Posts Tagged ‘Sylvester’

Blackpaint 309

November 30, 2011

Bacon – the Sylvester interview

I’ve been watching that amazing sequence on the Bacon Arena DVD, where Sylvester, lighting one fag from the butt end of another, questions Francis in a probing manner whilst the two of them are lying on a divan bed – Sylvester in one of those white detective raincoats!  There’s plenty of space between them, but Sylvester keeps moving closer and blowing smoke around Bacon’s face.  Just like Peter Cook or a Python sketch.

In an odd way, Bacon’s painting sometimes reminds me of De Kooning – the pinks and oranges, maybe, and the brushwork sometimes.  We use a Duccio postcard as a bookmark in the De Kooning book and it matches perfectly, as far as colour goes.

Pollock – Art of America;

Andrew Graham-Dixon’s new series on US art (America means North America, in this case); he looked at Lavender Mist, I think, and a few others, and said something like; “It’s all very well to look at Pollock’s paintings and admire them – but we have to explain them”.  Why??  He then went on to say that he saw chaos in them – but that’s nonsense, isn’t it?  They are full of harmonies, the colours and shapes recur and echo each other in all the “drip” paintings; there’s surely an overall impression of control in them – he said that there was virtually no accident in them, he mastered the dripping and the only chance element occurred in the fall of a few inches between the end of the stick and the surface of the canvas.  I suppose they looked like chaos at the time, but not now.

Rosenquist

Interesting that James Rosenquist, who started in advertising, painting billboards, said in Art of America that he hated the images he produced for adverts – the images that he used in his artworks were supposed to demonstrate the emptiness of advertising and hence his contempt.  Strange that the slick images and finish that he uses in his huge pictures are the thing that he is prized for.

Bela Tarr

Last blog, I mentioned an interview in which he was asked why he liked ugliness (landscape, buildings, above all, faces):  again, I can only see beauty – the derelict buildings, the rain, mud, darkling skies, bare trees against the horizon, peasants’ faces grained with dirt and tiredness, unshaven, peering through the rain with a cigarette disintegrating in the mouth, and the men too, just as downtrodden; those long, receding, glimmering tarmac roads, the figures trudging to the vanishing point in endless takes, the accordion music repeating melancholy phrases…. beautiful.

Ken Russell

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I watched Women in Love again recently and was bowled over by its brilliance as an adaptation; Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed (especially) and Alan Bates perfect casting.  Reading the book, I was surprised to find that Ursula was the older sister; Lawrence draws her personality in much stronger strokes than is presented by Jenny Linden – Lawrence gives her an obstinacy that maddens both Gudrun and her father, but which is lacking from the Russell film.  Doesn’t matter – masterpiece anyway.

Blackpaint

29/11/11

Blackpaint 23

December 23, 2009

Abstract Art

Found a great quotation today in the Penguin Book of Art Writing; “..the arrangement of colours and lines is an art analogous to the composition of music, and entirely independent of the representation of facts.  Good colouring does not necessarily convey the image of anything but itself”.  The writer is John Ruskin.

In the following extract, David Sylvester, writing about a print of Barnett Newman’s, says,”The more I looked at it, the more it made me wonder why painters since time immemorial had bothered to put in all those arms and legs and heads”.

That’s about it in a nutshell for me, as regards abstract art – although I still have a nagging sense that art should have a social purpose, the product no doubt of all those years as a lefty hanger-on.  Then again, if you look at the awful stuff knocked out by the Socialist Realists (and Nazi art, for that matter), social purpose sounds poisonous.  I suppose I’m saying art with a message is OK if the message is subversive, and if its produced by the “oppressed”, broadly speaking.  Art explicitly in support of a system in power is not OK.  I’ll come back to this tomorrow with examples that will, on doubt, completely undermine this half – baked statement.

Below – Peter Lanyon’s “Lost Mine”

  

 

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