Week 5

Contemporary Art

Having just read Contemporary Art – Stallabrass, I am not surprised artists are supposedly producing invisible art, or that the public and others can be taken in. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/sep/30/invisible-art-hoax-lana-newstrom-cbc


Just watched Simon Schama’s brilliant programme on Rembrandt the Later Years.  A fascinating insight into the artists life, his skill, his symbolism, and yet with all that talent, he still struggled to make ends meet.

Jeremy Paxman’s personal and honest view of The Later Years exhibition. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/384283780678350070/

Rembrandt’s works that appear in Schama’s programme. http://www.pinterest.com/susanmilleruk/rembrandt/

David Nash

The interview in Interviews with Artists 2010.  Extraordinary work.  I wish I could have seen the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. How could anyone plan 30 years ahead with a piece!  Ash Dome at the artist’s estate in Wales.

Nash’s works are no longer at the YSP.  This blog is the closest I can get to what it would have been like to visit the Sculpture Park.



The Extinction Marathon: the art world’s bid to  save the human race.

The ninth festival of ideas held at London’s Serpentine Gallery, a two-day marathon that this year grappled with the topic of extinction and the worryingly prescient spectre of the end of the human race.’

Lily Cole Extinction Marathonhttp://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/oct/20/serpentine-extinction-marathon-yoko-ono-gilbert-george?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

Morag Ballard

interviews with Artists 2010.

Atrium - Details

Having studied painting and sculpture her work reflects her awareness of form and space.  This blog by Helen Hoyle is based on the writer’s visit to Ballard’s studio in Penzance and her exhibition at the Lemon St Gallery in Truro earlier this year.


 Egon Schiele

Crouching Woman with Green Kerchief, 1914, Egon Schiele

Jonathan Jones writing in the Guardian about Schiele’s exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery in London until 18 January 2015, clearly likes Schiele’s work and believes he understands where Schiele was coming from.


 Fiona Rae

Tate Shot https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gwbyfERDrA

What a great insight into this gentle, modern artist.  No pretentiousness, just a genuine, heartfelt love of painting.

Fiona Rae 'Gather all the treasure and make friends in the world' 2010

Gather all the Treasure 2011.

So refreshing after reading the first four chapters of Visual Methodologies by Gillian Rose.  Admittedly I am coming to this book from a standing start, but the first two chapters were so full of cross-referencing and unfamiliar ideas, expressed in woven sentences of critic speak, heavily laced with every conceivable art form, that I have no idea what she is trying to say.  Such a shame after James Elkins’  book The Stories of Art, where complex ideas are conveyed with such readability.  I had hoped that chapter four, Looking at Pictures, would clarify what she is trying to say, but by focusing, or that is how it felt, on film and video games, with only a brief aside to painting, I am struggling to get to the meat of what she is saying.  Maybe I just haven’t ‘got it’ yet.  Only another 270 pages to go.  Maybe it is useful for the vast number of directions she points the reader.  Hopefully all will become clear soon.

At least Fiona Rae doesn’t feel that painting is old fashioned.

Who Are You? – Grayson Perry Channel 4

How brilliantly Perry conveyed his process of ideas to manifestation of  portrait.  He first looked at the bigger picture and relevance to today, politics/religion/gender/celebrity culture, then he identified individuals that for him, represented these subjects in the process of discovering their true identity.

Mark Brown at the Guardian focused on Chris Huhne, the ex politician.  http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/oct/21/grayson-perry-chris-huhne-default-man-vase-national-portrait-gallery

Grayson Perry vase

Grayson Perry says his Huhne vase, above, represents ‘the powerful white, bullet-proof, male’. Photograph: Channel 4/Grayson Perry/PA

Ashford Hijab – a portrait of a young mother of four from Ashford, who has recently become a Muslim and turned her life around.

Alistair Smart of the Telegraph, not a fan of Perry’s, has to admit that the work is ‘highly engaging’


I get a feeling from the critics that Perry’s work is pleasing but a bit lightweight.  I wonder, is that due to its TV derivation, the stature of the subjects or Perry’s populist style, or something I may have missed?

I really connected with the way Perry unfolded his ideas, chose his medium and executed the works.  That led me to ask what would I do for a self portrait?  Now that is a good question!

Howard Hodgkin

Michael Prodger writing in the New Statesman earlier this month, says ‘The British artist struggled as his friend David Hockney became a star. But at 82 he’s not bitter – and his art is as luminous as ever.’

I have always loved Hodgkin’s use of colour, but finding out about the man behind the work, is an eye opener for me.  His insecurities, for someone considered to be part of the art establishment, are a surprise.

Rain (2001) by Howard Hodgkin. Courtesy of the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery


Braving the tyranny of the white wall: Hodgkin in his studio, an airy space in a Victorian dairy in Bloomsbury. Photo: David Levene/The Guardian

 Coming to art as late as I have, I found Hodgkin’s comment when asked if (after 60 years) painting has got easier?  He replied “It’s got much easier comparatively recently – about five years ago. Suddenly a lot of barriers disappeared.” The change was due to “a sense of mortality, I think. All sorts of inhibitions just went. There’s a danger in too much self-criticism or self-evaluation and I think that’s gone,’.

Thank you Howard Hodgkin for that insight, while I still have time to act on it.

Michael Landy

Having just watched What Do Artists Do All Day? BBC3, I really don’t understand Michael Landy.  He appears a split personality.  On the one hand he draws intense graphite portraits,  face on to his sitter, some 18 inches away, drawing every hair, and on the other, he smashes up everything he owns.

Tate Shot shows Kirsty Wark, the broadcaster, at such a sitting. https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=GnTCZFyzkvY

I know art is supposed to elicit an emotion, good or bad.  His work certainly does that, but I find him unbalanced and scary, which whilst ‘bad’, is the wrong sort of bad, because the elicited emotion should be about the work, and not the man.

Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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