Posts Tagged ‘Peter Sellers’

Blackpaint 624 – Hodgkin, Prager, Murtha and Kubrick

July 23, 2018

Howard Hodgkin at Gagosian – until 28th July only, so go now.

These are Hodgkin’s last paintings; as can be seen, there are few surprises for those familiar with his work, but absolutely no evidence of decline as far as I can see,  The colours, textures and impact are as strong as ever.  They are all oil on wood.

Bombay Afternoon, 2016

 

Love Song, 2015

Floating dots…

 

Darkness at noon, 2015-2016

I wonder if the title is anything to do with the Koestler classic.

 

I love the floating quality of many (push-pull colours) and the tracts of bare wood, and of course the way the brushstrokes wander over the frames (where there are frames).

Aftermath, Steppenwolf

Mentioned Hesse’s Steppenwolf in last but one blog;  I forgot to say that the jazz dance scenes inevitably conjure Otto Dix’s Metropolis and one or two paintings at Tate Britain’s current “Aftermath” exhibition – notably, one by William Roberts, called “The Jazz Club”, I think.

Dr Strangelove, dir. Stanley Kubrick (1964) – Chill’s last flight

Chill Wills atop his nuclear bomb

This pretty much tore up anything in the way of current “satire” on show on British TV last week and jumped up and down on it.  Sellers is unapproachable in his three roles as Strangelove, the US President and Mandrake, as is Sterling Hayden, as is George C Scott – but I found myself willing Chill on to his target, as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” played insistently in a minor key on the soundtrack.

 

Alex Prager,  and Tish Murtha at the Photographers Gallery

Prager’s large photographs are like stills from films, which is exactly what many (all?) of them are; the placid, plastic features of the girl below like something from a Hitchcock film (there is a still of a pigeon attack on another woman); struggling survivors of some sea disaster, floating in vivid green water, a helicopter’s eye view; a woman hanging in mid air from the bonnet of car.

The other type of Prager photo is the crowd scene, like the beach below.  Lots of hired actors, each performing some mundane but strangely complete task (they look posed, as they are).  In each picture (according to the notes on the PG walls) a woman seems to be anxious and apart – not sure which woman in the photo below.  Then, I went into the curtained film room and saw that many of the photos were stills.

 

Tish Murtha’s, by contrast, are all monochrome and are photos of children and teenagers amusing themselves in the cobbled streets of Elswick, Newcastle in the 70s.  Roughly dressed, jumping on to mattresses from derelict buildings, pushing younger siblings in old prams, playing street games – bulletins from a disappeared world before computer games and mobile phones.

She moved to London, and there are Soho photos of strip clubs, punters and performers, cross dressing acts; also powerful, but without the fascination of the Elswick pictures.  At times, there is a chiming with the Prager stuff – who is the rather smartly dressed teenage girl with the glamorous shoes; what is she doing?

An Elswick picture – something rather Last Supper about this image.

 

National Gallery – the early galleries

Fabulous diptych – adult Christ in Mary’s arms and green Man of Sorrows on the right.

Never seen this one before – because it’s not finished it looks modern.  Could be from Lord Leighton or a Preraph, maybe.

 

Suez Canal Zone

Blackpaint

23/718

Blackpaint 485 – Question Time, Comedy in Auschwitz and Late de Kooning

March 8, 2015

 

fred and ginger swing time

Question Time (BBC1)

I try to avoid watching this as it makes me shout at the TV – Thursday night, through sheer idleness, I sat through it (couldn’t be bothered to pick up the remote) and, sure enough, was forced to comment, despite my fatigue.  It was from Glasgow and the audience was full of Scots Nats and Tories (?).  Taking their lead from the Scots Nat MSP on the panel, the questioners seemed angry, self -righteous and proudly possessed of a deep sense of grievance.  It was interesting to hear the Tory woman and Toby Young cheered loudly and the Labour woman jeered; strange, since the SNP and their followers claim to be far left of  Labour.

I was in favour of Scottish independence and probably closer to the SNP than Labour on most policies – but on last night’s showing, the SNP and their supporters are way to the left of British voters as a whole, and shaping up to dictate terms, in the event of Labour needing their support to form a government.  That could be a disaster for Labour and so I was all in favour of Ed Miliband declaring that, like the Tories, he would refuse to enter any form of pact or coalition with the SNP.  Then, Toby Young said that he should make such a declaration, and I changed my mind; Ed should avoid doing anything right-wing Tories like Young suggest.

Martin Amis, Zone of Interest

I was astounded by an article on Amis’ novel, which was about the fact that it’s going to be published in Germany – the paper said that the Germans had shied away from publishing a “comedy” set in an extermination camp.  Comedy?  In what sense?  Only in the sense of the Divine Comedy, maybe; it’s the Inferno.  I certainly don’t remember any laughs, or even wry smiles; only some unease at the process of using factual material like this to frame a plot.  I think Amis has done a good job on the whole though; wonder if he thinks of his work as a comedy…

 

Cross of Iron, Sam Peckinpah (1977)

Had to watch this again the other night; I love the stereotypes – tough and tender James Coburn as Steiner, correct, avuncular CO James Mason and especially chain-smoking, stooping, cynical, anti-Nazi scruff David Warner.  I love the balletic, slow motion skyward leaps of the soldiers blown up by artillery (cf. the Wild Bunch).  And Maximilian Schell as the cowardly Prussian officer who wants the cross so badly – watching him trying to be nonchalant in the dugout, as shells stalk nearer and nearer – suddenly, that fear-frozen smile brought back Peter Sellers as the mad Nazi in Doctor Strangelove…

cross of iron1

 

 

cross of iron2

 

De Kooning 

Reading Judith Zilczer’s book, I was surprised to find that DK’s famous “emptying out” of his paintings in the late 70s/ early 80s was partly because he was worried about the durability of his earlier work, as a result of his use of safflower oil and household emulsion mixes.  Some critic had predicted that they would degenerate, so he changed his materials and his style, which became more like his stuff from the early years, like “Pink Angels”.  Later. of course, they emptied out more….

dkwoman

 

 

Woman I, 1950-2

dkpirate

 

 

Pirate, 1981 

Still haven’t done any new paintings, so a few old ones to finish:

Blue Crouch

 

Blue Crouch

water engine 2a

 

Water Engine 2

??????????

 

White Line Fever 

Blackpaint

8.03.15