  I’ve found an article from the Wire and one by Alison Mercer in the Guardian – they mention Anna Karenina, The Handmaid’s Tale, Gone with the Wind and Tristram Shandy, but not McEwan.

L’Age d’Or

modot

The unfettered rage of the fabulous Gaston Modot, jacket smeared with mud (?), kicking dogs, knocking the blind man over, yelling abuse at innocent passers-by, slapping the matron who spills his drink – good for you, Gaston! – and Lya Lys, his unattainable object, sucking with increasing enthusiasm on the toes of the statue….  “Magganificent!” as Waldemar Januszczak would say.

lys

 

Judges 3, King James Bible – Ehud killeth Eglon

The most chilling description of an assassination I’ve read: “…And Ehud….took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.”  Vengeance, intolerance, massacre, rape, slavery – it’s all there, sanctioned – often, indeed, demanded – by God.

 

Megiddo

Megiddo (finished version)

Blackpaint

18.07.15