Wednesday, 15 July 2015

xxxxxxx   RICHARD DEMARCO’S .......
85th B-DAY PARTY! at Fingask Castle 

Can RICHARD DEMARCO really be 85?

Many of us have known RD for years, indeed cannot remember when he was not around making life more exciting, more vibrant, more international. Merely on the basis of introductions & friends found, he deserves all of the nearly 50 - that’s FIFTY - awards, honorary doctorates, fellowships & orders of Merit (Polish, German, French, EC,  Romanian, American, British - even Scottish dare I say it, .........  but where is his KNIGHTHOOD???)

So how did he spend his b-day?? As KING of the CASTLE of course, crowned with flowers, draped with presents, talking non-stop, & laughing merrily.  
As the pix tell, there was food, music, Shakespeare, & friends amid a glorious setting of Fingask Castle. The sun shone on children, dogs, 9 friendly puppies, actors et al. Along the way of the last 60 yrs Ricky has made many friends, who came from far & wide to celebrate. 
He has also made a huge archive of artworks, over a million photographs, (10,000 already digitalized) plus artworks, films, records & letters.  
Demarco calls his photos "EVENT  Photography". For many years we all believed there was no film in his camera. (Remember when film was scarce, expensive & a trial to wind on, off or mess up?)  

Hospitable Mistress of ceremonies Helen Murray
Since 1966 Demarco has masterminded valuable, pioneering, extraordinary if excentric art events, art galleries, art performances, art installations, art journeys - & all this long before any Turner Prize, any award system - indeed without any awards - or cash! How to work on an invisible shoe-string? Well, Demarco can do it.
Demarco is also a fast & furious draughtsman, his keen eye and spare penmanship capturing in detail all the magic of country roads, farm building, cityscapes,  rocks, trees, signposts, with a road underpinning many of his dynamic drawings & watercolours. 
The famous ROAD TO MEIKLE SEGGIE wends its way from Scotland to Italy, Malta, Romania, Sardinia, France, Poland Ireland to end on Rannoch Moor, Callanish & Edinburgh.
I am also working on my archive - and, no surprise, Demarco gets more hits, more mentions than anyone else!  
And so to the Fingask mural or frieze. Centre stage as it should be - are the Murrays & offspring, then surrounded by friends. There is a space waiting for Ricky ... I hope he appears there, garland & all!  

Squire Andrew Murray Threipland, actors & supporters. 

These last 2 pix stolen from Roddy Martine! 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

VAN GOGH,  Massachusetts
4 superb exhibitions in Massachusetts: VAN GOGH at the Clark Art Institute, early Andy Warhol at William College Museum + Clemente & Clifford Ross at MASS MoCA, North Adams. Ross new to me. Memorable. Also an entire building full of Sol LeWitt murals. Visual heaven.

And we did not see everything! But even staying overnite, that's was enough intense looking. 

VAN GOGH & NATURE - 50 paintings loaned from all over the world. 

How many millions - trillions - of VG reproductions hang in schools, hotels, hospitals & student digs? Both my husband & I had a copy of London's Wheatfield with Cypresses  as a teenage pin-up. But my husband's committment was more serious. At 18 his European visit included a pilgrimage to Arles, St Remy & VG's grave. In 1950 when NY's Met held America's 1st major VG exh, he took the initiative of phoning his nephew, Theo's son, Vincent Willem Van Gogh, to invite him to come speak to his fellow students at Columbia Uni. "I took the subway to his hotel, The Beekman Towers." So began a friendship, & Phillip's subsequent visit to their home in Laren, Holland. "I drove from Paris in my uncles's .. car. Willem was then 60. I was 20. My bedroom was full of VG paintings. Mrs VG asked me how I wanted my breakfast eggs cooked. I could have died happy! " 
The Dutch Government was slow to show an interest in VG's archive. Vincent W approached Phillip with a view to helping set up a VG Foundation in the States & organise touring shows. Eventually In 1962  the Dutch came on board, but VG had already profoundly changed Phillip's life, giving him a lifetime's passion for artists & their work. The Van Gogh Museum was not founded till 1972. 
This surprisingly large exhibition of 50 works, all superb quality, includes many old favourites but some less known loaned from far afield: Toledo, Ottawa, Essen, Utrecht, LA, Zurich etc. as well as Paris, DC and especially Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum + Kroller Muller, Otterlo. A must see show. 
The installation is chronological. Beginning with Holland 1881-86 when VG drew his gloomy family garden in winter, (characteristic gnarled trees already present), 
then Paris with its parks & Montmartre windmills & allotments, (Glasgow has a good oil) the focus is on nature throughout. 
Especially good to see detailed pen drawings of his scrutiny of insects & birds with a giant Peacock moth 1889 appearing also on a strong oil. Close up butterflies flit across irises & poppies.

Orchards in bloom in Arles (from Otterlo) are a froth of white. "Nature here is extraordinarily beautiful" he wrote to Theo.  
By 1989 he was painting frantically, 2 or 3 works a day, urgency propelling his brush into arabesques or curls to create well known, beloved images of olive trees, cypress trees & the ever present wheat-fields burning gold under the blazing Provencal sun.
Van Gogh spent a year at the St Remy hospital, where he had 2 rooms with windows overlooking the landscape of corn. Using one as a studio, he painted 150 pictures here: hillsides, rocky terrain, trees, the gardens nearby. 
Small figures appear in some paintings: women loaded down, reapers working, peasants digging, the famous Sower in the sun. Van Gogh liked a central focus: the sun, tree or windmill, cloud, church or cottage centre stage. 
Colour - so drab at first, became lush, rich, joyful. A late oil, the dramatic, spare Rain, Auvers, on loan from Wales, ends the show, a sad reminder of his tragic end.