Posts Tagged ‘Raoul de Keyser’

Blackpaint 528 – Mondrian, de Keyser, Hoyland – and Leonardo (no, the other one)

January 17, 2016

Paintings, not Painters

In line with what I said last week, I’ve decided to put up three paintings I’ve nicked from the twittersphere because I like them.  I don’t think the artists are particularly famous – although I’ve heard of Terry Greene and seen his stuff “in the flesh”, so to speak – if they are, my apologies.  You can find more of their work online, of course.

michelle hold

Michelle Hold

She lives and works in Italy.


leyla murr

Leyla Murr

More stuff on Saatchi.


terry greene

Terry Greene

Lives and works in West Yorkshire apparently.  I saw some of his work a while back at the dalla Rosa gallery.

Hoyland, Caro, Noland, Pace Gallery, W1

Dropped in to see this exhibition yesterday – turns out it was the last day.  Lucky for us, but not for you if you’re in London – it was great.  Here are some pics:


Caro, Hoyland, Caro (behind column), Hoyland



Caro, Hoyland


kenneth noland1

Noland  (the surface is like suede)

kenneth noland2

Noland – touch of Diebenkorn here?

Raoul de Keyser and Early Mondrian – The David Zwirner Gallery, W1

The Mondrians are amazing – farm paintings, cows, trees and rivers; like Van Gogh without the inner fire.  De Keyser, as always, is strangely mundane – but strangely interesting…

de keyser 1

de Keyser – touch of William Gear?


de keyser 2

de Keyser – this one’s tiny.

The Revenant (2015), Alejandro Inarritu

the revenant

I saw this yesterday and I doubt I will see a better mainstream film this year.  The cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezky) is superlative; the shot of the snaking river, the party lost in the mountains, Glass walking across the snow river (see above), the fires, tiny points of light in the darkness (bit of Auden there), the woman floating on air, the Caspar David Friedrich dream sequence at the ruined church… it’s all just ravishing.  An inspiring film too; I was inspired to go for a run after yoga, in the snow this morning.

Now to get the film references out of the way, starting with the visuals: Aguirre, Wrath of God; Black Robe; Dersu Uzala; Dances with Wolves; Jeremiah Johnson; Gladiator (visits from deceased wife and family); The Shining (trivial I know, but still…); and anything with snow in it.  I’m not bothering with bear attacks in films, too many of them.

It also made me think of Redford in All is Lost and that climbing documentary, Touching the Void…  And literary reference; “Butcher’s Crossing”, John Williams.  And several Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson  and Wild West Annuals from the 1950s.

Ridiculous article in the Observer by Carole Cadwalladr, who described it as “pain porn” and associated the film and its audience – us – with Isil burning that poor Jordanian pilot in a cage and putting it on the internet.  I thought the film’s “message” was never give up while there’s breath in the body – in fact, it was openly stated.  The revenge was fully justified, if not fully taken and most of the men, apart from the French trappers, behaved reasonably, given the time and place.  I could even see Fitzgerald’s point of view – apart from killing Glass’s son, of course.

In any case, there’s a world of difference between watching the actors killing each other in a film and watching the actual murder of real human beings.  As for the rape scene, it was ugly (properly), brief, in no way titillating and its inclusion was justified with regard to both history and the narrative.  The reaction of the Native American woman, judging by her expression during the ordeal, was portrayed as defiant, stoical and unbowed.

Last word on the film – the bear’s acting was brilliant and Leonardo was very brave to take her on; I understand they can be unpredictable, no matter how well trained..

Readers in London may wish to come to the private view for my partner’s exhibition, as advertised below – but please carry on to the bottom to see MY  new picture…



playing card woman1

Playing Card Woman


Jan 17th 2016






Blackpaint 364 – Michelangelo and the Animals, Schutte’s Soft Heads

October 25, 2012

Raoul De Keyser

His obit was in the papers the other day.  One of the famous Belgians.  His paintings were simple, often geometric but roughly so, bright, primary colours – when they were not totally abstract, they were of everyday things; football pitches, dogs, monkey puzzle trees…  In this respect, he reminded me a little of Prunella Clough, writ large…

De Keyser


Thomas Schutte at the Serpentine

Free exhibition; outside on the grass, a group of Schutte’s squat, bald figures bound to each other, supported on broomstick legs.  Inside, photographs of his distorted, softened and sagging wax heads line the upper walls of one room around a huge, central figure apparently made out of resin – but actually metal, the colour presumably supplied by oxidation.  Small etchings and drawings, all portraits or figures, many self portraits, done with a minimal line and sparing colour; a striking one of a woman with an orange throat (which he uses in another picture too).  Worth the visit, but I missed his stumpy little bald gnomes with the ecstatic, or maybe tortured, expressions.

Michelangelo and the Animals

  • Some readers will be familiar with my discovery that M didn’t do trees (see Blackpaints 111, 112 et al)); it struck me recently that he didn’t do much in the way of animals either – certainly fewer than any other Renaissance painter I can think of.  Titian, Leonardo, Tintoretto, all took the opportunity to knock out a variety of animals at times, but M seems to have kept it to a bare minimum.  Here’s my list:
  • Fish, apparently sucking Jonah’s leg, on the Sistine ceiling;
  • Ram with throat cut, another awaiting sacrifice, a horse (head only) and an ox (head only), also on Sistine ceiling – in the Noah section;
  • A couple of fanciful serpents in the Underworld on the Sistine altarpiece, and the serpent tempting Eve, on the Sistine ceiling (but does this count? It’s half woman);
  • In the Presentation Drawings, the horses attached to Phaeton’s chariot as it plunges to the ground and the eagle eating Tityus’ liver;
  • A marble barn owl on one of the tombs.  And that’s it, so far as I can see.

Actually, let’s go the whole way: there’s not much landscape either – rocks, desert, bare minimum really.  What he really liked was doing figures.

Paolo Sorrentino

Watched his two great films on DVD – “Il Divo” and “The Consequences of Love”, both starring the prince of stillness, Tony Servillo .  He’s the complete anti – stereotype of Italians; or  maybe that’s just a British conception, that Italians are voluble and animated.  In “Il Divo”, he is Andreotti, the seven times PM, with links to the Mafia; it touches on the deaths of Calvi (the banker found “hanged” under Waterloo Bridge), Aldo Moro (kidnapped and eventually shot by the Red Brigades) and other political murders of judges, lawyers, etc.  Unlike the work of Francesco Rosi (Giulano, The Mattei Affair, Illustrious Corpses) it has an almost operatic feel – there is no attempt at “documentary”.  “Consequences” co-stars Olivia Magnani; presumably Anna’s granddaughter(?); she is riveting.

Head of Saint Luke, the Painter Saint



Blackpaint 119

April 24, 2010

Raoul de Keyser and Prunella Clough

The second pair of artists in my “spurious connections” series (see Blackpaint 117).  What you have to do is to Google the artists, go to Images and be startled by how right my generalisations are.

De Keyser is Belgian, born in 1930 and living; Clough was British, born 1919 and died in 1999.  So what do they have in common?  First, a sort of “bittiness”.  They both tend to produce works of fragmented, often floating shapes and both use the periphery of the paper or canvas, sometimes with the objects drifting out of the picture.

They both use a variety of materials and methods; Clough’s images are usually more hard-edged, precise; De Keyser’s are often fuzzier, rougher, more brushy – his are perhaps more playful.

They both combine the abstract and the figurative and both use mundane, everyday things and scenes – de Keyser, football pitches (he was a sports writer), dogs; Clough, plastic carrier bags, barbed wire fences, corroded water tanks, canal banks).

Finally, many of their works are comparable in size and their pictures contain a lot of space.  That’s about it – read the rest of this, have a look on Google and most importantly, comment to point out what rubbish I’m writing.  I know it is already, because my partner, a big fan of both artists, has already done so.


Just to return to this play for a moment (see Blackpaint 118), I have to point out some amusing ironies.  First, we were sitting in the upper circle surrounded by teenage boys and girls from, I would guess, two different schools, very “well-spoken” and, as it turned out,  perfectly well-behaved. 

The play then proceeded to present a sympathetic, even heroic portrait of a middle-aged caravan dweller who supplied drugs and drink to teenagers – lines of cocaine were snorted, cannabis was smoked, acid was taken on stage – and allowed them to sleep at his site.  He boasted graphically of having had sex with most of their mothers in earlier days.  The word “cunt” must have been used at least ten times (invariably getting a laugh from the cultured audience).  The view was expressed that teenagers would drink, take drugs and have sex from adolescence onwards anyway – at least they would in Wiltshire.

I’m wondering what attitude the members of the audience would adopt, should such a person really park his caravan near to their homes.  I for one would sign the petition; or more likely, I’d refuse, safeguarding my libertarian values, hoping all the time that the neighbours’ signatures would be enough to do the trick. 

Listened to the New St. George by the Albion Country Band

“Freedom was your mother, fight for one another,

Leave the factory, leave the forge,

And dance to the new St.George”.

Rooster would agree.