Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Dower’

Blackpaint 573 – Imperfect Artspeak, Hughes and Narcos

October 25, 2016

Imperfect Reverse, Camberwell College of Arts

Some beautiful geometric abstracts on display here, some of them from the 60s and 70s Systems Group, some from younger artists working now.  I quote from the notes: “The term “imperfect reverse” intimates a move towards a structural logic, generative grammar, allowing an outside system or set of rules to drive the making of a series of works….This exhibition questions that transformation through a coercion that is both temporal and aspectual.  Examining an operational shift in working process towards a synthesis of experience.”

So there you are.  Whatever it means, there’s no doubt that the pictures are good; a selection of the best below:

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Sharon Hall

 

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Andrew Bick

 

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Richard Caldicott

 

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Natalie Dower

 

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Laurence Noga

The exhibition is at Camberwell until November, when it moves to Ruskin University Cambridge on the 23rd.

The Shock of the New

I’ve been watching Robert Hughes’ great series again – I recorded it ages ago, don’t know if it’s on DVD or some other source, but if so, it should be got hold of.  Apart from Hughes’ unmatched portentous delivery, the close-ups of the artworks struck me as the best I’ve seen – particularly Cezanne, Matisse and Bonnard.  Next to them, the dreary horror of Munch is fully exposed.  I know, he was doing something else – but he’s still a most depressing painter.

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Matisse, the Red Studio

 

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Cezanne, Basket of Apples

 

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Munch

I rest my case.  Hughes describes Matisse as the painter of the “Great Indoors” and that sounds about right to me; his landscapes are usually seen through a window frame.  Munch is often outdoors – but his skies are always dark, or lurid, weighing down upon humanity, as in the Ensor-ish group of walking dead above.  One of the world’s great painters obviously, but I just can’t be doing with him.

It’s always interesting to watch programmes from decades ago, to see how times and tastes have altered.  Hughes gives a great deal of prominence to Claes Oldenburg, for example, an artist who seems to me to be much less fashionable now; although perhaps I’m underestimating the influence of his giant soft sculptures.  Also, not enough de Kooning and no Joan Mitchell in there…..

Narcos

narcos

The Netflix series based on the life of Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar, it seems to me to have a touch of Sorrentino about it – in several scenes I was reminded of Il Divo.  Multiple killings of course, and I’ve only seen the first episode of series one.  The box of the DVD says it’s a blend of “The Wire” and “Goodfellas” – I thought “Gomorrah”, but then it’s early days for me.

I’ve been trying to do something different in my painting, having realised some time ago that I’m doing the same images over and over (even if they are in a different palette or the other way up); I think I’ve managed it a little in the one below – but maybe not…

 

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Fire, Water and Cloud

Blackpaint

25.10.16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackpaint 490 – Geometrics in Fulham, History at the Hayward, Missile on the Verandah

April 12, 2015

Remembering Poetry

I’ve been reading the Four Quartets for the first time (why did Eliot call them that?  They’re each in five parts.  Is it that there are four of them and they go together to make a whole?  But then they would be one quartet, surely…).

Anyway, after reading them through a couple of times with the assistance of the notes of Hermann Servotte and then reading them again right through, I set out to write down what I remembered.  It went something like this:

The briar and the rose….brown edges of swimming pool….wounded surgeon….ruined millionaire…..dove…..Pentecostal fire…….frost and fire……”Yet being someone Other”……..broken king…….”Zero summer”…..blah, blah, blah….brown baked face…..jaws of sea……tin leaves……winter lightning….. You get the point; what you remember in the first instance is concrete images, plus a few memorable phrases (which might stick, like “zero summer”, because you’ve no idea what they mean).

I should say I loved the poems and thoroughly recommend them – I’m sure this TS Eliot will go far.

“From Centre”; Loud and Western building, 65 Broughton Road, London SW6, until 26th April

A pop-up exhibition of clean-cut, texture-free geometric abstract painting and sculpture.  The great venue, an old works of some sort, being converted into flats, I should think; very white, wooden staircases, lovely balcony and some great abstracts.

 

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No.317, Fold, 2012 – Rana Begum 

Paint on powder-coated mild steel.

 

from centre 2

 Polymorph, 2013 – Natalie Dower

For some reason, I thought these were young artists; then I checked the biogs.  Natalie Dower is 84; others include Tess Jaray (b.1937), Trevor Sutton (b.1948), Peter Lowe (b.1938)… Begum (b.1977) is a mere child.  Some fantastic work from major artists, and free.  We paid a voluntary fiver for the excellent booklet.

“History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain (Hayward Gallery)

Actually, six different takes, since the Wilson sisters go together.  It’s really more like journalism or history with a lot of art objects, than an art exhibition.  There’s a Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile on the verandah, for instance; where would you see something like that in an art exhibition?  Well, there were Fiona Banner’s planes in the Tate a couple of years ago…

The artists are Simon Fujiwara – a group of objects of significance to the artist, including a huge slice of coal, Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher costume from a film, a Hockney Ipad enlargement;

The Wilsons – political conflicts, including Greenham Women, Northern Ireland, social and political movements – look out for Penelope Slinger’s surrealist feminist photos, Stuart Brisley’s cage of gloves (looks like it should be about Auschwitz – actually, each glove represents 66,000- odd unemployed) and the Pasmores;

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Stuart Brisley

Roger Hioorn – BSE/CJD and Scrapie; horrifying subject, mostly film and newspaper reports, with some rather tangential stuff, for example, a Lygia Clark sculpture that just happens to resemble a prion;

John Akomfrah – film, including Gilbert and George, Francis Bacon and Barbara Hepworth;

Hannah Starkey – photographs, notably Chris Killip, Bill Brandt, Martin Parr.

Richard Wentworth – great wartime, Festival of Britain, 50s and 60s stuff – Paul Nash, Paolozzi, Ben Nicholson, Tony Cragg, Eagle Annuals, early Penguins and Pelicans.

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 Tony Cragg

Britain from the North

 

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer)

OK, I understand she (Scarlett Johansson) is an alien lifeform, acquiring skins from unwary Scottish blokes; but who is the motorcyclist and how did the Tesco man escape, if only temporarily? and why did she have to kill the Czech man in the wetsuit?  Horrible attempted rape scene.

 

Painting

Getting nowhere except the Slough of Despond with my current effort – maybe I’ll chuck some bright paint on the canvas and ride my bike over it, and call it Aphrodite at the Waterhole…except Tony Hancock’s already used that (see “The Rebel” – essential viewing for artists).

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Work in progress???

Blackpaint

12.4.15