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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Visit to the Royal Academy Schools, Premiums, Interim Show. This show comprises work produced by RA Schools fine art postgraduate studies students half-way through their three year course. I don’t usually give any time to video projects
but there were three very arresting pieces of work here that were absolutely stunning. Top prize goes to Elliot Dodd for Step to Aeration (stringent) MCM (happy mix). This work reminded me of Marc Quinn’s No Visible Means of Escape 1996, Congratulations also, to Claire Undy, Notwithstanding, 2014 that summarises the struggles of trying to ‘get on your feet’. Molly Palmer‘s, In Addition to Everything Real, is also very mesmerising. Dodd’s and Palmer’s work included background music with a very insistent beat that I think added to the viewer’s engagement with the work. Undy and Palmer have websites, useful for futher information, but Elliot Dodd seems to fly below the radar.

I also found Gery Georgieva‘s Giclee prints Golden Sands and Ploshtad Nezavisimost surprisingly interesting. Neill Kidgell‘s paintings were very reminiscent of an artist that I know! Jack Killick had the largest installation in the show, Swamp, plywood and emulsion – nice!


Swamp, Plywood and emusion, dimensions variable, by Jack Killick.

Here is a short video of students putting the show together. Elliot Dodds video screen is on the far wall at the beginning of the video. Scroll down beneath the video and there is a list of students participating in Premiums.

Scroll further down the page and some of the students select artists who inspire them. I find it interesting that the students have all selected contemporary artists – is this the end of history?

Congratulations to the RA for an excellent and inspiring show.

The Royal Academy – what a contrast between visitors to the front part of the building and the visitors to the back part of the building! I wonder if the people who visit the front of the building are aware of what goes on at the back of the building and that money made at the front of the building finances what goes on at the back of the building?

Went on to see Luc Tuymans work at the David Zwirner Gallery. Oh dear what a let down after the Premiums show the work seemed a bit tired.

I have now read the press release of Tuymans, The Shore exhibition and this has helped my understanding of Tuyman’s paintings. This makes me wonder how much paintings should speak for themselves? I did need words to help me to understand the images. Jackie Wullschlager wrote a useful review of The Shore titled, “Dark visions and enlightenment” for the Financial Times, January 4, 2015.


The Shore by Luc Tuymans.


Issei Sagawa, 2014 by Luc Tuymans.
74.3 x 81.9 cm.

Guardian newspaper review by Mark Brown, loads of interesting links in this article.


I find this video truly scary:  Journey through the Virgo supercluster.

“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me” ― Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Alone in the universe = sublime horror!

Some nice Arctic sp. fossils from Thanet Sands, Herne Bay, Kent.


Arctica sp. from Thanet Sands, Herne Bay, Kent. Articulated shells and pyritised casts – a death assemblage?

Progress with the pizza.


Building the pizza up slowly layer by layer.


Making the pizza.


A few of the sharks teeth collected on Saturday.


Lump of Thanet sand cramed with bivalves plus a couple of gasteropods.

Saturday 21st February – trip to Herne Bay. Low tide at 8.15am GMT, 0.21m according to the Port of London Authority tidal tables. Sunrise at 7.02am reveals a cold grey overcast morning 2-3 degrees Celsius ie. very cold! At the beach a 14mph WNW wind is blowing the sea up the shore. Just under 1000mb pressure doesn’t help either.

Arrived at the beach at 7am and am surprised by how few people are there. The wind blowing the sea up the beach is a real problem. Where the small ‘island’ would normally be visible above the waves there is nothing to be seen.


Herne Bay Beach, Beltinge end, early in the morning.

We got down to searching for fossils as quickly as possible.


Searching for fossils at Herne Bay.


Checking the sieve for fossils, mainly sharks teeth.

Driving home it snowed for about an hour up on the North Downs. The snow only settled briefly though!

This is the worst low tide that I’ve ever seen at Herne Bay. The wind prevented the water from ebbing completely and when the tide turned it came back up the beach much more rapidly than usual. This is the lowest tide of 2015.

In the weird and scary hall of mirrors!


Hall of Mirrors

I don’t like seeing the muffin-top multiplied!!!

Big treat yesterday – The Image as Burden, Marlene Dumas at the Tate Modern Gallery. What made this exhibition so different for me? The main thing is that some of her work ‘sticks’. So often with contemporary art exhibitions the images are quickly forgotten. With Dumas there’s something interesting and compelling about her paintings. I didn’t find her drawings, particularly her groups of drawings, worked in quite the same way. Many of her paintings are faces and what I find irresistable is that the faces are emotionless, like masks and the only ‘life’ is in the eyes. It’s as if the face is a carapace with something else living inside! Her nude bodies also worked in this way.

Her least successful painting is Mind Blocks, 2009 why? This painting is weak and just does not work. Karen Wright wrights a good review for The Independent Newspaper HERE.

Also visited Rubens and his Legacy Van Dyke to Cezanne at The Royal Academy. I’m ashamed to say that I thought that Rubens was a Venetian painter so discovering that he is Flemish was a bit of a surprise. I think that his paintings reveal a Catholic sensibility that I associate more with southern Europe. Boy could Rubens paint! The contemporary works curated by Jenny Saville just look so lame by comparison!

Rubens and his legacy has had some very bad reviews such as this one HERE written by Jonathan Jones for the Guardian newspaper. The clue is in the web address ‘crass-analogies-bad-ideas’. Entering the exhibition you are faced with a Constable painting which is a bit puzzling. I don’t like the thematic grouping. Ruben’s The Drunken Silenus did make me laugh but why wasn’t there a room of Ruben’s drunks? He painted loads.


making the pizza

Flamsteed Astronomy Society lecture – Rosetta: To Catch a Comet! by Professor Mark McCaughrean,
February 9 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm last night at the NMM Lecture Theatre. Interesting lecture by the very enthusiastic Professor Mark McCaughrean. It’s truly a miracle that Philae ever landed on this tiny object! Also, the comet has a crack through it’s neck – fascinating!


Assembling the pizza.

New painting ‘Mars Pizza Phase’ using a photograph taken in Surrey in 2014. I’ve drawn a fine grid onto a gessoed canvas and fixed the graphite grid with fixative and a layer of diluted gesso. The graphite became quite mobile when I was using the dilute gesso and this is something that I’d like to explore further.

Layers of Windsor and Newton transparent acrylic inks are being used for the under painting. Surprisingly even dry layers of ink become mobile when new layers of ink are applied with any force (eg. wiping with a cloth).


Mars pizza phase.


Image of Mars photographed from Surrey.


Onshore wind pushing lumps of the sea onto the sea wall at Newhaven.


Spot the sea birds.

I’ve just been having a look at Google Art Projects. I find it excellent for looking close-up at paintings in a way that is not possible in galleries. There is lots of additional information, descriptions, contextual information and audio. Although exact colour and scale is not evident on a computer screen, these images seem to be a better translation of the original paintings/artworks, than printed images.