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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Waiting for paint to dry – literally!

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Oil painting based on the Eskimo Nebula
with yellow-red-blue base layers

When the paint is dry I need to re-establish the grid.

Went to visit The Search for Immortality Tomb Treasures of Han China at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Most amazing are the two Jade Burial Suits.

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Immortality Suit (Guardian Newspaper)

Also popped into The Polar Museum which contained other interesting suits – furry mortality suits.

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Mortality Suit (British Museum)

Perhaps I need an Mortality/Immortality suit – a fur and flint combination?

The edge of beyond: paintings from Antarctica by Dafila Scott, granddaughter of Captain Robert Falcon Scott – The Polar Museum – until 30th June 2012. Nice colourful work capturing the icy beauty of the Antarctic.

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Oil Painting by Dafila Scott

Work in progress 100cm x 100cm oil painting based on the Eskimo Nebula.

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Oil painting based on the Eskimo Nebula

Went to see the Summer exhibition at the Royal Academy yesterday. Too much to look at as usual. Ken Howard‘s works look tired unlike Humphrey Oceans‘ large, elegant paintings. Liked some of the sculptures especially the charred tree stump by David Nash.

Frith Street Gallery is showing an exhibition of Juan Munoz‘s work (I didn’t realise that he is dead!) His figure drawings are superb but I was not so keen on the chair prints shown downstairs. His figure sculptures are intriguing. Under life-size many of them are little men in motion. Some of them carry lengths of cloth. Precariously balanced the ought to fall over. How were they made?

Then went out to Mile End to visit Matts Gallery and see Jennet Thomas‘s new video/performance/installation showing in Gallery Two. The 40 minute video loop is much more intense than ‘All Suffering Soon To End’. Set in a school of the future I see this work as a Critique of neo Liberalism as discussed by Mark Fisher in his book Capitalist Realism. The creepiest thing about this work is the performative aspect. Entering the gallery up a ramp through a darkened room = the room is filled with black and yellow sculptures – stick men from the film. At a table sits a ‘schoolgirl’ who looks at you intently then starts writing in a book – it’s quite unsettling being observed in such a dispassionate manner!

Fiona Crisp’s Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle is showing in Gallery One at Matts Gallery. Crisp’s photographs ‘are removed from the plane of gallery wall and sited on single scaffolding poles creating a new, provisional architecture of the gallery interior.’ The orientations of the images varied creating little ‘rooms’ within the gallery.
(photographs were framed and braced across the back. Clamps were screwed onto the braces which fixed to the scaffolding poles.) The whole effect mirrored the controlled views of 18th century gardens in a very interesting way. The scaffolding poles were evenly spaced in rows of 4. The photographs were all hung at the same height.

Went to see Chris Agnew’s exhibition at the Nancy Victor Gallery. This work seems to be a consolidation of his Wimbledon ideas.

Then on to see the Chelsea Graduate Exhibition. I particularly went there to see Edward Simpson’s art work. We were shocked to see the lectern being knocked over and two parts of the carousel being broken. Only the concrete casts from the accordion withstood the rigors. Fragile work in a vulnerable position. Sensitive work – well executed. Did not notice much else after that.

Having experimented with various grid sizes for my 100cm x 100cm canvas I’ve decided that a 32 squares x 32 squares grid has the best proportions. This conforms to the necessity of being divisible by 4. I’ve now started painting this canvas freehand ie. no masking. Starting with transparent Indian Yellow I’m planning on building the colours up in layers (like watercolour painting).

I’m reading ‘Growing Up The Young British Artists at 50‘ by Jeremy Cooper. This book is easily readable and interesting, putting into context this group of artists – I don’t like the acronym yBas – it sounds like a Welsh folk singing group.

To do list:

Chris Agnew (Wimbledon MA) has a show at Nancy Victor Gallery.

Jenny Saville has a show in Oxford at The Museum of Modern Art.

In Search for Immortality; Tomb Treasures of Han China at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge.

There’s an interesting critique of Marxist Philosopeher, Slavo Zizek by Decca Aitkenhead in The Guardian newspaper today. Bottom line seems to be that Zizek is hard to fathom. Whilst his style of delivery may not please his audience (especially his smutty jokes) the points he makes are serious and memorable. What has happened to cultural commentator Mark Fisher? He’s been very quiet since publishing his book Capitalist Realism.

Visit to London to see Frank Bowling’s works at Tate Britain and
Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude at the National Gallery. This exhibition illustrates the extent to which Turner was inspired by Claude’s mastery of light and landscape.