Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Oliveira’

Blackpaint 438 – Hop Picking in Orwell, Sudden Death in Woolf, Lurking in Sprout

March 14, 2014

Orwell – A Clergyman’s Daughter

Re-read Burmese Days and of course, was immediately hooked again by Britain’s most readable author, journalist and writer in general; so now I’m on Clergyman’s Daughter, racing through.  Some terrible stereotypes and dodgy dialogue, it’s true; but the scenes in the hop-picking areas of Kent are memorable and visual and strike one as accurate.  The section in Trafalgar Square and the cafe in Charing Cross Road, which Orwell has done as a play is clearly inspired by the Night Town sequence in Ulysses; the character of Mr. Tallboys, the unfrocked parson, continually reciting and distorting biblical passages and prayers, for example, is very reminiscent of Joyce.  At one point, Orwell seems about to tip over into surreal fantasy like Night Town –  but draws back at the last moment, and turns it into a dream.

To the Lighthouse

Suddenly, after a hundred pages or so (maybe – I’m reading it on a Kindle, so can’t tell exactly), Woolf starts killing off the characters in a line or so each, as if bored with them; first, Mrs Ramsay, then Andrew (blown up by a shell on the Western Front), then Prue  (in childbirth)… all three within a few pages.  Reminded me oddly of BS Johnson’s Christy Malry – Johnson gives him cancer and kills him quite suddenly, ending the book in what feels like midstream.  Like real life, I suppose, which was Johnson’s point.  Now I think, sudden death has happened in all the Woolf books I’ve read so far – The Voyage Out, Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, Lighthouse – the only exception is Night and Day.

Bay Area Painters

I know I’ve written about them before, but must mention Frank Lobdell, Nathan Oliveira and Joan Brown, who took part in life drawing sessions with Diebenkorn in his figurative period.

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Oliveira

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Lobdell

Sprout Exhibition  

Haven’t been to any exhibitions for the last two weeks, having been stuck in the Sprout Gallery, trying to lure rare passers-by in to sell them paintings.  Sold three; here are two – can’t find photo of the other.

the young horseman

The Young Horseman

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Oxlade Nude

The Family Friend, Sorrentino

This film contains the most disgusting anti-hero in cinema – he’s an old gangster, money lender, hypochondriac, wears an anti-migraine bandage on his head, a dirty old plaster cast on one arm, gobbles chocolates greedily, lives in a dark, stinking flat with his incontinent, invalid mother; he forces himself on a beautiful young bride on her wedding day…. and she (apparently) becomes fixated on him and comes back asking for more…  Like all Sorrentino films, it features old men dancing; this time, country and western dancing, with big stetsons and fringed jackets.  All it lacks is Tony Servillo.

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And here’s the latest painting – Blackfriars to Nine Elms

Blackpaint

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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.

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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….

 

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Beast with Two Backs

Blackpaint

30.01.14