Archive for April 2012
Joan Miro - “For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.”
Art is in the eye of the beholder, and it can take surprising forms. Sometimes delighting us, sometimes shocking, but nearly always getting us to stretch our boundaries. Take for example, a new exhibition at…
I have had the box a week now and have only got as far as staring at it, wondering about it, opening it, looking at its contents and reflecting.
Here are some of the part-worked sheets that I think I may add to…
Who knows why such days come along from time to time... It was the writer Peter Redgrove that coined this term when I was one of his students in Cornwall many years back. He swore blind that when you entered Cornwall over the Tamar a black dog jumped on your shoulder and sat there until you left the county! Quite what he had against the place I never did find out.
I was born 20 minutes after my identical twin brother. I thought it might be fun to make some ‘identical’ pictures, the same in that they follow the same process for completion, the second one being completed 20 minutes after the first (which kind of necessitates that the first one takes only a little over twenty minutes).
They could be shown together, repeated laterally, or with one inverted like here, or in a variety of other combinations.
There is an impression that results from a particular juxtaposition of colours, lights and shades: what one might call the music of painting
… is quoted in the frontispiece of Peter Vergo’s book The Music of Painting, first published in 2010 and just out in paperback.
according to Charles Darwent, Art Quarterly, it’s “a must-have for anyone interested in why modernism looks (and sounds) as it does”
good job I have it then! It was a birthday present, and I have just started reading it.
The front cover shows a reproduction of Theo van Doesburg’s Rhythm of a Russian Dance,1918. Music and dance have an obvious connection with each other and a less obvious one with painting. I have blogged about it before in relation to Mondrian, whose work also features in the book, in a chapter entitled Art, Jazz and Silence. I am also reminded of another book Music and Modern Art, edited by James Leggio, and containing a chapter by Harry Cooper called Popular Models: Fox-Trot and Jazz Band in Mondrian’s Abstraction.
In a recent Rough Cuts video, James Kalm reviews the Stanley Whitney exhibition Left to Right, at Team Gallery (some great pics here ) saying of Whitney “His approach to color and rhythm are akin to the spontaneous riffs of great jazz solos”.
In Blogland, Scott Van Holzen’s blog art in music is dedicated to paintings based on musical themes and Ruth Gray, tells of how listening to some old records, she feels inspired to paint the colours she hears. I guess that making a connection between visual, auditory and kinaesthetic arts is almost bound to get somewhat synaesthetic.
The new(ish) exhibition showing at Tarpey Gallery until 12 May 2012, is a mixed show entitled Introducing, and includes work by Andrew Macara, Nick Hedderly, Denise Weston, David Crouch, Joan Ainley, Sarah R Key, Steven Ingman, Michelle Keegan and David Manley.
I have already met David Manley, not in person, but we have exchanged blog comments from time to time. I have seen and liked his paintings before and blogged about them here. He has an interesting blog here and a Rise Art portfolio here. His new paintings, the deadly delicious series, are based on diseases or viruses like Bird Flu, Marburg or HIV etc. Here they are in petri dishes looking quite beautiful. And they both are, and are not, representations of something (which themselves both are, and at the same time are not, representations of something).
These paintings, like others of his I have seen, seem to skirt between abstraction and figuration. They get me thinking about what representation and abstraction might be. I also find myself wondering about decoration and what makes something seem decorative, and what its purpose might be. No virus is ever ‘merely decorative’ and no painting is either, even when it is most overtly decorative.
Andrew Macara‘s paintings also seems to inhabit a space between abstraction and figuration, but more towards the figurative. I find his use of colour, for description and for decoration, stunning.
Just look at the colour in those shadows in the painting on the right!
…and that orange! I am lost for words, literally. If I wanted to find some words I could read the book Andrew Macarra by Jonathan Riley, there is a copy on display and a few for sale.
Another painter in this show who seems to play with the boundaries between figuration and abstraction is David Crouch. I have a strong sense that they are landscapes or interiors. Even though the shapes I am seeing don’t seem to form into things I can recognise, I do have the sense that they are “things”, or journeys perhaps, in vaguely defined spaces.
But how much of what the artist has drawn in paint on these canvases has a connection to something out there in the “real world”, and how much of it is from the imagination? Also, how do the shapes and colours on the canvas relate to what was in the artist’s imagination and how much is improvised? There are clues in the evidence of underpainting and revision, and I suspect that much of Crouch’s process involves improvisation. And isn’t that also the case with vision? How much of what I am seeing in these works is the residue of a communication and how much is my own invention? And for that matter, how much of anything I see in the “real world” is “out there” and how much is constructed “in here”? These are questions that all visual art raises, yet somehow especially so in these (kind of) works.
Again I can find out more about the artists preoccupations in a book, this time written by the artist, entitled Flirting with Space. No doubt when I read it I will find out just how wrong my interpretations were!
I love James Kalm’s Rough Cuts videos on YouTube. He takes his bike and visits New York galleries with his camera and gets videoing. We get pictures and commentary in slightly hushed voice, with little asides like “there’s such and such” when we see someone, and we get information about the New York art scene and some thoughts about the paintings. Often you can hear the rustling of paper as he looks up the title in the gallery notes. When I go to galleries I get my camera out like it’s a crime and discretely take a photo, usually discovering to my surprise that it is actually OK to do so. James Kalm just marches in says “hi” to whoever is in there and takes us along with him via the magic of video.
His new one is Terry Winters: Cricket Music and Tessellation Figures at Matthew Marks. I like the self-portrait reflection we get when he photographs the signage through the gallery window. I was unfamiliar with Terry Winters’ work and there was no chance I would have been going over to NY to see the show (unless NY stood for North Yorkshire, then I would certainly have gone) so it works as a good introduction. Kalm’s commentary ranges from the banal “I kind of like what he is doing here”, to the factual “tessellation figure 9″, to the hilarious “it almost gets figurative…it’s almost like an egg floating in the middle of a doily”.
Terry Winters has been a respected presence on the New York painting scene for decades now. His latest show ” Cricket Music and Tessellation Figures” is the first major presentation of new works since 2008. These pictures reveal a poetic application of the geometric concept of a gridded plane, it permutations through knotting and folding and the fragmentation of image and its re-composition.
In 2009 Artist Stephen B MacInnis began a series of 12″ x 12″ mixed media works on paper. Intending to make 100 pieces, and then, having done so, he decided to continue on to 1000 becoming The Long Series shown at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlestown, Prince Edward Island.
Keeping it going, the intention then became to make 10,000 works and to invite other artists to participate. The box containing artworks and some materials passes from artist to artist and will eventually be mailed back to Stephen. The process reminds me of that old Surrealist game The Exquisite Corpse, and it is a pleasure to be involved in it.
Here’s a photo of Clay Smith passing on the box to me, this morning at the QUAD in Derby