Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Smith’

Blackpaint 662 – The London Art Fair and Son of Saul

January 23, 2020

London Art Fair – until this Sunday, 26th Jan.

Up at the Angel tube, turn right, over the road and carry on for 5 mins to the Horticultural Halls (sorry – the Business Design Centre).  This year, the featured gallery on the ground floor is the Southampton.  The first two paintings below are in the Southampton collection – I love them both, especially the Roger Hilton, with that great, charcoal, sweeping line (see also Brett Whiteley’s drawings).

 

Matthew Smith

Touch of Phoebe from “Friends” here, maybe…

 

Roger Hilton

Photo doesn’t really do justice to the blue background, which is more… better in the “flesh”.

 

Brian Fielding

Big and in your face, on a partition at the end of a row.  Floaters in red and ochre-ish yellow on that turquoise – ish ground, lovely.

 

Martin Brewster

I like these, especially the one on the right; my partner scorns them, however, as “typical art fair fodder”.  Her taste is more reliable – but it’s my blog,

Keith Vaughan

Very untypical Keith Vaughan, I think; Vaughan is everywhere at the Fair (along with Adrian Heath and Alan Davie, I’m pleased to say) and commands huge prices – £25.000 for a small drawing, for instance.

 

Katherine Jones

Beautiful prints – she’s our niece, but that hasn’t influenced my choice in the slightest degree.  Sorry, not prints: watercolours.

 

Nikoleta Sekulovic

This is big – life-size.  Great painting (drawing?), poor photo.  Love the line – like Hockney.

 

George (?) Peter Lanyon

I think this is the famous Lanyon, not his father or uncle or something.  Never heard or seen him called George before.  I don’t think it’s great, but included it because it’s by the great man and is nothing like his usual output.

Rachael Read

This single painting is on two grounds; thick, wrinkled brown paper.  Don’t know exactly why, but this adds a degree of attraction to the painting, for me anyway.  looks a little like those little works on paper that Roger Hilton did, from his sickbed, in his last years.  But blown up 10 or 15 times, of course.

Son of Saul, dir. Laszlo Nemes (2015)

This was on TV the other night and I was unable to avoid watching it, as I’ve done several opportunities in the past.  It sounded far too harrowing to sit through if there was an alternative.  It’s set in Auschwitz, towards the end of 1944,  when the big transports from Hungary arrived and the massacres and burnings depicted in the film took place on the edge of the woods; also when there were breakouts involving members of the Sonderkommando, one of which is depicted in the film.  The focus throughout is closely fixed on the main character; the horrific events he sees and takes part in, are blurred and obscured to a degree – but you hear them clearly.  He becomes fixated on achieving some sort of proper burial for a boy victim of the gas chamber; he wants a rabbi to conduct the ceremony as properly as possible.

When I was at university in the early 70s, we studied Peter Weiss’s play, “The Investigation”; this was actually taken from the transcripts of the Auschwitz trials of the 1960s.  Weiss simply selected and split the testimonies into “cantos”.  At the time, Adorno’s dictum, or suggestion, was that the Holocaust had somehow killed art – silence was the only appropriate response from artists.

A fascinating article in the Guardian today (NOT something you will often hear from me) by Howard Jacobson points out that there have been a number of novels and films on the subject since then, some great, some not so much. He identifies the emergence of a disturbing subgenre, the Auschwitz novel:  “Auschwitz Lullaby, The Child of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz, The Druggist of Auschwitz, The Tattooist of Auschwitz…”  These books, which claim to be based on truth, i.e. “Faction”, use the mass extermination programme carried out by the Nazis in Auschwitz as a backdrop to the story.  Jacobson articulates the issue lucidly and should be read.

Actually, thinking about it, Nemes may have done a similar thing in “Saul” – although it feels as if he has done a right thing; it’s ABOUT the Holocaust, rather than using it as a backdrop; but then again, I don’t know.

 

I got a print set for Christmas; these are the first attempts:

 

Blackpaint’s First Prints

23.01.20

Blackpaint 432 – The Scots, the Rollers and the Beast with Two Backs

January 30, 2014

The Scottish Colourists 

I got a cheap little book of postcards from Tate Britain of the paintings of the above – great, I think.  Cadell has three styles at least; cartoon, a sort of lush Singer Sargent/William Nicholson blend and a simplified representation of colour and shape that looks almost like Pop Art.

cadell1

Cadell, Blue Fan

Peploe is more like Cezanne, with a heavy black outline:

peploe1

I love them.  Why should the Scots have such good painters?  The earlier Glasgow Boys, Arthur Melville and his mates, were fantastic too (see earlier Blackpaints).

Guildhall

A few great paintings in this free collection in the City, near St.Pauls.  Two beautiful drawings of bishops’ heads by William Dring – couldn’t find them online – and several portraits of women in red flowery dresses by Matthew Smith; the best is a small three quarters portrait, tucked away round a corner.  And one big painting of the river and St. Pauls by John Virtue, black and imposing, that reminded me a bit of Opdahl at Kings Place.

john virtue

It’s much bigger than this.

Bay Area Painters

The figurative paintings of this school are very impressive, particularly those of Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown and of course, David Park.  The furious row between them and the abstract painters seems very odd in retrospect; it’s not as if they are radical realists.

nathan oliveira

 

Nathan Oliveira

The Bay Area painters, of course, were commemorated in the 70s by the Scottish band the Bay City Rollers, who were great fans of the San Francisco artists.   I have nicked Hassel Smith’s great “shithouse wall” remark as the title for my paintings on Twitter; better alternate them with Smith’s.

Inside Llewyn Davis

The new Coen Brothers’ film about a loser singer on the nascent US singer/songwriter scene in 1961.  Black and white, looks great, Oscar Isaac the lead has a great deadpan stare; he’s also a very pleasing singer and guitarist.  For some reason, it’s attracting a lot of criticism for not being political enough; Dave Van Ronk, the artist who provided a sort of starting place for the character, was a socialist like many of the other singers on the circuit.  I think the film is OK as it stands; maybe now someone will make a movie about Pete Seeger.  I suspect it would be too worthy for me.

John Goodman’s character seemed superfluous to me; it did allow Davis to come out with that line about the walking stick, though.

Almayer’s Folly

I have finally finished this, Conrad’s first novel, and I realise why it took me four weeks to get through “Heart of Darkness” (great and important and thin book though it is).  He can’t write “the canoe came to a bend in the river” without describing the river, the sky, the banks, the jungle and the action of the canoe.  Three or four pages, maybe.  It’s great literary, descriptive writing but too much of it.

The Seven Samurai

One of those long, long films that you (or rather I) have to watch whenever it’s on TV.  Just a few seconds of Mifune’s antics and I’m hooked.  But then there is that samurai, the small, skinny one who stands stock still with his sword pointing forward until the enemy charges at him screaming; then, a very slight movement….

 

??????????

 

Beast with Two Backs

Blackpaint

30.01.14