Saturday, 18 February 2017

ANTHONY GREEN. RA. at the Royal Academy London

Looking back with Anthony Green, RA is a treat! 
What a delight and intrigue this installation is! 
Anthony Green, famous for his irregularly shaped canvasses and quirky scenarios of his own middle-class domestic life with his beloved wife, 
has here given us a panoply of his mother's second marriage in 1955, seen thro his own 13 year old eyes. 

Nothing is missed. The silk scarf, handbag, the awful 'modern' fireplace & clock, oval mirror, burgundy eiderdown and fringed waste paper bucket. It is a perfect period piece.  
The gallery/room is full of vibrant, colouful paintings, and eccentric cutouts, little side tables for her watch, lipstick, vase, letters, pink powder puff and hair brush. 
Her ashes are in a pink & white sculptural drum created by Green to replace the screw-top canister he got after cremation. 
The centre piece - a 3D, 3 metre oil, The Fur Coat, features his mother, life size in her actual precious mink coat - then the height of luxury & sign of success. 
Green came to appreciate his stepfather Stanley, a fish merchant who could stand on his head and taught him how to saw. 
I loved everything about this touching, sweet, crazy memorial. It pulls at the heart strings like nothing else. Happily one of the watercolours Embassy Lodge, 1990 is a study for the painting now in Glasgow Museums.  
How lucky mum Madeleine was, to be so loved by her only child and so well remembered and charmingly memorialised. 
Green, RA studied at the Slade and has exhibited at the RA for 51 consecutive years.  His works often use compound perspectives and polygonal forms.  The show celebrates his 40th anniversary as RA. 
The celebration also includes a show at Green's CHRIS BEETLES Gallery in Ryder St, St James's near the RA. 
Here u can get the full force of his amazing paintings with their exuberant, joyous antics and unusual configurations. 

Every detail is there for u to enjoy. A visual feast. 
Here his wife Mary is also celebrated by her husband in paint oozing with affection and total understanding. She is a lucky lady too. 
                                               A total joy. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017


A great week. Loved the DAVID HOCKNEY at the TATE. 
Now he is so popular there have been too many snide comments. He is 80 and full of life, working every day. Thank god for that,

The show is chronological, full of his big hits like his parents, Bigger Splash and Geldzahler etc 


Not enough of his superb drawings - portraits of friends in the 1960s, 

and strangely few of his recent painted portraits from LA. 
However - why carp? The show is exhilarating with its bold colour and experimental videos. Yorkshire landscapes have never looked better.  
Spring Summer Autumn Winter in Yorkshire - a joy. 

via video or paint 

On to the ROYAL ACADEMY for the opening of a huge show of RUSSIAN ART 1917-1932 where folk like Kandinsky and Malevich are buried in a mass of peasants, Lenin and factory workers.
A good deal of ceramic plates and such are included, and are surprisingly interesting. Take a day to see it properly. 

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 

★ ★ ★ ★ "A voyage of discovery"  Evening Standard
Now, 100 years after the Russian Revolution, which lead to the rise of the Soviet Union, this exhibition brings together painting, film, photography and graphic work, all born out of a period of intense creativity followed by mounting repression. Watch the the exhibition trailer.

Also at the ROYAL ACADEMY is a small gem of a show from ANTHONY GREEN. 

More in a minute - I am off for a coffee!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Jon Schueler
The American painter Jon Schueler's centennial year has been extremely well celebrated with over a dozen exhibitions worldwide. It culminates in Women in the Sky, currently at Berry Campbell, New York.
 Schueler is best known as an abstract expressionist with a particular focus on cloud forms and the sky.
In World War 2 he flew as a navigator in B17 bombers, and a turning point after the war was 1957 when he sailed for Scotland and set up his studio in Mallaig, 
a tiny fishing port on the west coast right opposite the Isle of Skye.
His Scottish connections continue to play a big role, both personally and artistically. In 1976 he married - for the 5th time! - Magda Salvesen, then working in Edinburgh at the Scottish Arts Council.  She was always very involved in helping his career & after his death in 1992 she has continued to work hard on his archive. 
This annus mirabilis has also involved a major conference held on Skye.  
The current show is unusual in that if contains some images of women painted between 1962-7. 
But very soon these sensuous female figures were subsumed in abstractions of mist and cloud, rain and wind, emerging through gray veils or glimpsed as they recede into Skye's watery pools of light. 
The catalogue brochure accompanying this show is particularly helpful. 
near the studio, Mallaig
I first met Jon in 1981 or 82 when he had a big show at the Talbot Rice Gallery during the Edinburgh Festival. Last year for the first time I eventually went to Skye   in search of the places Jon had lived and painted. 
To experience the vast ocean and the ever changing light on the exact views that he has spent so long absorbing and recreating on canvas.
Of course I was hugely helped by Magda's detailed notes on how to find his various studios and locations. I even found the harsh, desolate steep hillside, (see below) where he first located, overlooking the harbour.
  Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and Paisley too, have exhibited his paintings this year. 
Above is the view from his studio.   Schueler was very fond of Scotland in general, loved the landscape and was passionate about its skies! 
The many shows there this year vouch for his secure place in his adopted home.