Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Noland’

Blackpaint 528 – Mondrian, de Keyser, Hoyland – and Leonardo (no, the other one)

January 17, 2016

Paintings, not Painters

In line with what I said last week, I’ve decided to put up three paintings I’ve nicked from the twittersphere because I like them.  I don’t think the artists are particularly famous – although I’ve heard of Terry Greene and seen his stuff “in the flesh”, so to speak – if they are, my apologies.  You can find more of their work online, of course.

michelle hold

Michelle Hold

She lives and works in Italy.

 

leyla murr

Leyla Murr

More stuff on Saatchi.

 

terry greene

Terry Greene

Lives and works in West Yorkshire apparently.  I saw some of his work a while back at the dalla Rosa gallery.

Hoyland, Caro, Noland, Pace Gallery, W1

Dropped in to see this exhibition yesterday – turns out it was the last day.  Lucky for us, but not for you if you’re in London – it was great.  Here are some pics:

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Caro, Hoyland, Caro (behind column), Hoyland

 

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Caro, Hoyland

 

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Noland  (the surface is like suede)

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Noland – touch of Diebenkorn here?

Raoul de Keyser and Early Mondrian – The David Zwirner Gallery, W1

The Mondrians are amazing – farm paintings, cows, trees and rivers; like Van Gogh without the inner fire.  De Keyser, as always, is strangely mundane – but strangely interesting…

de keyser 1

de Keyser – touch of William Gear?

 

de keyser 2

de Keyser – this one’s tiny.

The Revenant (2015), Alejandro Inarritu

the revenant

I saw this yesterday and I doubt I will see a better mainstream film this year.  The cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezky) is superlative; the shot of the snaking river, the party lost in the mountains, Glass walking across the snow river (see above), the fires, tiny points of light in the darkness (bit of Auden there), the woman floating on air, the Caspar David Friedrich dream sequence at the ruined church… it’s all just ravishing.  An inspiring film too; I was inspired to go for a run after yoga, in the snow this morning.

Now to get the film references out of the way, starting with the visuals: Aguirre, Wrath of God; Black Robe; Dersu Uzala; Dances with Wolves; Jeremiah Johnson; Gladiator (visits from deceased wife and family); The Shining (trivial I know, but still…); and anything with snow in it.  I’m not bothering with bear attacks in films, too many of them.

It also made me think of Redford in All is Lost and that climbing documentary, Touching the Void…  And literary reference; “Butcher’s Crossing”, John Williams.  And several Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson  and Wild West Annuals from the 1950s.

Ridiculous article in the Observer by Carole Cadwalladr, who described it as “pain porn” and associated the film and its audience – us – with Isil burning that poor Jordanian pilot in a cage and putting it on the internet.  I thought the film’s “message” was never give up while there’s breath in the body – in fact, it was openly stated.  The revenge was fully justified, if not fully taken and most of the men, apart from the French trappers, behaved reasonably, given the time and place.  I could even see Fitzgerald’s point of view – apart from killing Glass’s son, of course.

In any case, there’s a world of difference between watching the actors killing each other in a film and watching the actual murder of real human beings.  As for the rape scene, it was ugly (properly), brief, in no way titillating and its inclusion was justified with regard to both history and the narrative.  The reaction of the Native American woman, judging by her expression during the ordeal, was portrayed as defiant, stoical and unbowed.

Last word on the film – the bear’s acting was brilliant and Leonardo was very brave to take her on; I understand they can be unpredictable, no matter how well trained..

Readers in London may wish to come to the private view for my partner’s exhibition, as advertised below – but please carry on to the bottom to see MY  new picture…

cloisters

 

playing card woman1

Playing Card Woman

Blackpaint

Jan 17th 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 290

August 26, 2011

More from the Guggenheim Bilbao

Kenneth Noland – “April Time”; a huge yellow ochre colour field with pastel green, orange and toothpaste borders.  Also “Time Shift”; equally huge blue and green chevron on white field.

Frank Stella – Orange and pink, airbrushed ? half wheels, in fluorescent paint, cut to shape.  Check out Stella in the 60s in the DVD Painters on Painting – he’s like a young Woody Allen, with a strong sense of grievance.

Morris Louis – “Saraband”; acrylic resin on canvas.  Stripes of dulled colour, oranges,  crimson, greens,  dulled by layering over darker pigment.

Helen Frankenthaler -” Canal”; poured acrylic on unbleached canvas, blue/orange, staining to blue  , then to grey.

I think I’m right in saying that there are only three women painters amongst the abstractionists on show: Frankenthaler, da Silva and Elaine de Kooning (a lovely painting like a sheaf of highly coloured leaves).  There are more female sculptors and conceptualists, however, in the sections entitled (for some non-luminous reason) “The Luminous Interval”:

Kiki Smith –   a group of body sculptures; body with scarf “entrails” dangling; pile of heads, legs, arms linked by a chain; severed, bloody forearms, palms up, on a cushion “bed”; a leaden man bent double as if touching toes, a great scab of slag enclosing his backside; tiny black bacon rasher-like things, on tiny tables; a man-thing crouching half way up a wall with a long strip of black shit emerging from the anus – title: “Shitbody”.  So, some fairly physical items there.

Annette Messager – An enormous exhibit of dolls, gloves, stockings and a multitude of other fabric-based bits and pieces, hanging from red threads to make a sort of tree thing.

Louise Bourgeois – hands and forearms entwined on a stone block, in a cage, surrounded by large circular mirrors.

Mona Hatoum – room-sized, open “crate” made of shelving, containing light bulbs going on and off.

Rachel Whiteread – Flat-bottomed, amber coloured wax bath mould; white bookshelves with whited-out books and white boxes on platforms.

Marina Abramovic – her strangely sexy – maybe it’s just me – video of her scrubbing the skeleton (sounds like an Australian metaphor), previously described at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Wanguchi Muti – Darkened room with a wall of fox(?) pelts at one end, scores of upside-down wine bottles dripping onto a long table.  Strong smell of stale wine.

Common elements – use of whole rooms, body parts, hanging things, bodily functions, cages. 

Last word on Gug next blog.

Alexander Nevsky

You can see that Olivier saw Eisenstein’s film before making Henry V; there’s the baggage train, the shower of arrows, the charge (across ice instead of green fields), even the single combat between Alexander (Henry) and the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights (Constable of France).  Branagh’s 1991 remake of Henry V owes more to Welles’  “Chimes at Midnight” than Olivier’s Henry – especially the mud and blood and  slow motion in the battle scenes, as well as Robbie Coltrane’s brief turn as Falstaff.  One place where Olivier’s version still stands way above Branagh’s is the speech before the battle; Olivier didn’t see fit to ruin it by having “stirring” music swelling behind Shakespeare’s words. 

Conversations with Fellini, edited by Costanzo Costantini (Harvest,1995)

A fascinating book, in the sense that the questions are shaped to appear tricky, demanding, sometimes aggressive – but which Fellini fields with self-deprecation, humour and beautifully turned metaphors.  The book is fraudulent, therefore, but the fraud is clearly  part of the Fellini package, so it rings true to the man.  Mastroianni was clearly born to play Fellini’s alter ego.

Blackpaint

25/08/11

Blackpaint 170

July 22, 2010

Alice Neel at Whitechapel

At first glance, I thought these would be mediocre, a bit sketchy, not finished off properly, dull colours like Neue Sachlichkeit stuff – portraits, boring.  Second glance proved me drastically wrong. 

They look as if done quickly, impressionistic, an element of caricature and definitely a touch of NS, Christian Schad, Modersohn – Becker.  I even got a taste of Diane Arbus from the flat stares and awkward poses.  Sometimes, they taper off into mere outline (hands,  legs, sofas).  However, they clearly capture the idiosyncracies of the subjects – a frown, slight sneer, complacent smirk, nervous glance, effusive smile… 

The best portraits: the youth Hartley, Andy Warhol with his scars and several inches of underpants,  the two men immediately on your right as you enter – the serious man in the sleeveless pullover against the Duccio yellow background (or is it more Van Gogh sunflower?), and the fierce man with the slight sneer in the next picture.  Look at the shiny patch on his forehead. 

Her flesh tones are greenish, apart from the pregnant women and babies upstairs.  She used a heavy black outline in the 50’s and 60’s, changing to a Van Gogh-like light blue outline in the 70’s and 80’s.

Upstairs are the pregnant women, mothers and fat, staring, slightly sinister babies (Small Assassin, Ray Bradbury would have recognised them).  one of the women in particular looks dazed and desperate, the picture earning Neel feminist acclaim.  There is a beautiful, young, pregnant woman on a sofa facing the doors, the line of her figure strong and confident, as if done with one sure, single stroke.

In the next room, old age; dim eyes, arthritic knuckles, hunched postures – but still, all recognisable individuals with their vanities and concerns.  Her own self portrait is here, naked and unflattering (of course, stupid to think it might be).

There are some clinkers here, though; I thought the buildings were poor, as was most of the stuff from the thirties and the man with three pricks was like a really bad imitation of R. Crumb.  There were a couple of nasty caricatures, both of arty women.  A flattering portrait of a woman academic she obviously liked had a big patch of red, some ochre I think, and some grey scribble in the background, prompting someone to say on the blurb that this showed Neel could have been an Abstract Expressionist – utter rubbish on this evidence.  But, on the whole, a great exhibition.  I’d like to see it with some Lucian Freuds, to compare their approaches.

Painters on Painting 

DVD on sale at the Whitechapel; saw it at the ICA some months ago.  The magnificence of some of the paintings is too great to exaggerate; Hoffman, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Johns, Pollock, Frankenthaler, underlining the sheer offensive silliness of that snide remark on the caption in the Neel exhibition.  Unfortunately, some of these boys can really ramble on.  Frank Stella is like Woody Allen, obsessed with critics who found his work cold compared with Ab Exes.  Jasper Johns, like a drawling character from Frasier and Jules Olitsky, obsessed with the edges of his paintings and brandishing a huge cat (as if about to dip it in paint and swipe it across the canvas.

Adrian Searle

In the Guardian, reviewing a drawing exhibition at the White Cube and a book by Deanna Petherbridge “the Primacy of Drawing” (says it all, really), quotes her as follows: “Drawing is the basis of all art and visual thinking…Drawing renders thoughts visible”.  Sorry, when I draw, I draw – when I paint, I paint.  I don’t, usually, do sketches.  I think painting is a different, but not lesser, process; unless, of course, you define sweeps of the brush or dabbles in the paint as drawing.  I think, unlike Robert Hughes and his followers, that you – sorry, some painters –  can produce magnificent paintings that are not based on drawing prowess, and many Ab Ex and others have done just that.

I’m pleased to say that Kenneth Noland more or less says just that in the DVD.  He calls it One Shot painting.  Good on you, Kenneth; RIP.

Hereward 1, by Blackpaint

Blackpaint

22.07.10

Blackpaint 35

January 10, 2010

Kenneth Noland

In yesterday’s obituary of Noland, Michael McNay recalls Clement Greenberg’s use of the term “post-painterly abstractionists” to describe Noland and others, and remarks how, for Greenberg, “the purely colour-based paintings of Noland and the others marked out a different and more advanced stage of art’s march to absolute abstraction”. 

This sounds very odd now, the idea of art as a rolling process heading in a particular direction towards fulfilment, in some sort of Hegelian or Marxian progression.  Further on in the piece, McNay mentions the “wholesale rejection by younger painters…of modernist abstraction” in the 1960s.

Now, of course, everything is fragmented and one can cut and paste from these past movements – nothing is original.  this, thank goodness, does not mean the same as “nothing is worthwhile doing”; but I suppose every piece that is produced of whatever kind fits into some existing category, with ready points of comparison by which the critic can assess its worth.

Is that really so, or is there true originality “out there”? (horrible cliche, like “I don’t think so”, or “Do you know what?” or “Good luck with that.”)  Here’s another one; Answers on a postcard to….

Taschen

Yesterday, I bought the two new Taschen books “Abstract Art” and “Abstract Expressionism”.  Both full of images of great beauty and profundity that I am tempted to describe in superlatives like “stunning” and “poignant” – but I won’t, because I am of a certain age and culture, and besides they are cliches.

Something I noticed was the use of marginalised or obscured colours in two paintings in particular.  The first, by Barnett Newman, “who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue I”.  This is at first glance a red rectangle with a narrow stripe of blue running down the left margin.  Only at second glance (perhaps as a reaction to the title) do you notice the much narrower, and ragged stripe of yellow down the right margin.

The other picture, by Robert Motherwell, is one of the famous “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” series, this one no.34.  In this version, the bulbous black figures in the foreground partially hide background squares of red yellow ochre and blue, arranged in rough columns.  I think I’ve seen a version in the Tate Modern, and I’m sure that it was on a background of plain white.  The colours (of the Spanish Republican flag) transform the image from an abstract one to a symbolic one to my mind – although I suppose you could argue that the title itself does that, to an extent anyway.

More about these stunning and poignant paintings of great beauty and profundity to follow.

Today, I listened to no music at all – but I watched Wolfie Adams beat Dave Chisnall in the darts final, to the accompaniment of the most surreal commentary yet from Tony Green and his colleague.

Blackpaint

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