Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Painting Today

Almost impossible to get hold of following its publication in 2009, the 2010 second edition of Tony Godfrey's Painting Today may sell out just as quickly. It's certainly hard to resist, and with over 280 painters featured and almost 500 illustrations it may just satisfy those who have exhausted the pages of Phaidon's other seminal 'new painting' book Vitamin P. It's pretty impressive really, and a single author's take on things will always have a more idiosynchratic feel to it than, say, the collective 'multiple author' approach that Vitamin P took. There is one glaring omission from Painting Today- not featuring Richard Hamilton is a shocking oversight, particularly as David Hockney and Bridget Riley are mentioned. Interestingly also, the chapter on 'Neo Expressionism' (which was really Godfrey's forte back in the 80s) has completely air-brushed Sandro Chia out of the picture, which is also a mistake I think. The author obviously has a few personal favourites as well, the most surprising perhaps being Stuart Pearson Wright who actually opens the first main chapter and re-appears twice more throughout the book, which seems to overstate his importance more than a little I'd say. There are some really weird bits, like telling us that the seductive nature of Sarah Morris's work is heightened by the fact that she sometimes also paints high heeled shoes (?!!!) and also the inclusion of Chuck Close in the 'Post Feminism' chapter seems downright bizarre.

Surprising omissions are perhaps Dexter Dalwood and Andrew Grassie. But there are some great resurrections as well- Maria Lassnig looks in her proper place, as does Alice Neel. Ireland (Northern) is represented by the predictable Mark Francis (unfortunately the bio at the back has him hailing from 'Newtowark' ?) but a fantastic image of Elizabeth Magill's is a great inclusion. At a push you could also say that Ireland gets another shout through the inclusion of Alexis Harding.
Two other things- there's one whole chapter devoted to 'Dresden and Leipzig' which really just shows off again Godfrey's penchant for Neo Expressionist type painting, and there's far too much 'pseudo Pop' Chinese contemporary painting. But over-all, as I said, it's a hard-to-resist book.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


'Turn' 2010

 Extended until January 8th 2011 at the Kerlin in Dublin CLICK ON RED HEADER TITLE ABOVE FOR LINK. Fantastic smaller works that seem to mark a real transition from recent 'wooded landscapes', with extended narratives coming to the fore much more strongly. Magill will be the first painter interviewed on Subjects of the Painter, coming in January 2011.

Monday, 13 December 2010

third space gallery 'end of 2010'

Alistair Wilson

Dougal McKenzie
left: Alas, Snow White   right: Medulienka

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Mr. Storr and Mr. Nozkowski

Click on Title above for excerpts of chat between Messrs. Storr and Nozkowski.....

Here is a Painting by Mark, Choosing the wrong path, 2006, it reminded me of the image Dougal posted of Tuymans.

Also I have attached an image of Richters 'Doubt and Belief in Painting' by Robert Storr. If you are interested in Richter it is a great read, Tuymans whatever....

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Tuymans' Palette

'Belgian artist Luc Tuymans is widely seen as having contributed to the revival of painting in the 1990s.' So says the David Zwirner press release relating to the gallery's current show of Tuymans' work (click on Title for link.) The consistently insipid pallor of his palette has certainly always been suggestive of a medium struggling out of its sick bed. But therein lie the limitations of his frame of reference. As a 'history' painter Tuymans' has a lot to say; but is it just me who finds all those earthy colours a real drag. As for the countless imitations of his pale, washed-out palette, don't get me started.....

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Progress Review

I've put Progress Report on the 'best links' at the bottom of blog, I think I came across it through TCOP- anyway, it's a nice idea as it presents painters' work in progress through studio visits, with a bit of commentary and other info. I like this idea as it captures moments of the works that might not normally be seen in the final outcomes. On the other hand, not everyone is comfortable with letting people see the sometimes difficult journey towards the resolution of a painting. Here are some of my works in progress for show at third space gallery around April, including a 'difficult' painting which is bizzarely trying to be '1970s'. What a daft idea, but hey, I'll expose it anyway....maybe in time a sister blog called Progress Review can conduct Q and A's about what's on the go in painters' studios.

1972 Painting

Hot and Cool


Stan, the Pantsman

Friday, 19 November 2010

Jack Levine 1915-2010


I discovered Jack levine's work about 15, 16 years ago, came across a great publication of his work in waterstones of all places. Never seen it again though. Was extremely disappointed not to see any when we where living in NY, his work is in the Brooklyn Museum, Jewish museum, Moma, Met and Whitney and couldn't find one. I know he was coming back into vogue in the last few years as some curators were putting his paintings into political themed exhibition in the U.S.

Georg Baselitz, The Big Night Down the Drain

Oil on canvas, 250 x 180 cm.Georg Baselitz, The Big Night Down the Drain

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Been looking a lot at Vuillard recently..amongst others.Particularly like this piece. Really interesting use of colour, space and figuration.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Missing Kitaj

I look at R.B.Kitaj's 'Second Diasporist Manifesto' quite alot. He got it published just before his suicide in 2007. His early works are well known; the later works are very idiosynchratic and not as well received so far. I am fascinated by the late works, and wish he had stuck around a bit longer to do a third manifesto, and to do a bit more Jewish art painting, as he would have put it.

Yellow Bikini, 2006

G. Scholem, 2007

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Burnt Wig Blues

Cian Donnelly currently showing at the third space gallery in Belfast. Intensely layered, glowing colour and balancing between the sacred and the profane. Fantastic.

Friday, 5 November 2010

I'll Bring You To A Better World

Study for ongoing body of work. Listening to Blondie 'Eat to the Beat' c.1979 in the studio, I liked the above line. Might use it as title for work, or might stick with 'Orientalism'...either way, two Japanese guys in white stetsons have wandered into this picture.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Robert Rauschenberg. Factum II. 1957

Factum II looks almost identical to Factum I, hanging next to it, but what this pair of works shows is actually the uniqueness of any given work of art. Just as the days evoked by the calendar pages glued to the canvas may follow each other but are never the same, two brushmarks may look alike but are always different. During a period when spontaneous invention was a valued principle in painting, Rauschenberg worked on Factum I and Factum II simultaneously, shuttling back and forth, detail by detail, between the two works, playing the pictorial game of making them match. The irony, as he surely well knew, was that ultimately each work would retain its stubborn uniqueness. As Rauschenberg has said, "The things all paintings have in common are paint, and color, and some means of application. With that standard you can make any two pictures appear either alike or different. I don't think whether they are alike or different is really very interesting."


Peter Burns

Peter Burns joined our studios (Talbot Gallery & Studios) and stayed for around a year. He has recently updated his website and it is looking really good. It's refreshing to see a painter embrace humour, art historical references and undercurresnts of darker themes with such aplomb and such a sharp wit. I will be showing with Peter and Mary Noonan in Roscommon Arts Centre in 2011 and having looked through Peter's site I think it has given me the kick I needed this week to keep pushing my own work.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Bravo's Next Great Artist

About a year ago myself and Susan were discussing what was then a rumoured 'America's Next Top Model/ProjectRunway/Pop Idol, type show featuring artists. This has come to be and I have to admit I have watched the entire series. Being an avid ANTM viewer I expected much of the same, fluff tv with the prerequisite bitching and backstabbing, this is exactly what I got, twofold. Sarah Jessica Parker is a producer on the show and makes a couple of appearances, professes to be an avid art lover and squeals quite excessively. Some of the work is ok and a lot of it is awful. It is truly hoffifying and yet compulsive viewing. Be warned!
(I know this is an unusual post for this blog but I had to share this)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Worrying Duck

Counter actions against painting 'technique', prevalent in a lot of recent painting and going right back to 'Bad Painting' of the 1980's, seems to me never bettered than in Asger Jorn's 'Detournement' works of the late 50's and 60's. His idea that '..painting is the sustenance of painting..' is still valid. Click on 'The Worrying Duck' heading to link to an interview with one of his daughters.....

Sunday, 3 October 2010

the third space belfast

Mark McGreevy's new show of paintings at the third space gallery in Belfast has been extended, so there's no excuse for missing it or not giving it another visit (as I did on Friday past.) Cian Donnelly paintings next up later this month, so two great shows back-to-back.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

…not a statement

Just came across this here: http://douglaswitmer.com/not-a-statement/
a statement by American artist Douglas Witmer


A painting is not a statement. It is the evidence of painting.

Painting is a relationship. The relationship is ongoing. To paint is an act of devotion in the relationship.

I want to believe that in the relationship of painting the act of painting is its own reward.

I want to believe that the relationship of painting, when one devotes oneself to it, extends beyond the boundaries of a painting, however indefinite or unmeasureable this extension may seem to be.

I want to believe that the relationship of painting values inquiry over conclusion.

To attempt to be conclusive in painting is to attempt to make paintings that are, in effect, statements.

Attempting to make a statement with a painting undermines the idea that painting is a relationship.

These words are a statement and they are not painting.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Paint Your Own Pictures

Tired of heavy theory? Too many nice 'coffee table' style painting books cluttering up your place? Pop into your nearest second hand bookshop where you might find this type of thing- when books were made for popping in your pocket for a handy read every now and then. When art books came from UNESCO, not Taschen!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Drawings which are working towards bringing together scenes from 'Save the Tiger' (Jack Lemmon, 1972), Munich Olympics, 'What's Up Tiger Lily? (Woody Allen, 1966), 'Orientalism' (Edward Said, 1978), Tiepolo ('Tiepolo Pink', bio-novel, 2010), The Best of The Lovin' Spoonful (Kama Sutra Records, 1966)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Ab Ex Road Signs

Now that the Belfast-Dublin road has completed, there will be fewer temporary sign alterations to enjoy......

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ab Fab

These summer months have been blog light for me, not at the computer much... in Edinburgh's Inverleith House at Botanic Gardens there're always nice curatorial connections made between the inside of the gallery and its setting. Good programme of stuff always on offer (saw Victoria Morton show there at Easter) and currently it's Joan Mitchell, who you can trace right up to Cecily Brown and Elizabeth Neel I think. Sparse hanging but good selection of works from all over....