Thursday, 19 April 2018

Chadwick, Hockney and more...

Connaught Brown gallery, Mayfair.

I went into this gallery because of the Lynn  Chadwick sculpture in the window. The David Hockney was a pleasant surprise.

A Lynn Chadwick sculpture in the window, Sitting Couple II, 1980, (bronze)

the back of the sculpture as seen from inside the gallery.

David Hockney, Brooke Hopper, 1976, (lithograph)

Boaz Vaadia, Baraq with Cat, 2007, (bronze and bluestone)

Matthew Smith, Connie Martin, 1915, (oil on canvas)

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Eric Fischl, Presence of an Absence

Eric Fischl, Presence of an Absence, at Skarstedt, Mayfair.

'My paintings are only 'about' something when they've missed their mark. When they are successful, it is because they embody the 'thing' itself. They are about realism, they are about reality... They always fall short of perfection in ways that attest to their authenticity'.

In this body of work, set in domestic interiors and exteriors, there is an palpable sense of disconnect between an outward appearance of wealth and security and an inner sense of fear and longing for which there is no apparent cause. The paintings engage with a sense of detachment and with universal existential questions. There is a collapse of communication and a series of questions are being asked such as 'who are these people' and 'how are they connected?'

'There are two kinds of painter, if you like... One is somebody like Hopper who creates an image that bursts on your retina and you never forget it. You can see it, walk away and still see it. With the other kind you are caught up in the authenticity of the energy. The believable moment. Jackson Pollock, you are right there with him. I am essentially the Hopper artist trying to create a frozen moment. The truth about how it actually was'.

The Appearance, 2018, (oil on linen)

Last Look Mirror, 2017, (oil on linen)

Worry, 2017, (oil on linen)

Clearing the Table, 2018, (oil on linen)

Monday, 16 April 2018

London painters at Ordovas

London painters at Ordovas, London.

An exhibition of works by some of the core proponents of the so-called School of London:  Frank Auerbach, Lucien Freud,  Leon Kossoff.

Frank Auerbach, The Pillar Box III,  2010-11, (oil on canvas)

Leon Kossoff, Stormy Summer Day, 1979, (oil on canvas)

looking closer

Lucian Freud, Self-Portrait, 2002, (oil and charcoal on canvas)

This painting has never before been shown in the UK.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The kitchen project - 4

The units have been installed.

As has the oven and the microwave but they're not connected yet.

The fridge arrived this morning and will eventually fit in the space between the cupboards on its left. The electrician however has not fitted a socket in that space so we will have to wait until he comes. He is the weak link in this very efficient and highly organised team.

He fitted this box that contains a switch we can press if we have a power cut. It is fitted in such a way however that we cannot open the box to get access to the switch, because of the handle on the gas pipe which is in front of it. What can one say?

Now it's the waiting game. Nothing much can be done in the kitchen until the quartz tops are constructed which will take approximately two weeks. Furthermore, Andy, our builder, is away, deep sea diving in Indonesia, so nothing  can progress in the rest of the house either. Everything has come to a standstill.

We wait....

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The kitchen project - 3

Middle of week 2 and the reconstruction has begun. The walls in the kitchen have been plastered, the electrician has been, and the floor has been tiled.

Meanwhile, everything is a mess. The four pictures that follow are of our hall.

The sitting room and the spare bedroom are in the same condition.

Despite daily hovering of the rooms we live in, the dust keeps coming back.

Today, they have started fitting the new units.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Lorna Simpson

Unanswerable, by Lorna Simpson at Hauser and Wirth, London

Simpson came to prominence in the 1980s through her pioneering approach to conceptual photography, which featured striking juxtapositions of text and staged images and raised questions about the nature of representation,  identity, gender, race and history. These concerns are reflected throughout her present exhibition at Hauser and Wirth and present the artist's expanding and increasingly multi-disciplinary practice today.

Ice 4, 2018, (ink and acrylic on gessoed wood)

In the Ice series of paintings Simpson layers the appropriated imagery and Associated Press photographs of ice glaciers and smoke with nebulous washes of saturated ink which partially obscure the source material. The smoke plumes signal upheaval and discord in nature and society, in reference, perhaps, to images of riots following police brutality past and present that Simpson has more explicitly illustrated in other related works. Barely discernible strips of newsprint allude to wider issues in society. Here, as elsewhere, the artist is sparing with colour; her disciplined palette consists of inky blacks, greys and a startling blue, contributing to an atmosphere of bristling movement. Deftly navigating the territory between figuration and abstraction, these paintings cut through the calculated glamour of magazine imagery with the brute force of the natural world. As the artist explains, 'conceptually this is in tandem with what I'm experiencing emotionally but also what I feel is going on politically: the idea of being relentlessly consumed'.

looking closer

Ice 6, 2018, (ink and acrylic on gessoed fiberglass)

Ice 3, 2018, (ink and acrylic on gessoed fiberglass)

Ice 5, 2018, (ink and acrylic on gessoed fiberglass)

Ice 7, 2018, (ink and acrylic o gessoed fiberglass)

Woman on Snowball, 2018, (Styrofoam, plywood, plaster, steel, epoxy coating)

An oversized snowball made of plaster on top of which a small female figure perches precariously. The combination of the absurd and the association of the expression 'to snowball', alludes to an unstoppable force that gathers momentum with the potential to slip out of control. For Simpson, ice has a significance since it recalls the expression to be 'on ice', or in prison, as well as Eldridge Cleaver's 1968 book 'Soul on Ice', written while Cleaver was incarcerated in Folsom State Prison. Prison is where one does time and is an enforced form of isolation from wider society. And yet, Simpson remarks, 'there's something about ice that has come into the work that indicates either freezing or endurance'.

12 stacks, 2018, (Ebony and Jet magazines, poly shelves, bronze, plaster, glass)

The found image continues to be a source for Simpson's work. Here, she incorporates photographs from her collection of vintage Ebony and Jet magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s. These publications focused on subjects of lifestyle, culture and politics from an African-American perspective and are credited with chronicling black lives and issues so sorely under-represented elsewhere in the media. The material has both a personal and a wider cultural significance for Simpson who describes how the magazines, 'informed my sense of thinking about being black in America and are both a reminder of my childhood and a lens through which to see the past fifty years of history'.

The theme of natural elements appears as a metaphor throughout this exhibition in the form of sculptural works of 'ice' blocks made of glass.

The stack of magazines are glimpsed through the thick glass cubes that distort the cover imagery and lend an impression of being anchored or weighed down. 

Montage, 2018, (ink and acrylic on gessoed wood)

5 Properties, 2018, (Ebony and Jet magazines, poly sleeves, bronze, plaster, glass)

Double Stacked, 2018, (bronze, glass)