Posts Tagged ‘Sigrid Holmwood’

Blackpaint 651- Annely Juda, Mary Ramsden, Helene Schjerfbeck and the Whole of South America

August 12, 2019

Annely Juda – Summer Exhibition until 30th August

A sort of retrospective of AJ artists, leaning towards geometric abstraction, I guess (see examples below) – but also figurative and sculpture; Hockney, Caro, Kossoff, Roger Ackling, et al.  A selection follows, not necessarily the best – although I like the Shiraishi red zips on grey – but giving some idea of range.


Alan Green – White over Red/Violet 

The title makes sense in the gallery, but not in this photo, where the subtleties of colour are lost, rather.


Yuko Shiraishi – Boulevard No.2


Sigrid Holmwood – Land of Cockaigne

Seen her work before in the Saatchi Gallery; the cartoonish quality is almost a Saatchi house style, it seems to me.  I think a faint hint of early Sigmar Polke too…


Leon Kossoff 

Didn’t get the title of this, but that building looks really familiar.  John Berger’s occasional correspondence with Kossoff about drawing is an interesting read.


Mary Ramsden at Pilar Corrias, Eastcastle Street W1

Sorry to say that this exhibition finished on 9th August (I didn’t check the dates before I went on holiday); I was so impressed with the paintings, though, that I thought it was worth uploading a few – you can always check her website.  Colours remind me a little of Mary Heillman, contents and the sort of roughness of the paint suggest Roy Oxlade maybe?  to me anyway; maybe it’s the orange coffee cup ring on the blue painting.





Urban Impulses 1959 – 2016; Latin American Photography, Photographers Gallery until 6th October 

Mostly Mexico, I think, but most other LA countries represented.  Demonstrations, police beating students, students beating police, murders, accidents, bars, transvestites, brothels, dancers, artistes, beaches, posers, posters, shopfronts, mannikins, lovers, cinemas, walls – I have avoided the sensational and given some examples of the Colombian Beatriz Jaramillo’s “Zocalo” series of vernacular architectural features.  As usual at the PG, fantastic and varied work and a thick, free booklet.


Not sure if these are also Jaramillo’s; they were next in line.


Helene Schjerfbeck: RA until 27th October

By way of total contrast to the other exhibitions I’ve mentioned is this one of the Finnish artist (Swedish speaking, according to the booklet – is that significant?), 1862 – 1946.  A range of her work  below, starting with a self – portrait of the young artist (compare it to that of the old woman portrayed in the 5th picture down, her last self-portrait, one of twenty she did in the last year of her life; actually, there’s a later drawing but the one here is the last painting).


Portrait of her mother; I like the light on those knuckles and fingers…


Nothing like the others, this one…


Her mother again; the blue background and the dazzling white of the open book sing out to you in a gallery full of rather – well, brown and grey pictures.

We’re in the land of Munch here, aren’t we?  I don’t mean that as a compliment.


Like the blue mother above, a welcome splash of colour in a drab world.  I liked the paintings for the most part and was reminded here and there of Gwen John (but also, unfortunately, of Munch).  Thirsty for colour, as well as for a beer of course, by the end of the visit.

Modernists & Mavericks; Bacon, Freud, Hockney & the London Painters.  Martin Gayford, Thames & Hudson, 2018

Buy this; it’s £12.99 well spent (has to be the book, not a Kindle version, if there IS one).  No jargon; all the famous anecdotes are there, but Gayford does a great job of putting this lot in the context of the times and of each other.  There’s a very clear discussion of just what “abstraction” can mean – about five different things, I made it – which, as the author says, is a question which kept a lot of drink-fuelled arguments going all night in the 50s and 60s.  I was astonished – no, overstated, but surprised – to read about the furore over William Gear’s “Autumn Landscape” at the Festival of Britain.

As always, a couple of new ones of mine to finish:

Before the Snow


Drying off

….and three others that I will be exhibiting with ArtBridge in Paris in September:



On the Rocks











Blackpaint 574 – Cows, Trees, Sunflowers and CVs – Nash and Loach

November 1, 2016

Saatchi Gallery; Champagne Life

As often before, I got round to seeing this exhibition just before it finished on 30th October – but I would have recommended it…  The artists are all women, so I presume that was the point of it; little or no info about origins, but the names suggest that they are international.

  • Mequitta Ahuja, paintings somehow Ofili-ish, repeatedly of a cross-eyed woman in jungle surroundings, as below.


Mequitta Ahuja

  • Sohella Sokhanvari did this stuffed horse, set on a blue Jesmonite blob; no idea why, but I liked it.  The objects stuck to the wall behind are variously sized cooking pots, the work of another artist, Maha Mullah.



Sohella Sokhanvari


  • These delightful red clay cows, life-sized, are the work of Stephanie Quayle.


Stephanie Quayle

Other works include:

  • Julie Wachtel – big panel screenprints with those dots (benday dots, is it?) of glamour celebs like Monroe, each set containing one panel given over to a cartoon character, presumably offering a comment on the work;
  • Sigrid Holmwood – old folksy paintings, done on a screaming fluorescent orange ground;
  • Mia Feuer – dead Jerusalem donkey with a twist of rope tied round ankle.  I think this one is a construction, rather than stuffed like the horse on blue blob;
  • Jelena Bulajic – huge, detailed close-up portraits in B&W of very wrinkled old women;
  • Suzanne McClelland – white-grounded, splashy, textured abstracts with scrawled sentences taken from “wanted” circulars, referring to domestic terrorists in the US.  These reminded me of Albert Oehlen in their combination of white, abstraction and text;
  • Seung Ah Paik – vast, wall-size drawings filled in with ochre paint, of bodies; hands, limbs, toes, breasts – but they don’t match up, as if the sheets they are drawn on have been stitched together in the wrong order.  They suggested Brett Whiteley’s horrific but brilliant Rillington Place drawings to me, but I’m sure that was not the intention…


Seung Ah Paik


Suzanne McClelland


Paul Nash, Tate Britain

  • Some early pen and ink and watercolour wash drawings in B&W, of trees and Blake-ish figures; they look like etchings.  I’d never seen them before, although one or two are in a previous Nash catalogue I have:
  • Several  “Withenham Clumps” paintings and the “sculpted” group on the hilltop below:


Wood on the Downs

  • The fabulous Event on the Downs, with the stump and tennis ball:

Nash, Paul; Event on the Downs; Government Art Collection;

Event on the Downs

  • The curving coastal wall at Dymchurch I think – shades of de Stael, but so thinly painted:


The Shore

  • Repeated versions of the stones at Avebury, with those “bruise” marks in brown, red, pink, mauve; there’s one like a human torso, and this one below with that slightly urine-y yellow – what is it, a red underneath, ochre on top?

Nash, Paul; Landscape of the Megaliths; British Council Collection;

Landscape of the Megaliths

“Event” is one of several done with more intense, vivid colour – like a cold drink of sparkling water after the anaemic dryness and thinness…



Eclipse of the Sunflower

All the usual favourites – Flight of the Magnolia, Building a New World and the other trench paintings, (the one with the hunched, overcoated figures and the “tepee” of light in the centre),  the dead planes of Totes Meer, the Equinoxes, the sunflower juggernaut wheels, the Battle of Germany, the surrealist efforts with a few by Wadsworth, Eileen Agar and Tristan Hillier; there seems to have been a bit of a penchant for starfish and other beach detritus in close-up.  The only one missing is Battle of Britain, the one with the looping clouds and the Thames estuary – presumably that’s still in the Imperial War Museum.

I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach) 2016


Everyone will know by now the subject of Loach’s latest film, the nightmare rigidity of the sickness “benefit” system, the stoppers you can fall into (canoeing term – tumbling water that you can’t get out of) – Catch 22, if you like, I didn’t want to use the cliche – someone said Orwellian, I think more Kafkaesque, or maybe Dickens.  Loach is maybe the new Dickens, without the caricatures and funny names and with a consciously socialist politics.

The standout scene for me is the CV workshop, in which the self-regarding tutor – ex FE, I reckon – barks “Fact!” to preface each of his points about how necessary it is to make an impression on the CV, to Stand Out from the Crowd – “Fact!” (thinks: “they’ll like/respect me for telling it like it is…).

Loach’s naturalistic approach is famous – use of non-pros, surprising the cast members, improvised dialogue (sometimes).  Some would say he’s a social realist; I think he has a romantic, optimistic view.  Strange thing to say, given the outcome of the film; however, I think I can back it up.  The portrayal of the working class people is both optimistic and romantic.  They treat each other warmly, there is respect for the old from the young, there is no racial prejudice; “Blake” is saintly, skilled, kindly, resourceful, patient with Katy’s non-communicative son, breaks through to him in short order.  Maybe they are like that in Newcastle – or perhaps Ken wanted to avoid bad stereotypes.  The job centre staff are not all monstrous, although some are, “Sheila” in particular.

One scene – Blake’s graffiti protest outside the job centre, in which he is immediately “taken up” by passers-by, notably a hen party and a drunken Scotsman – is pure Agitprop.

The famous food bank scene, which reduced Mark Kermode to tears, left me unmoved, which worries me slightly – I couldn’t help thinking of Oscar Wilde’s remark about the death of Little Nell.  This morning, I became misty -eyed, reading Kipling’s “Gunga Din”, which is more worrying.

Finally, I was wondering if Ken puts in a sly ref to the Two Ronnies in the scene where Blake builds a makeshift stove from clay pots and “four candles” – maybe not.


Rubens Blue

Done a couple of fauvist – style pictures on wood panels, for a change; one below:





Blackpaint 148

June 8, 2010

Sistine Chapel

Yesterday, I described a sort of roughness in the close-ups of some of the Michelangelo figures on the ceiling of the Sistine, as shown in the Taschen book.  Actually, the ceiling paintings are very smooth, beautiful glowing flesh tones and superbly drawn features; only the surface cracking gives a scaly effect at close quarters which is quite pleasing.

The roughness, surprisingly, is in the wall characters, especially the demons and their agonised victims – I suppose this is appropriate (no, not that word again, as the boy in Outnumbered rightly complains).

At the bottom right is the portrayal of Minos, with his asses’ ears, and wound round the body by a large snake which is in the process of biting (off?) his penis.  This is actually a portrait of Biagio da Cesena, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies, who had complained about the number of naked men and women in tortured and suggestive poses.  The snake is Michelangelo’s revenge.  Biagio spent the rest of his life trying to get the portrait removed.

I like to spot saints by their attributes; the following are easy – Catherine with her broken wheel; Simon with his saw; Bartholomew, carrying his flayed skin (which is a self portrait of M); Lawrence with his grill; Blaise with his sharpened combs; Peter with the keys; Sebastian with his arrows.  The Taschen identifies Dismas, the “good” thief, with the small crucifix and Simon of Cyrene with the large one. 

Saatchi’s Newspeak

Reading the reviews of this show by Sean o’ Hagan in Sunday’s Observer and Adrian Searle in yesterday’s Guardian, I was struck by one thing in particular: the manifest irritation of both reviewers at the lack of some unifying theme to the works on display.  O’ Hagan: “What we have here is a hotchpotch – of styles, approaches and strategies…”;  Searle”..the exhibition is a ragbag of sometimes good, often bad and mostly indifferent art.”  I suppose it makes a reviewer’s job much harder when one cannot “identify any shared direction, a flavour, a style or a zeitgeist “(Searle).  It means that each artwork must be discussed on its own terms, not easy in the context of a review of limited length.  They both mention the works of Jed Quinn, Goshka Macuga and Sigrid Holmwood, but do not agree on whether they are good; O’ Hahan’s review is the more favourable – he describes this as a “big, brash, if sometimes quietly surprising, exhibition.”  My review to follow soon – please try to be patient.

Moses down from Sinai by Blackpaint

Listening to Lane Hardin, California Desert Blues.

“Crossin that old desert mama, just like breaking that Hindenberg Line (*2)

If you get ditched off  that freight train, you know that will be the end of the line.”