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Category Archives: theory

I’ve developed an RSI in my right arm so I’m teaching my left hand to use the computer mouse.  Easier said than done when you’re right handed!

Visited the Patrick Heron Exhibition at the beautiful Tate St Ives  Gallery.  I loved his paintings, especially the more colourful ones.  I’d like to revisit this exhibition, later in the year when it comes to the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate.  I also went to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden which was a lovely setting but I’m not keen on her work.


Various paintings from the Patrick Heron Exhibition at Tate St Ives  Gallery.

I’ve read several reviews of the Heron exhibition and the critics all criticise the ahistoric curation.  Paintings are grouped by theme instead.  Luckily for me, as a painter, the themes made sense:   unity; the edge; explicit scale; asymmetry and re-complication.


Ground up mica in the ultramarine blue makes it look velvety but I don’t think it’s more luminous.

I visited the All Too Human exhibition at Tate Britain this week.   Somehow it seemed a bit incoherent and the organization of the painting’s didn’t quite work.  My favourite room was the one with Francis Bacon’s paintings.  I’m tired of Lucien Freud’s humans painted as animals.  But I did like an image of his dog which was part of a larger painting.

Over to Tate Modern and Picasso again…………………..

Much as I love the way John Caputo lectures I just cannot agree with his conclusion on what constitutes ‘truth’.  He takes the postmodern definition that any belief can be ‘truth’.  My modernist brain cannot accept this at all.  I am a science ‘bully’ as I still believe that the scientific method is the closest that we can get to ‘reality’ and therefore ‘truth’.  I’m now close reading Truth by John D. Caputo.



Book – Truth by John D. Caputo.  Probably the only philosophy book that I’ve ever understood.  I love this guy.  I’ve listened to many of his lectures when I was studying Meillasoux.


An early Christmas present.

Picasso’s Guernica was the subject of In our Time on Radio 4, yesterday.   It was mentioned that Picasso used ground glass when preparing his canvasses and this increased the luminosity of the paint prefiguring TV and other forms of image lit from behind.  I had a look round and have found a wealth of powdered mediums supplied by Jackson’s.  I’d like to try using some of these.

I’ve been trying to discover more about Chiam Soutine’s life.  Information is very hard to come by.  Chiam Soutine (best of) by Klaus H. Carl looks like a useful book.

Just finished reading The Emerald Planet, How Plants Changed Earth’s History by David Berling.  Really interesting book about how evolving plant life interacted with the Earth, sea and atmosphere.  Explains how the gasous mix in the atmosphere is constantly changing and how feedback mechanisms are thought to work.   It also tackled the question I had about palaeo atmospheric pressure.   It is proposed that atmospheric pressure was higher 300MA, in the Carbonferous and that this led to the evolution of giant insects.

Visit to Courtauld Gallery to see Soutine’s Portraits:  Cooks, Waiters and Bell boys.  Nice little exhibition and the paintings didn’t disappoint.  Reproductions of some of the paintings were sometimes better than the actual paintings.  I often find that and I don’t know why.

Most of his pictures were of men in service.  Mostly torso & head and occasionally full length.  There were very few pictures of women and it was noticeable in the ones that were there that the artist’s viewpoint was looking down on the subject whereas the men were looked in the eye.

Jonathan Jones writes a good review of this exhibition for the Guardian newspaper.  I can see the link to Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach & Lucien Freud.  An even more detailed review is given by Alison Cole for The Arts


Young woman in a white blouse. Around 1923. Oil on canvas. 34cm x 45cm. Part of The Courtauld collection. Allocated by HMRC in lieu of IHT.

BR2049.  Could this possibly be as good as the original BR?  I enjoyed it but it’s incredibly dystopian which is a bit depressing.  It reminded me of Mad Max.  I wonder if it’ll be referenced by artists as much as the original BR?  The most novel idea was the two replicants/robots synching.  Main theme’s are humans destruction plus the nature of reality.

The Gaze.  I’m becoming very interested in how video calls disrupt ‘the gaze’.  I find video calls extremely unnerving.  The reason why is obvious.  I’m looking at a piece of technology and not into the eyes of another human being in another time and in another place.

I’d like to explore this feeling of discomfort  further – but where should I start!

Me looking at you but not really looking at you because you’re in another place at another time and you’re not really looking at me because you’re looking at a screen and you’re not looking at your screen either.  What are you looking at?  Where are you?  When are you?

Dan Rosenfeld articulates and tries to solve this problem.

I recently watched Solaris (1972), the original Russian version and Solaris (2002) the American version.  Both are based on Stanislaw Lem’s science fiction novel, Solaris.  The 1972 film is extremely long but a much more satisfying experience, asking lots of interesting philosophical questions.  The 2002 version seems to have lost much of the quality of enquiry and become just another ‘tale’.