Posts Tagged ‘Tunnard’

Blackpaint 676 – Back to the Tate

August 6, 2020

Tate Britain, open again..sort of..

Booked a trip around the bits of the Tate that were available: British Art 1931 – present day, and British art 15 something – 1890.  Not much going on between 1891 and 1931, maybe…  Hang on, there was World War One, Nash, Nevinson, Orpen, Spencer and all that –  and probably some other art stuff too…

Anyway, great to be back and in the (short) queue and the galleries too, not many people about and most, but not all, wearing face coverings.  Like always, when you haven’t seen pictures for a time, they look fresh and exciting and there are a few new ones to pique your interest.  I went round exactly like those people I usually deride – photographing everything.  A few examples below with the customary banal and/or facetious comments:

Joshua Reynolds, Detail of a woman’s layered skirt

My partner took this one.  I thought she’d got the whole painting but she’s mainly interested in fabrics so just got the skirt.  Quite amazing really, like a fractured ice cliff.

 

Gerald Brockhurst – Margaret Duchess of Argyll, 1931

Great portrait, very like Keeley Hawes in “the Durrells”   (see below)

 

 

John Tunnard – Fulcrum (top) 1939

A typical Tunnard painting, recalling a science fiction paperback from the 50s or 60s – or maybe Festival of Britain art – so ahead of his time.

Sam Haile – Surgical Ward (lower) 1939

Sam Haile is new to me; Miro-ish, but with a drab British palette.

 

Meredith Frampton – Trial and Error, 1939

Beautifully executed, but “painting by numbers” Surrealism – think of a bunch of unrelated objects and assemble them to make a dreamlike still life.  Leaves me cold really, compared to, say, Magritte or Delvaux, who really do evoke dreams successfully in some of their images.

 

Jacob Epstein

And on the back of the Epstein sculpture..  I didn’t realise that there was anything on the reverse.

 

John Minton – Portuguese Cannon 1953

A new Minton (I’ve never seen it before, anyway), in the style of his big picture of the death of Nelson.

 

Keith Vaughan

Lovely picture, no comment required.  So- no comment…

 

Patrick Heron

This one’s been up on the walls within the last five years, I guess – unusual Heron with regard to the colour; that acidy, poisonous green – or is it greeny yellow?  Well, it’s both really.

 

William Scott

Scott often painted huge pictures of assembled kitchen implements, frying pans, pots.  I didn’t get the title of this so I’ve no clue as to what is depicted – brick wall, bits of toast, cribbage peg board..  It’s a new one.

 

Peter Lanyon – Zennor Storm, 1958

An old favourite.  I’d always thought the central image was a boat – bit like Noah’s Ark.  But no – it’s the green at Zennor (in a storm, of course)  I actually miss “Wreck”, the one they had up before Covid, with the boat, the guitar, and the shark.

 

Roger Hilton – September 1961

Stark, clear composition; back view of a sleeping dog on the floor of an old pub, perhaps? but what’s the black loop?

 

Alan Davie – Black Mirror, 1952

I think there’s more than a touch of Bacon in this image and the brushwork; I wonder if they knew each other’s work?

 

Peter Lanyon – both the glass assemblage and the painting, which I think is called “The Lost Mine”.

 

Rose English

Her fabulous film, made in 1975, I think, of these women at a horse show, trotting round like horses in formation, kitted out with tails, making an obvious feminist point, but no less funny for it.  Forerunner of “Smack the Pony”.

 

 

Unknown artist – William, First Lord de la Warr, c.1550

I’m sure I’ve seen that face on TV or at the National Theatre.  Tried to poison his brother, says the plaque on the wall.  He looks well capable of that.

 

I’m going to avoid making the obvious remark.  It’s a strain, but I’ve managed it.

 

Thomas Gainsborough – Mr and Mrs Carter, c.1747

I had to include this for the clear disparity in dimensions and the fact that the lady appears to be floating…  It seems remarkable to me that Gainsborough painted both this caricature-like portrait AND the painting below: two completely different styles (and he had at least one more).

 

Thomas Gainsborough

 

Tilly Kettle – Mrs Yates as Mandane in “the Orphan of China”, c.1765

Mrs Yates in a martial arts defensive posture.

And that was our end-of-shielding trip to Tate Britain.  An old landscape of mine below:

Islares Bay 

Blackpaint

7/08/2020

 

 

Blackpaint 231

December 16, 2010

Norman Rockwell

Wrote about him in last-but-one blog (Blackpaint 229) and now I hear there is an exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, on now.  I compared him to the Soviet Socialist Realists, in regard to his presentation of American life – fine and dandy, the American Dream – just as the communists portrayed life in the Soviet Union.  Jonathan Jones in the Guardian, however, recalls his 1964 painting of the black girl Ruby Bridges, going to her school, defying the rotten vegetables thrown at her by southern whites opposed to desegregation.  So I was being a little unfair to Rockwell; the Dulwich show leaves this picture out, according to Jones, and sticks to the conservative stuff prior to 1964.  In these Evening Post covers, American life is shown in a glowing, nostalgic light.

Doris Seidler

She has died in the US, aged 97.  Never heard of her until I read the Guardian obituary and saw that beautiful, rectangular, black, ochre and grey collage entitled “Comp with Etched Fragment”, they used to illustrate it.  Its a shame to find out about these artists only when they die.  Not much on the web, either.

Sandra Blow

On the other hand, there are several great paintings by the above, if one goes to Google images.  Right in the middle of page 4, however, there is an interesting image that has nothing to do with the artist, but clearly relates to her surname; there are more throughout the rest of the entry.   Lovers of abstract art should not be deterred by this.

Tate Britain rehang

Some of the rooms have been reorganised on chronological lines.  In the Sickert “end of the pier” room, there is one of the geometric Bombergs entitled “Ju Jitsu” – can make out the interaction of the fighters, but not what the moves are.  There is a nude Spencer on a bed with his nude wife and a joint of lamb, I think – could be beef, though.  Also, his remarkable “Woolshop”, in which the hanks of wool seem to intertwine with the women’s hair.   There is a four panel Eileen Agar, shades of Miro a bit, something to do with the development of an embryo; and a lovely Tunnard, mustard yellow, geometric, entitled “Fulcrum”.  Finally, a picture by Winifred Knights, called “Deluge”, in which women and girls are doing some sort of slanting eurythmic dance.  All vthese pictures are very distinct from each other, the beauty and drawback of a chronological approach.

A large Keith Vaughan in the next room attracts the attention; There’s a reclining and a standing figure, rather featureless and flabby pink – it’s Theseus and the Minotaur, although can’t see it myself.  Not a patch on his de Stael – type pictures.  There’s an Alan Davie, “Black Mirror”, in which the brushwork is very like Bacon’s, say, on his black ones with writhing figures and metal rails; a Hockney pyramid and giant palm in front of it; and a beautiful Auerbach building site in jewel-encrusted orange.  There’s a Heron, one of those in which he uses straight white lines to delineate figures and a Bacon dog, a little, fizzing grey ball of energy, in a frame of course.

Blake

Adjoining these rooms, there is a Blake room, with Nebuchadnezzar crawling, Newton measuring and the Good and Bad Angels, all instantly recognisable and fantastic (in every sense).  There are also several paintings that formed illustrations for Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.  Plutus, the guardian and tormentor of those who have committed sins of avarice, has distinctly Jewish features says the label – although I must say, I couldn’t make this out clearly.  Apparently Blake had an interest in phrenology, which was fashionable at the time.  Thieves are being tormented by snakes, one of which appears to be emanating from a woman’s vagina (this is not just me; the label points it out) – a reminder of Michelangelo’s linkage of snakes and sexuality on the Sistine wall.  There is Brunelleschi being tormented by a 6 footed serpent and a barrator (political power broker) having his skin torn off in lumps; all good stuff – but dodgy on the phrenology front.

Blackpaint

16.12.10

 

 

Blackpaint 188

September 7, 2010

Tate St.Ives – Final word

Went back for a second visit and nothing to add on minimal stuff  or the Lily van der Stokker, but –

Frink

The “Harbinger Bird” is made of plaster – I had assumed wood, light coloured and unsmoothed.

Hoffman

Looking for the famous “push-pull” effect.  Couldn’t get it at all – some bits are obviously on top of others but that’s because you can see the boundary lines or brush marks, not because of some inherent property of the colours.  Not to say it’s not a great painting; especially that  blue colour, which reminds me of powder paints at primary school – some years ago, now.

Sandra Blow

Her “Vivace”, in her own words, was “an attempt to make a gestural work that was not tried and retried…, that happened “immediately””.  Looking through a booklet on her by Mel Gooding, however, I saw she had done another one, almost the same, this time in blue.  Some people can only do so much spontaneity.  Not a criticism, I love her stuff.

Lanyon

Is that a shark approaching from the right?

Tunnard

On second viewing, what struck me was the “technical drawing” aspect – the shapes were a bit like one of those old geometry sets you used to get in flat tin boxes.  Precision has its place, of course, and there are those who admire it for the workmanship, the care, the expertise…  Fuck all that,  I say, get some paint on your brush (or knife, or whatever) and whack it on, give it some stick, roll about on it naked – sorry, back in control again.

Raphael Cartoons

A couple of weeks ago – after Tillmans at Serpentine – went to V&A and looked for the Cartoons; couldn’t  find them.  Now I know why; they form the basis of a special exhibition with four tapestries, I think based on the Cartoons, from the Sistine Chapel, lent by the Vatican “to mark the pope’s visit” (Jonathan Jones in  the Guardian).  So, for the last few years, the punter has been able to see the cartoons for free.  Now, I presume you have to pay (Jones gives a box office number) for the privilege of seeing the eight, was it? plus the four from the Vatican.

I’ve found this quite often with exhibitions in museums and galleries; you pay your money and find that most of the stuff has been on display in the permanent collection for ages.  It disappears and turns up again, with a few extras chucked in.  Shouldn’t moan really; museums and galleries ARE free – probably won’t  be by next week – and you can’t blame them for exploiting a bit of earning potential.  Well, you can of  course and I do. 

I hate that “to mark the pope’s visit”, as well.  A pox on all religions and non-democratic political systems and cultural PR of this sort – remember the Turkish exhibition at the Royal Academy a few years back, that coincided with the discussions about Turkey joining the EU?  Art is politics – and so is religion.  Jones says as much in his last sentence.

And he’s  right about the best of the cartoons, too; The Miraculous Draught of Fishes.

Not a Raphael cartoon, but an old Blackpaint job.

Blackpaint

07.09.10