Posts Tagged ‘Mary Heilmann’

Blackpaint 580 – The Best Exhibitions of the Year (and the worst…)

December 29, 2016

Compulsory Annual Review time

Kicking off with exhibitions, in order of merit (sort of):

Abstract Expressionism, RA

Room after room of masterpieces; the (first) red de Kooning and Joan Mitchell’s “Salut Tom” get my prize, but it’s all good stuff.

dk-at-ra

Robert Rauschenberg, Tate Modern

Staggering – although I don’t think he’s a “modern Da Vinci”; his inventiveness is confined to the art world.  I loved everything except the bubbling mud bath.

rob-estate

Hieronymus Bosch, s’Hertegenbosch, Netherlands

Exploding with imagination and an exquisite painter.  Everything on sale in town has a “Bosch” trademark.

bosch john the baptist

Saul Leiter, Photographers Gallery/William Eggleston, National Portrait Gallery

Separate exhibitions but equally brilliant – by sticking them together, I get one more place on my top ten.  Leiter made me think of Cheever and Norman Rockwell; Eggleston of “Psycho” and Arbus.  But they are both much more than that…

saul postmen

Leiter

eggleston 2

Eggleston

Intrigue, James Ensor, RA

Surprisingly brilliant, amazingly varied – and still on, like AbEx and Rauschenberg.

ensor-rhubarb

He does a scintillating vegetable and his skate is rather alarming (see below) – see also Chardin and Soutine for two other skates – but not a pair.

Ensor_TheSkate

William Kentridge, Whitechapel

I think it’s his flick book pictures I like best.

kentridge-1

 

Robert Motherwell, Bernard Jacobson Gallery

mother-4

Round the corner from the other AbExes at the RA, some lovely big pictures that were NOT from the “Requiem for the Spanish Civil War” group.

Etel Adnan, Sackler

Israeli artist; earlier pictures better, I think, reminiscent of de Stael.  Terrific colour and texture.

adnan2

Mary Heilmann, Whitechapel

Any other year, she would have been higher on the list.  I don’t like the spots and the nursery colours, however.

mary heilmann3

 

Russian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

A revelation, before the Revolution (sorry).  Repin, Serov.. brilliant.

Russia Morozov

 

The list doesn’t include Baselitz, Paul Nash, Terence Donovan, Botticelli, Delacroix, Infinite Mix, Turner Prize (!), Saatchi Champagne Life…. what can you do?  An exceptionally brilliant year in every respect, except the US election, terrorist attacks, foreign wars, global warming…

Disappointing…

Georgia O’ Keefe at Tate Modern.  Well, not really – just don’t like her stuff generally (although I DO like the one below).

okmountain

Also disappointing…

Winifred Knights, Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Deluge 1920 Winifred Knights 1899-1947 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1989 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T05532

Too mannered.And…

Wifredo Lam, Tate Modern

lam

Too black and white.  OK, films, museums, DVDs, theatre tomorrow.

lvg3

Cleveland Way, 82

Blackpaint

29/12/16

 

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 559 – Yellow, Pink and Tweedy Things

June 20, 2016

I’m not sure if this is a finished painting or not, or if it’s the right way round.  One thing I am sure of is that it lacks good taste, so that’s a point in its favour.  Like several other paintings I’ve done, it looks a bit like someone running away to the left, trying to escape, perhaps, from the threatening mass of yellow coming in from the right.

yellow one 2

The Yellow Thing

Blackpaint, 20.06.16

 

Mary Heilmann at Whitechapel Gallery

Great free exhibition, some examples below.  One criticism:  too many dots.  They remind me of Smarties and give the whole show a sort of nursery overtone (enhanced by the fluorescent little pieces of furniture).  I know this is not a valid point, but more of an unreconstructed male prejudice, but there we are.

mary heilmann1

This spidery motif is repeated effectively in several other works, as are the spots and stripes.

 

mary heilmann2

Reminds me of that great Vanessa Bell abstract (below), done with less muted colours – and less texture, but texture is something that Heilmann does do elsewhere, swirling her brush where you might expect matt finish.  That pink square in that position must be a reference, surely.

bell abstract

Vanessa Bell

 

mary heilmann3

Still my favourite Heilmann painting; I like the thin, trickle- down effect in that beautiful blue-green.  Terrific exhibition, if you can handle the dots.

New Tate Modern gallery – the Switch House

switch house

The cladding, spaced – out beige bricks (they seem to be supported by rubber washers), looks like tweed.  A vaguely Aztec tweed tower with a pleat up the side.  Inside, blond wood floors and stairs, Fred and Ginger spirals, the “Maria and Peter Kellner Bridge”.  Dizzy, full window views here and there.

Most of the memorable art seemed to be by women; I think they are operating a 50-50 policy now, I guess that’s only in the new bit.  These are the works I remember:

  • Roni Horn’s big glass pink cube.
  • Rebecca Horn’s roomful of surreal costumery, inspired surely by Ernst (feathers) and maypoles (head extension).
  • Lygia Clark’s huge grey metal – well, air conditioning unit, it looks like, lying in the middle of the gallery, as if brought from the Ali Baba kebab restaurant in Bloomsbury (NB – I THINK it’s Clark’s; the labelling generally is infuriatingly difficult to match to the pieces).
  • A roomful of Louise Bourgeois pieces, very similar to those currently on show in the Guggenheim, Bilbao – see last blog – and containing several of the very few paintings of any description in the new bit; Mark Bradford’s big, dark, abstract cityscape-ish picture is the only other thing on a wall, as I recall.

 

roni horn

Roni Horn’s pink cube

  • Ana Lupas, Romanian artist, farmers’ wheat structures, contained in “tins”.
  • Down at the bottom in the tanks, when we went, there was a musician playing a sort of hurdy-gurdy, amplified electronically; it made a clicking drone which seemed to loosen your fillings.

 

Lygia Clark at Alison Jacques Gallery, W1

An exhibition of Clark’s work from the fifties.  She was Brazilian, died in 1988 and made a whole lot of intricate little hinged metal pieces, one of which is in the new Tate Mod gallery – maybe two, if she did the “AC unit”, described above.  But that is neither hinged, nor little…  There is a MOMA catalogue of Clark’s work in the gallery and when you see a whole lot of these contrivances together, they take on the feel of executive desk toys.  I liked the pieces below, however, especially the miniature room – seen a lot of these lately, in the Bilbao Bourgeois show for example.

lygia clark1

 

lygia clark2

lygia clark3

Gomorrah, Sky Atlantic

It’s Series 2, episode 12 or 13 already, but I’ve only just discovered it.  The gangster taste, the violence, the haircuts, the huge, dilapidated, concrete spaceship flats -fantastic, but above all, the language.  Neapolitan dialect, sounds like Portuguese to me, nothing like Italian, and the theme – “Nuje Vulimme ‘Na Speranza” by Nto’ and Lucariello.

gomorrah-tile-a1b8f830

 

yellow one 1

Maybe it’s better this way round?

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20.06.16

 

Blackpaint 333 – Turkish corpses, frenzied nuns and tagliatelli

March 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  As the police, army, doctor and prosecutor search the Turkish countryside at night  for a murder victim, guided (!) by a suspect who can’t recognise the spot, they chat about yogurt (shades of Pulp Fiction and hamburgers);  winds get up that rustle the poplars (Padre Padrone) while the searchers take piss breaks, or peer into the searchlights, or land blows of frustration on the confused (or dissembling) captive.  Two more tiresome film buff references: the countryside resembles that of Iran in Kiarostami’s The Wind will Carry Us – and the interminable dictation of legalese and medicalese to typists by first, the prosecutor, then, the doctor, recalls the two secret police at the end of Tarr’s Satantango.  Three memorable images – a winding road through cornfields, laid out  like a thick straw mat; apples plopping into a fast- running stream and bounding downstream over the boulders; and a wind-blown Turkish homestead, made from the dry earth, it’s yellow lamps glimmering.

Perfect for DVD, I found it 30 minutes too long – I was waiting for the bit where the image would freeze and fade to music, but several of these images arrived and moved on into another sequence; arrival at the police station, post-mortem…

The Devils

I’d forgotten just how brilliant this film was and how many famous faces it contains; apart from Reed, Redgrave and Dudley Sutton, there’s Max Adrian and Brian Murphy from Man about the House (or was it Robin’s Nest?), as the two crazed physicians in leather masks.  They sort through the disgorged vomit of the crazed Ursuline nuns, seeking proof of Satanic practices – they find children’s organs, semen and – what’s this?  “A carrot”.  Louis XIII, shooting Protestants dressed as birds and released from giant cages to run across the king’s firing line, shoots one, who tumbles into a pond; as he sinks, the king says “Bye Bye… Blackbird”.  And music by Peter Maxwell Davies!

Joan Mitchell, Last Paintings, at Hauser and Wirth

Five huge canvases from her last decade; the familiar brushwork, like shredded paper, or wide strips tumbled together into a pile, or standing in glowing, superimposed stripes like trees (in “Trees”, 90-91), or multicoloured bundles of tagliatelli, in “Sunflowers”.  The burning, tangled colours a little more raw than usual, and some noticeable dry brush drags.  Upstairs, the Tondos, portholes looking out onto the Grande Vallee – I like the one with the glossy white at the top – and from the big ones, “Then, Last Time, No.4”, the tumbled together one, in dark blue and green.

Michael Raedecker

Also at Hauser and Wirth, at the gallery round the corner from the Mitchell (North Gallery).  His pictures are made with thread on large canvases painted in metallic greys and greens.  Wedding cakes, chandeliers, window and row of bungalows.  The bungalows are cut into panels and re-sorted amongst several canvases to create discontinuities. At the upper and lower edges of the canvases, white blobs that are reminiscent of Peter Doig.  The press release describes his work as “subtle and unsettling… enigmatic” – which seems fair enough.

Mary Heilmann

Finally, and also at Hauser and Wirth – all three of these exhibitions are free, by the way – the above; piercingly, blindingly vivid nursery colours on boxy chairs and small, biscuit-like paintings.  Irritating at first, but worth hanging around for 10 minutes until your eyes adjust.  One great picture in blues and greens of waves piling up – she uses an effect that makes the dark blues look like flattened tubes spouting diagonally across the little canvas; reminded me of that great Albert Irvin, “Flodden”,  I was writing about a few weeks ago – but that was huge; this is small.

Blackpaint

29/03/12