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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Artist Sterling Crispin is doing very interesting work involving reverse engineering computer facial recognition data to produce data-masks.


Painting as Performance 10


Imagine TV programme on Anselm Kiefer.  Wow, Kiefer works on a truly industrial scale.  I couldn’t help thinking that  working like this is not ecologically sound practice even though Kiefer doesn’t throw anything away.  The programme begins in the ruins of  WW2 and the influences on his work are very apparent.  Kiefer also talks a lot about geological time, near the end of the programme.  It’s as if he’s suddenly discovered that human life (and war) is meaningless after all!

John Mayall, icon of blues music still going strong aged 80 years!


Painting as performance 9

Dilemma – should I use white, or not, in the colour mixes, especially the pinks and blues?   I’m aiming to get the coloured areas to be as transparent as possible and the white pigments add varying degrees of opacity to the mix.


Colour mixing test using various white pigments mixed with pthalo pink and alizarine crimson.

Flake white produced the least opaque mix and this was the pigment that cooled the pink/crimson hues the least.  All white pigments seem to absorb the yellow/red end of the spectrum, to some degree, cooling the resulting mixes.  I have decided to keep some of the pthalo pink areas unmixed and some lighter areas will be mixtures.  The problem with the transparent pigments is that they tend to look patchy.

Georges Braque, A Life by Alex Danchev.  Braque was an artist with a singular vision but together he and Picasso invented ‘Cubism, a revolutionary pictorial assault on time and space‘.  Normally Braque worked alone.  He was untroubled by fame and fortune and focused on his task, as he saw it. He is one of the most interesting artists of the 20th Century.  I found this biography difficult to read and really had to concentrate to understand what Danchev was saying.

Some information about Braque from the book:

  • Braque was very interested in Zen Buddhism but he didn’t believe that his ideas derived from Zen Buddhism.
  • Braque recommended putting his pictures out in sunlight to ‘refresh’ them.  Oil paintings darken when not in sunlight.

Cafe de Flore – a film set in French speaking Canada and Paris.  Two parallel stories linked, near the end by the psychic mind of the abandoned Canadian ex-wife.  This sloppy story didn’t work and just seemed trite.

Waiting for paint to dry before I can continue with ‘Painting as Performance’.

Visit to London to see Greyson Perry’s work Who are You? at the National Portrait Gallery.  Tracey Emin at The White Cube Bermondsey.  There was a nice surprise at the White Cube Gallery:  new paintings by Lebanese-born artist Etel Adnan.   Then over to Cork Street to see some Howard Hodgkins work at the Alan Cristea Gallery.  Lastly there was a launch event for Speculative Aesthetics, at the Clore Gallery, Tate Britain.

Sublime London:


Rainbow at London Bridge Station.


Parade Ground Chelsea College of Art.

Perry’s work Who are You? was made during his Channel 4 series Who Are You?  Working with different individuals and groups, Perry made a series of different artworks as a response to this question.  I found the TV show to be very engaging and interesting, Perry works well under the spotlight.  His artworks form more of a self-portrait than portraits and reveal Perry as a sharp but conservative artist.  Some of the work went down very badly with the subjects, most notably his reponse to a group of Northern Ireland’s Loyalist marchers.    Alastair Smart writes a review for the Telegraph newspaper HERE.

Tracey Emin has a show at The White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey called The Last Great Adventure is You.  The vast bulk of this exhibition comprises drawings (of Emin herself).  She is a highly skilled draughtswoman but the work was very repetative.  One room contains embroidered canvases of some drawings that had been scaled up to monster proportions.  But it worked!  I was not so keen on the bronzes, I don’t think she works so well in 3D.  Jonathan Jones writes a review of Emin’s show for the Guardian HERE.

Etel Adnan is also showing at The White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey.  Small, slightly abstracted landscapes in wonderful colours.  This was a real treat.

Howard Hodgkin has a show at The Alan Cristea Gallery but I was too tired to look at the work properly and didn’t find it engaging at all.

The was a launch event for Speculative Aesthetics, at the Clore Gallery, Tate Britain.  At 6pm Starkton Sonic Cognitive Abrasion Set managed to clear out the room!  Discussion started at 6.45pm and include a Skype Link to Amanda Beech at Calarts in America.  Speculative Realism Philosophy seems to have thrown the cultural world into chaos and artists and curators seem to be at a loss as to how to respond.  This discourse has been brought to the heart of British  cultural institutions (Possibly to French and American Institutions too ).  Science and nature are in the ascendent again.


Amanda Beech on a Skype link to Caltech.

Congratulations to the scientists, physicists and engineers working on the Rosetta mission. Today the Philae probe landed on the target comet (amazing science, maths and technology) producing a real glimpse of another world.




Painting as performance 8

Really struggling to read Zizek’s book Absolute Recoil but finding Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes by Peter Wolfendale much easier to understand.


View from the Shard in the late evening sun.  Looking north-west across the London Basin.


Poppies at the Tower of London.

Poppies at the Tower of London.  Each poppy representing a British military fatality during WW1.

Just finished reading Starman, David Bowie, The Definative Biography by Paul Trynka.  With a very conservative nature teamed with a brilliant imagination, Bowie seems to have been a very unusual individual.  Here is a book review from the Guardian newspaper by Sean O’Hagan.


Painting as performance 7

Went to see the newly released film, Mr Turner, last night.  Very long, very slow film but very good!  A ‘must see’ for anybody interested in Turner’s work or art history.  Timothy Spall played Turner well but I couldn’t help feeling that he was slightly type cast – apologies Timothy.  The film begins with Turner already well know,aged 51, and depicted his life until his death aged 76.  It’s amazing that he lasted this long as he was handling many poisonous pigments.  Artist Tim Wright spent two years teaching  Spall how to paint in preparation for his roll as Turner.

Turner’s highly original  and much scorned (at the time) method of painting landscapes and light was a forerunner of the Impressionist movement.  Turner was not know for his figurative or portrait skills (I think that this is what steered him towards landscape painting) although he was reputed to have produced pornographic images that were destroyed by John Ruskin after his death.  Ruskin (proto-art critic), Turner’s biggest champion, is portrayed as a pompous prig and this is being taken to be a dig at critics in general – it’s very funny!

Just received Object-Orientated Philosophy The Noumenon’s New Clothes. by Peter Wolfendale.  It’s now joined the ‘to read’ list!


Painting as performance 6