Posts Tagged ‘William Crozier’

Blackpaint 583 – Ignored Women, Mahler and Bloom, Soutine and Schwabacher

January 22, 2017

London Art Fair

Finishes today (Sunday) unfortunately; below, a selection of the best paintings on view:


John Minton

Medieval quality to this, somehow..



Graham Sutherland (of course) – that blue, with the orange…



Robyn Denny three piece – before he went geometric/minimalist…



Leigh Davis – just a fabulous little painting, touch of Lanyon, maybe?



William Crozier – I love the dry, spiky roughness of his earlier work.  There was another one that I didn’t get a photo of, again with that fiery roughness; if you look at his images online, they are somehow gentler, more “at rest”; I guess they are later.



A couple of Crozier watercolours, to illustrate what I mean by “at rest”.


Audrey Grant

I love these rough portraits – there’s a bit of early Hockney there, and Nathan Oliviera and Manuel Neri (Bay Area, 60s ).

In addition to these were : a single flower in a vase against a grey/pink background by Euan Uglow; a beautiful yellow Craigie Aicheson; an Uglow-like dresser (cabinet, not person) by William Brooker;  a couple of unusual Ivon Hitchens – unusual, because they contained figures.  And the brilliant usual suspects, Allan Davie, Adrian Heath, Roger Hilton and a single Gillian Ayres, lozenge shaped and pink – or was it grey? – background.

Mahler, Ken Russell (1974)


Robert Powell in the main role, strong resemblance to the real Mahler, judging by the photographs.  Great start; dream sequence of a blazing chalet, Georgina Hale (Alma Mahler) emerging, writhing, from a white cocoon on a rocky shore.  Some vigorously rendered Jewish stereotypes from the likes of Lee Montague, Miriam Karlin and John Bluthal as parents and family of the young Mahler – maybe a little too vigorous for today’s tastes – and Cosima Wagner (Antonia Ellis) , in a German helmet and black bondage bodice, in front of a giant sword, waving a whiplash and yelling commands at a timorous Mahler as he undergoes his conversion from Judaism to Christianity to further his career.  Are there swastikas?  I’m pretty sure there are, maybe carved in the rocks…no, just checked; there’s one on her backside.

I’m sure it happened exactly as Ken portrayed it.  Brings to mind the Nighttown scene in Ulysses, when the brothel madam Bella Cohen bullies the hapless Leopold Bloom, transformed as he is into one of Cohen’s girls…

The music, of course, is fantastic, although mainly, I think, from the first three symphonies, and Kindertotenlieder.


At last, found a book on the weird and influential Chaim Soutine; it’s by Klaus H Carl and is published by Parkstone International.  The English is bizarre at times and Carl tends to regard the reader as a complete ignoramus – but the illustrations are great and it’s only a tenner (in Foyles).

Those bent faces and tables and pots, breakneck angles and steps in the landscapes, people walking leaning way over to one side – remind me of Sokurov’s “Mother and Son”.  And if you like texture, Soutine is your man.

Women AbExes

Another book, “Women of Abstract Expressionism”, Joan Marter (ed), Yale University Press 2016.  Based on a Denver exhibition, it documents a number of lesser-known, or ignored, women abexes, beyond Frankenthaler, Mitchell, Krasner, Hartigan and Elaine de Kooning.  I’ve mentioned Pat Passlof before; best of the rest as far as I’m concerned, are Perle Fine, Ethel Schwabacher, Deborah Remington and Mary Abbott.


Ethel Schwabacher – Origins i, 1958

The American Scene – prints from Hopper to Pollock (Stephen Coppel, British Museum Press 2008)

The last book recommendation, this is being sold off cheaply at the British Museum, along with a number of other catalogues.  It has some fantastic stuff –  Grant Wood, James E Allen, Robert Gwathmey – well, they are mostly brilliant.  Also, they have the complete Kitaj prints for a fiver – or they did when I went.

One of mine to end with:


Time and Place, No.7



Blackpaint 495 – Political Art, Labyrinths and the Chimes at Midnight

May 18, 2015

Deutsche Borse Prize at Photographers Gallery

Three sets of photographs that are worth checking out:

  • Ponte Tower, Johannesburg, by Subotsky and Waterhouse;

MS 11


  • 80s Russian couples in bathing costumes, by Nikolai Bakharev (the Russian blokes all look really hard, even when acting silly and wearing comedy headgear);


  • South African lesbians, by Zanele Muholi – Remember seeing these startling photos at last Venice Biennale.

House of Leaves, Danielewsky (cont.)

So, it’s a house that expands, contracts, twists when you are inside, while remaining just an ordinary house on the outside.  It is pitch black, the corridors lead to an enormous staircase that falls to a colossal, cavernous chamber.  And so, the endless, interleaving, irritating footnotes are supposed to echo the labyrinthine nature of the corridors – you get lost in them – and the pages containing only a few lines of text, surrounded by white empty page echo the emptiness of the huge chamber at the foot of the staircase.  Maybe.

Chimes at Midnight, Orson Welles

This has just been released in UK as a DVD; I’m still using the Spanish version I got as a present some years back.  Welles is a brilliant Falstaff, although I think surpassed by Anthony Quayle in the old BBC Henrys.  I was surprised to notice that Welles softens Hal’s treatment of Falstaff by including the lines from Henry V, in which Henry orders the release of “the man who rail’d against our person” and making them apply to Falstaff. Granted, it’s too late; Falstaff is already dead.  Still, it softens the king, harmfully in my view.

Art Fair, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore

A very small Adrian Heath, not much bigger than a postcard, on sale for £22, 000…

Other great paintings on view were early William Croziers; spiky, lots of black and fiery red, much better than his later, more colourful stuff;

Pierre-Francois Grimaldi, layered collages of old torn and tattered posters;




and Rose Hilton; glowing, warm, pink – well, rose, mostly.  Her son introduced himself to us; I wasn’t sure if he was Roger’s son, too – if so, quite a heritage.

“Bite Your Tongue” -Leon Golub at the Serpentine

Huge, dark cartoons of thuggish, armed US soldiers in Vietnam and thuggish, armed cops back home in USA, threatening and carrying out thuggish things on guerrillas and civilians.  I wasn’t greatly impressed.


Pascale Marthine Tayou at the Serpentine Gallery


Extraordinarily varied art – soft stuffed pieces (see above), neons, broken mirrors, a huge cloud of cotton with wooden stakes protruding, hanging above your head in a darkened tunnel – this artist from the Cameroons reminded me of Cildo Meireles, the Brazilian, who constructs elaborate tableaux out of historically and politically charged materials.  Like Meireles’, Tayou’s art is political; the materials and structures relate to the colonial and  post-colonial history and current problems of the country and continent generally.

None of this is apparent, however; you need to read the explanatory blurb on the walls.  Golub and Tayou thus represent two ways of doing political art:  the direct and the allusive.  My own way is a Third Way – an example is below (ignore the title).  The painting expresses my angst resulting from the failure of the Labour Party at the last election and the prospect of another five years of rule by the “party of working people”.



Between the Slates