At the end of last month I went down to London and saw the following exhibitions:
- Painting Now, at Tate Britain - http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/painting-now-five-contemporary-artists
- Klee at Tate Modern - http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/ey-exhibition-paul-klee-making-visible
- Jameel Prize at Victoria and Albert - http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-jameel-prize/jameel-prize-3/
- Hannah Hoch at Whitechapel - http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/hannah-hch
Apart from Painting Now, all these shows were truly excellent. Klee, with 17 rooms of exhibits, was superb but exhausting. My usual approach with exhibitions is to go through the whole show and to go back through it once I've reached the end, to revisit particularly interesting works but not for this show! Use the links to find out more, because, frankly; I am just too lazy to write about these exhibitions.
I will say though, that I found Painting Now to be one of the most sterile shows on painting I have ever seen. I have since read most of the very positive reviews and the writers are all either suffering from the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome or I am completely and utterly ignorant about painting and what is going on today, which is entirely possible. This thought frightens me somewhat and makes me feel VERY inadequate. . .
What, for heaven's sake, is the point in making paintings that aim to deny the many qualities that paint has to offer? Even the painterly and slightly skewed urban landscapes by Simon Ling just reminded me of Ladybird book illustrations from the 50's and did not seem to be saying anything in particular; all towns and cities have their run down, derelict areas after all. Much is made of the fact that he paints them directly in front of the subject, even if they are finished in the studio, big deal! My opinion is that these artists would be better off writing about their subject rather than painting because the paintings did not invite me in to look for longer than a second or two and I actually found the whole experience frustrating. I want paintings to try and engage with the quality of paint itself and what it can do, to have a bit of gesture, certainly to contain colours; the flat monotone of some of these works and the dirty colour of others, thinly applied with hardly any evidence of the hand of their maker just left me cold.
This article popped up on my facebook feed while I was writing this blog:
It makes some very pertinent points with which I agree. If art schools were teaching people the skills they are asking to be taught like painting, the new independent schools that are beginning to spring up such as the one led by Turps Banana Magazine would not be necessary.
Sheila Ceccarelli of Access Art emailed me on 10th February to tell me that she and Paula Briggs had attended a conference at Tate Britain the previous week where they made a presentation about collaboration in the digital age. As part of this presentation, they used a slide of a piece of my work alongside work made in response to it by teenagers in a workshop. (Workshop not run by me).
Does this mean I can say I have shown at Tate Britain? HAH HAH!
I bought a piece of thin mdf this weekend to use as a printing bed for my wooden mangle. The mdf needs cutting down to the correct width and then I will be starting work on some prints and artists books very shortly. . . I seem to have been saying this for a while, sigh. But I will be doing it soon!
My studio has become slightly congested at the moment because I am storing easels and Directories for Ryedale ArtWorks and other sundry items , alongside some timber I have been saving to use on shelving projects among other things. This is making the construction of my large stretchers for the two remaining paintings I want to make impossible and so I need to sort out somewhere for all RAW stuff to be stored for the future and quick.
We have started work on the latest Ryedale ArtWorks directory; the usual flurry of admin to keep track of who has applied, paid, reciepts sent etc has ensued. Andy Dalton and I have managed to produce a passable document for the next Creative Commissioning bid to Ryedale District Council, so now we have our fingers crossed, while we continue delivering the projects funded from the last successful bid.
The transportation of my large painting for w0budong in Manchester on 12th March is now sorted, which is a relief. I will be taking some trestles a table top and some chairs in the van along with the painting itself. Oh, and 4 breeze blocks painted white, to put the painting on! I am now pondering how I will be able to anchor them to stop them moving about in the van and damaging the painting. I might have to put them in the foot well of the passenger seat!
So as you read this, you can see I am busy. I just need to produce some work now!