After much ado – the usual complications and SNAFUs – the 1SSUE16 Private View duly arrived yesterday (Saturday 21 April).
Firstly, and most importantly, I can report that it is a truly excellent show. As my partner commented, it deserves to be in a more prestigious venue. Nonetheless, great work by Richard Cox.
Secondly, the PV was well-attended and deemed a success by one-and-all. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting with Phil Mead (who I’d never met before) and catching up with a few friends: lovely to see Sue Hunt and Glen Manby after what seems ages.
Richard Cox and friend:
Superb set submitted by Heather Parnell. Some of the best stuff she’s done in ages:
Marega Palser. I really like her work. Reminds me somewhat of early Bryon Gysin:
Carefully-wrought moirés by Tom Martin:
The show is on at West Wharf Gallery until 26 May. Open 10am – 4:30pm, Thursday-Saturday.
Let’s just keep this short: I was not at all impressed with Rachel Whiteread’s work. I found the show to be like wandering through a large and utterly soulless superstore, some surreal marriage of B&Q and Ikea, truly hideous in its lack of emotion.
My comment on the day: one trick pony.
So, leaving my companions cooing and purring behind me I hastily departed for pastures anew. Like the lonely cloud, I wandered romantically and oh so wistfully through the Tate for the next hour or so:
Unknown Artist: The Cholmondley Ladies c.1600-1610
On its last day we managed to catch the Dalí/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy. It wasn’t an entirely satisfying visit—it was pretty busy, there were a lot of exhibits crammed into a relatively small space, and photography was forbidden—but worth it nonetheless.
Firstly because it was an interesting idea to present the work of these two artists together: firm friends in real life but with remarkably different approaches to the artistic endeavour and diametrically opposite strategies for maintaining their public personas.
Secondly, because any opportunity to see The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even should not be spurned (even if this is the Richard Hamilton recreation):
For me, the work of Marcel Duchamp is crucial to understanding the development of art in the twentieth century and beyond. However, I’m not ready to write that piece just yet. Suffice it to say that his work continues to delight, baffle, and infuriate in just about equal measure.
Salvador Dalí is perhaps easier to take the measure of. Looking at the shockingly bad photo above that I took in the RA on Wednesday (under clandestine conditions, I hasten to add), could I direct your attention away from The Bride… to the Dalí painting we can just see toward the upper right-hand corner. This is a small part of his 1958 Madonna, which looking at it now we can see clearly prefigures many of the later developments in Op-Art and Pop Art. Note the “sheet of paper” painted in the top-left corner with a pull-cord hanging from it: even at this distance it looks believably three-dimensional. The painting as a whole is a stunning tour-de-force of optical effects. What ever else we say about him and his weird landscapes, deformed figures, and crazed deviant sexuality, Dalí is a technically brilliant painter!
Also in the show, his Still Life Moving Fast is almost like a sampler (in the old sense of the word), a demonstration of complete technical expertise. Beautifully painted folds in cloth that match any Renaissance master, glass and liquid suspended in mid-air the equal of Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, the stunningly lifelike hovering bird and baby cauliflower.
Typically, the question with Dalí is whether the deployment of all this technical skill adds up to anything meaningful…
To kick the New Year off, here’s a New You promo video dating from (gulp!) 1987. I’ve had this sitting around for ages, most obviously in need of a serviceable audio track: as you’ll be able to see time has taken its toll.
Marie Malone: vocals.
Paul Hazel: guitar, keyboards, percussion.
David Westmore: bass.
Ian Cleverley: drums, vibraphone.
[There was also a whole bunch of people playing acoustic guitar in the choruses. Can’t remember who exactly…]
Video filmed and edited by David Stonestreet.
The New You logo and backdrops designed by the Bleach Boys.
Video transferred from VHS tape. The original audio track has been replaced with a recording from the 45rpm single: one pass of noise reduction has been applied.
Song written by Willson/Hazel/Malone.
Produced by Paul Hazel.
Engineered by Martin ‘Crazy’ Pavey.
This weekend, as part of the Cardiff Open Studios project (part of Cardiff Contemporary), we took the opportunity to visit a few local artists in situ: we went to Butetown Artist’s Studios in the Bay and Fireworks in Grangetown. The latter is mainly a populated by ceramicists and there was some truly beautiful work on view. A great chance to nose around in someone else’s mess: