Monday, 1 October 2012

The Culture of Painting...

Ken Currie, 'Dead Stag' oil on canvas, 120 x 210cms, 2012
Alex Katz at Timothy Taylor Gallery, Ken Currie at Flowers East, Robert Motherwell at Bernard Jacobsen, Ray Richardson at Beaux Arts, Luke Elwes at Adam Gallery, Jim Dine at Alan Cristea, and Edvard Munch at Tate Modern. I really gorged myself on lots of exciting painting on Saturday when I visited London for the day. It was the Katz, Currie and Munch shows I had gone to see in particular, but I ended up discovering lots of really vibrant work in Cork Street, whose status as the centre of the commercial gallery scene has long since diminished in London, yet I managed to find loads of brilliant painting on show. I came away with my head spinning from it all and more catalogues and books than I could carry. Here are some examples of the great things I saw that hopefully illustrate the wide and diverse culture of painting that I love so much, and why it still remains a vital force for expression.
Alex Katz, 'Chris', oil on canvas, 240 x 300cms, 2012
Robert Motherwell' Elegy', lithograph, 1973
Luke Elwes, 'Glimmer', oil and acrylic on canvas, 120 x 180cms, 2011
Ray Richardson, 'Irish Frank', oil on canvas, 130 x 90cms, 2012
Edvard Munch, 'White Night' oil on canvas, 120 x100cms, 1893
Saying that, despite its vitality, I did watch a good film the other day, ‘Painter’s Painting’ that looked at the rise of American painting from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. In it Barnett Newman discussed the sobering reality of how painting is seen (and especially bought) by so very, very few people. On a more cheerful note it was also seen how many great artists that I love like Newman, Rothko, Gottlieb, Hoffmann, De Kooning, didn’t have their first solo exhibition in any major galleries until they were about 46, so there is hope for me yet…

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