Posts Tagged ‘Man Ray’

Blackpaint 682 – Sex, Art, Stoats and Greenfinches

December 1, 2020

Grimsditch and the stoat – HS2

I was dismayed to hear on the TV that Grimsditch Wood on the Ridgeway path has been destroyed by the HS2 bandwagon.  I remember walking the Grimsditch stretch in the middle of the night 30 and more years ago – lines of huge trees closely enclosing the path, tangles of bramble and ground elder behind the trees.  Very Blair Witch.  In the daylight, I was confronted by a stoat, rearing up to face me, threatening my left calf; then it turned and streaked off.  Now, if the reports are correct, it’s gone,

 

Those terms and phrases…

Grown up, as in “We want a proper grown-up discussion about this…”.  In other words, I’ll tell you what I think and you can be grown-up and agree with me – or disagree, if you insist on being childish.

On a daily basis.  Why not just “Every day…”?

So..  as in the start to every answer to a question in a formal situation.  It used to mean “as a consequence”…

We are where we are / It is what it is…  No we aren’t and no it isn’t.

 

Circles and Squares, The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists,  Caroline Maclean (Bloomsbury 2020)

I think I wrote about this fascinating book last time, but more staggering facts about these various groups reveal themselves, or rather Maclean reveals them, as I read on:  for example, Eileen Agar was sent on a steam ship from Buenos Aires to school in England by her mother – who sent a cow and an orchestra with her, for her dairy and musical requirements.  There is a photo of Herbert Read in the book; “What a drip he looks,” I thought.  On the next page, I was shamed to discover  that he won the Military Cross AND a DSO on the Western Front.  In 1937, at the time of the Surrealist Exhibition in London, Roland Penrose invited a group of artists to Lambe Creek in Cornwall; it sounds as if it was a veritable shagfest; Agar was there, as was Lee Miller, Eluard and Nusch, Man Ray, Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst.  Miller and Agar danced naked in the headlights of Herbert Read’s car.

There  also many interesting facts about art…

 

Stroke

On Sunday, I had a slight stroke and as a consequence, spent an afternoon, a night and the next day in the Stroke Unit of St George’s Hospital in Tooting (London).  I had a full complement of tests: Covid (ouch! that nostril probe); ECG (twice); CT scan; MRSA; chest Xray; Echo heart scan; MRI brain and neck scan; numerous tests for neural or brain damage from a team of physios.  I’ve probably forgotten a few.  The staff were friendly, respectful, efficient and attentive, despite the obvious demands of their jobs.

In addition, I got a chicken and sweetcorn sandwich, a chicken stew dinner, cheese and biscuits, porridge, tea and coffee.  And a bag of medication.  And when I left, I hadn’t parted with a penny.

The most interesting test was the MRI scan; you are laid out on a metal stretcher with your head contained in a sort of frame and with a plate over your face so that you don’t move.  Your head is then rolled into a huge drum (the rest of your body goes with it, I’m pleased to say) and a series of very loud electronic sounds bombard your (protected) ears for about 10 minutes.  The sounds are just like those in a video game – and, oddly, like the song of a greenfinch, played through a huge amplifier.

 

Some new and old paintings to finish:

 

Pink Leg

 

Inside Out

 

Black Storm

 

Rear View

 

Seated Green and Pink

 

Untitled

 

Gone in the Dark

Blackpaint

1/12/20

 

 

Blackpaint 263

March 25, 2011

Burning Backs

In “A Prophet”, the ghost of the Arab that Malik is forced to kill has a burning back in a dream sequence – and in “Shutters Island”, the ghost of deCaprio’s wife has a burning back – in a dream sequence.

Neither of these facts mean much, except, perhaps, an interesting case of convergent imagery – but they do bring me quite nicely to surrealism.

Surrealists

I used really to love surrealism, but now find the pictures rather boring, for the most part.  I think the problem is the lack of painterly qualities inherent, or required by the concept. There are no surfaces; since the purpose is to explore and exploit the subconscious, the skills required are those of the imaginative illustrator.  The juxtaposition of unlikely objects demands the ability to depict those objects as clearly as possible – hence, the realism in surrealism.  With a few exceptions, the attraction of the paintings and objects rests in the mystery and atmosphere created by the images – the empty, night-time squares and porticos of de Chirico, the nudes on escalators of Delvaux – not in the qualities of the painting itself. The exceptions that occur to me are Gorky, Matta, Lam, Tanguy and Dominguez in Decalcomania mode.  You could make a case that the first three are hardly surrealists at all.  What about Miro and Picasso?  They passed through the movement on their way elsewhere.  Dali?  Staggering draughtsman, fantastic, memorable images but fits the above description, surely.

Anyway, for interest’s sake, my top ten surrealist pictures (or objects) in order of preference:

1.  Joan Miro – Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird (1926).  The one with the blobby figure, huge foot and line showing stone’s flight.  I’m not even sure it’s surreal – but it’s a great image.

2.  Max Ernst – Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale (1924).  Tiny construction, man fleeing across a chalet roof – dreamlike, touch of menace.

3.  Man Ray – Gift  (1921).  The iron with the nails on the bottom.  Simple, elegant, funny, dripping with irony.

4.  Meret Oppenheim – the furry cup, saucer and spoon (1936).  As per Man Ray.

5.  Giacometti – The Palace at 4.00am.  Like a birdcage – there is a bird in the top section.  I love the title; I always get it confused with the Max Ernst Nightingale.

6.  Toyen – Silken Feasts (1962).  There’s a lot of sex and fetishism in surrealism, of course, since it deals with the subconscious (see Bunuel and footwear); this is one of the sexiest and most fetishistic works.

7.  Richard Oelze – Expectation (1936).  A crowd in 30s hats and raincoats stare at gathering black clouds across heathland – waiting.  I’ve not heard of him other than this, but I found, when I thought of doing this, that this picture sprang to mind before any other.

8.  Paul Delvaux – The Iron Age (1951).  A naked woman (surprisingly) sits, legs stretched before her, while in the night-time background, a goods train bears down on her from the marshalling yards.  Penguin used the background for the cover of Celine’s “Journey to the End of the Night”; even without the woman, it still somehow has a surreal eeriness.

9.  Dali – Sleep (1937).  The long, sleeping head, propped up on sticks.  There could of course, have been several more; the soft watches, the elephants, the crouching figure by the egg, the figure ripping itself apart – but this one came to mind instantly.

10.  Magritte. There has to be a Magritte, since he was the most consistent and faithful surrealist in the sense of the juxtaposition of unlikely objects – but I really hate the way he paints women’s nipples, red and angry as if infected.  Puts me off him totally; I suppose the one with the broken window, in which the fragments are pieces of sky….

The Killing

I think its Morten, Troels’ researcher.  Find out tomorrow.

Listening to Jelly Roll Morton, Sidewalk Blues.

“You’re so dumb, you should be president of the Deaf and Dumb Society!”

“Sorry, Boss; but I’ve got the Sidewalk Blues” – a non sequitur fit for a piece on surrealism.

Sorry – no new paintings yet.

Blackpaint

25.03.11