Posts Tagged ‘Updahl’

Blackpaint 236

December 29, 2010

Review of the Year (Part 1)

OK, all the swanky broadsheet newspapers and TV culture programmes do an annual review, so Blackpaint’s readers are required to at least read the heading before – heading off in a more interesting direction.  Be reassured, however; I will only mention one thing under each heading.  So, assuming one of you is still reading, here goes:

Nov. 2009 – Balka box at Tate Modern.  Thick, felt blackness on your own in the morning; hordes of Spanish kids with phone cameras in the afternoon.

Dec. 2009 – Turner Prize Show.  Lucy Skaer’s whale skeleton and the powdered plane by Roger Hioorns – sorry, that’s two.

Dec – Mexican prints at British Museum.  Influence of Siqueiros on Pollock.

Dec – Updahl at Kings Place.  Purple skies over the fjords, amidst the corporate hospitality.

Dec – Photography at British Library.  Those weirdly humanoid X rays of frogs.

Jan 2010 – Photographers Gallery; Goldberg etc.  Afrikaaner boys on horseback with Easter Island expressions.

Jan – Chaldon Mural.  Demons like aliens, in Happy Valley.

Jan – Chris Ofili, Tate Britain.  The hanged man on the right of the picture.

Feb 2010 – Van Doesburg, Tate Modern.  Diagonal or square?  VD says former, Mondrian latter.

Feb – Arshile Gorky, TM.  Had no idea how influential he was on the Abstract Expressionists; didn’t like those fluffy white backgrounds, though.

Feb – Brighton Art Gallery.  The Christopher Wood and the Mods and (especially) Rockers photos.  Two again, sorry.

Feb – “Michelangelo’s Dream”, Courtauld.  Phaeton’s chariot and horses plummeting down.

March 2010 – Threshold; drawings at Whitechapel Gallery, curated by Paula Rego.  That Sutherland drooping, segmented penis on yellow background.  OK, I know it isn’t, but it looks like it.

March – Celeste Boursier – Mougenot at Barbican.  Birds on the guitar strings, everyone loving it; impossible name, though.

March – Paul Nash at Dulwich.  Overkill for me – but I love the Thames Estuary air war.

April 2010 – History of the World in 100 0bjects, British Museum.  The tiny carved reindeer, with no purpose other than to look good.

April – Shobdon Tympanum, V & A.  Wild, hippy woman in sailor top, who turned out to be Jesus enthroned in majesty.  Strangest British object I’ve ever seen (but see Chaldon, above).

April – Pompidou Centre, Paris.  Too much fantastic stuff.  The feminist videos stick in my mind, especially Hannah Wilke’s.

April – Musee d’Orsay, Paris.  Several crap paintings by genius painters (Van Gogh, Cezanne…)

April – Museum of Modern Art, Paris.  Fabulous Bonnards, Marthe in bath.

April – Tate Modern, permanent collection.  Sarmanto, disappearing pictures.

April – Kingdom of Ife, British Museum.  Mix of realism and stylisation in single sculptures – and those heads.

April – Christian Kobke at the National Gallery.  The roof painting, seven -eighths sky.

(Peep Show on now; this continued tomorrow).



Blackpaint 24

December 26, 2009

Jorn, Kirkeby, Updahl & Co

I’ve been thinking about the Balka entry of a few days back and whether the argument could  be extended to other nationalities; are do we (or  critics)  expect Scandinavians to do dark skies, mountains and snow, or else  creatures that  are a hybrid of Norse mythology and their own imaginations?  Obviously, there must be loads of artists who don’t fit these stereotypes, but they may act as a sort of filter through which foreign – and maybe Scandinavian critics view their work and therefore help to nurture, if not create,  the stereotypes.

Per Kirkeby

Asger Jorn, Trauer

Two examples above, that are fairly representative of the artists’ work at given stages of their careers; two more tomorrow that will undermine the premise.

Watching: Avatar- Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Rings, Soldier Blue, The Jungle Book, Alien – did I miss any other obvious references?



Blackpaint 11

December 10, 2009

My latest effort now is heavily scored and slashed with wide strokes of black acrylic and charcoal and dirtied up in an attempt to make it less insipid and give it more gravitas.  It now looks a bit like a woman’s buttock and upper thigh done in a yellowy peach colour with a big red and white hole in it, surrounded by festoons of black (which as I look, transforms itself into a boy riding a bike – or half a bike – at speed across the canvas, from the olive drab on the right to the pale grey on the left).

If this keeps up, I’m going to pack in painting and go back to the drawing board -literally- until I sell another canvas, or get some inspiration back.  I’ve been reading Robert Hughes on Van Goch’s drawings done in Arles; he points out that they are not tonal, but are made up of separate marks and strokes which “let the light in”.  I’ve had a look at a couple and I think I see what he means – it will be a difficult one for me, as I tend to draw heavily and messily in a sort of impressionistic way, with a load or shading and scribbling.  I’ll have a go tomorrow at life drawing and see if I can get out of my habit.

I’ve got to mention the comment in yesterday’s Guardian about Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at the Roal Academy – I’ve thrown it away now, but it says something like this: that it’s either magical and stunning or pretentious and boring; perhaps both! 

I’ve been looking at Miquel Barcelo, “crane de profil” a fabulous skull done in “mixed media” on canvas – looks like a drawing.

Listening to: Bartok on piano, playing “Mikrokosmos” in 1937 and 1940, and thinking as always of my mate Bob Glass who gave me the CD;

And “Smokestack Lightning” by Howling Wolf ,of course, but who I think got it from Tommy Johnson – I wonder where, or who,  he got it from.

Watching – Wallander, the original.  Combination of cosy Swedish seaside and horrific, graphic murders that no-one seems upset by.  This, and the Updahl paintings yesterday morning gave the day a Scandinavian theme.  I think I’ll try for themed days in future – will that make this blog magical and stunning, or pretentious and boring? Perhaps, if I’m lucky, both. 



Blackpaint 10

December 9, 2009

British Library

Exhibition of 19th century photography at the above, called “Points of View”, I think.  The usual stuff; workmen lined up on earthen galleries in tunnels, bridges and dams under construction in Egypt, India and elsewhere in the Empire, Muybridge sequences of apes, horses, bison and humans in motion – the horse definitely does have all four hooves in the air at one point – Gettysburg dead in a trench,  Conan Doyle with an ectoplasmic entity hovering behind him.  Victoria, Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, criminal types, misty evenings in Trafalgar Square.

Three photographs really stood out for me, for completely different reasons.  The first was an Andaman Islander with a clamp attached to her neck to hold her in place for the photograph.  The second was an X ray of a frog, with an eerily human skeleton- and the third, a portrait of the actress, Mrs. Patrick Kavanagh, as she was titled.

King’s Place

Then, down to King’s Place  in York Way, to see paintings by Updahl, the Norwegian painter.  Mountains and huge sweeping curves of bays, with distant towns sketched in with paint along the shoreline, all under dark mauve skies, sometimes with aurora depicted.  Some of them reminded me of Paul Nash’s bay scene.  Downstairs, some watercolours of similar scenes with sharp contrast of light and darkness on mountain faces.  Our view impeded by a huge throng of suited businessmen (some women, overwhelmingly men) having their buffet lunch break from a conference.

British Museum

Finally, down to BM and to Mexican revolutionary prints from 30s to 50s, I think.  Social Realist type subjects- beggars, workers, soldiers, disabled, street scenes – but in that heroic, stylised manner of the muralists; Rivera,  Siqueiros and Orozco (who have a wall to themselves, titled “The Big Three”).

Had a quick walk through the North American/Canadian Indian section – First Nation peoples is the correct term, I understand from Ray Mears and George Monbiot – and saw the anoraks made from gut (of seal, sea lion etc.) to the Main Court and through to the Assyrian reliefs from Nimrud, Nineveh and Tigrath – Pileser (is that right?), to check on the lions in the lion hunt series and see if what I said about them being much better than Renaissance lions was right – it was.

As well as the lions, sprouting arrows, there were lines of soldiers carrying little lopped -off prisoners’ heads, two prisoners being skinned alive, divers apparently using inflated skins as swimming aids, rivers full of fish, crabs and eels, cities being besieged, walls scaled and battering ram “tanks” crashing into walls.  And the huge eagle-headed guardian spirits with pine cone and bucket (very like a handbag), lashes, fly whisks, and one pair attacking each other with knives.

Home, and Tim Marlow on Vermeer on TV.  Enough to make me despair, as I contemplate the trite, anaemic, tricksy abomination that is my own current “painting”.

Listening to: “Sorry”, by Bix Beiderbecke and  “It Never Entered my Mind” by Ella Fitzgerald.  The latter has the phrase “uneasy in my easy chair” – I came across “uneasy chair” in Ferlinghetti the other day – and “Naked Lunch” a few times too; did he get it from Burroughs or was it the other way round?