Sunday, December 23, 2012

World Cup '74 #8 (Carlos Guerini)

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Drawing up to the very cusp of the festive season with the latest in the series based upon original source material taken from the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ & Panini ‘Munchen 74’ albums of collectable stamps/stickers issued to mark the advent of & celebrate the 1974 football World Cup.

The subject of the original picture stamp now represented in the somewhat distanced ‘pixelated’ form of the toned squares of the grid structure is one Carlos Guerini, who, research reveals, did not actually make the cut of the final Argentina squad for the tournament & thus, in the context of the hauntological proceedings of the Project, has a suitably ghostly presence in relation to the 1974 World Cup.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

World Cup '74 #7 (Enrique Chazarreta)

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

With all justificatory explanation as previously, this drawing is the latest to be processed in the project exploring a hauntological representation of the 1974 football World Cup.

In formal terms, it further establishes/entrenches the commitment to the modernist grid, with a distinct portrait subject forming from the matrix of toned squares as they accumulate & coalesce, being on this occasion, Enrique Chazarreta of the Argentinian squad, another name previously unknown to me from hazy, mostly generalized recollections of the event, hence the monochrome representation.

Research reveals that, in addition to being selected to appear in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ stamp album from which the original image upon which the drawing is based is sourced, Chazarreta made one brief appearance at the tournament itself, as a 78th minute substitute during Argentina’s second First Round group match , a 1 – 1 draw with Italy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

World Cup '74 #6 (Daniel Carnevali)

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Continuing the hauntologically-inclined World Cup ’74 project, with the series of drawings based upon the contents of a pair of sticker & stamp collections issued in anticipation of &, subsequently, to commemorate the tournament.

Following the established & already oft-mentioned process of image capturing, manipulation & handmade representation, the portrait subject that emerges on this particular occasion - albeit in rudimentarily-pixelated & not necessarily recognizable form - from the toned square by toned square drawing method becomes the sixth member of the Argentina squad as featured in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ album from which the majority of the original image-objects are being sourced, the goalkeeper Daniel Carnevali, another of those ‘unknowns’ to my memory, who was selected to make five appearances for his country during the course of the tournament, featuring in all their matches except the concluding ‘dead rubber’ fixture against East Germany.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Having a Re-think/Re-draw Again #3: World Cup '74 #3 v3

graphite, cloured pencil & putty eraser/30 x 20cm

Presenting, eventually, what is the third version of the third source/subject in the World Cup ’74 stamps/stickers drawing project, in the form now of what has become the standard mode of representation, the A4-printed pixelated original (two versions of) processed within a grid matrix.
In this particular instance, & as previously mooted for such a purpose, the medium used is coloured pencil rather than the habitual monochrome graphite, for the reason that the portrait subject, Ruben Ayala, is one of the few footballers who played at the tournament that I can actually remember from the televised coverage as witnessed, at least by name if not necessarily deed, & who also features within the stamp/sticker collections, thus, it is considered, such memory requires acknowledging, highlighting, aesthetically: such players suggest that they should be separated from the homogenous, unrecalled or never-known mass of the generality of the competition, their representations should be more vivid, even if, ironically, the visual experience came via the medium of black & white television.

Research reveals that Ruben Ayala, of the flowing dark locks, played all 90 minutes of each of Argentina’s six matches at the 1974 World Cup &, as previously noted, scoring one goal, the third in his country’s 4-1 First Round group game victory over Haiti.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Artful Anniversary

Birthday weekend here at TOoT, yesterday being the seventh anniversary of the blog’s inception (& they said it wouldn’t last), &, to celebrate, a jaunt to Liverpool (one such being the very subject, coincidentally, of the initial, pioneering post) to visit, admittedly a little belatedly, the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.
It’s always something of a biennial treat to indulge in the Moores’ showcasing of contemporary painting & whatever developments might be discernible &, accordingly, anticipation is always keen as one mounts the steps of the grand old Walker to gain entry to.

Traditionally held in three of the Gallery’s rooms, one large & hall-like, two smaller (one of which serves as the entrance/intro), this year’s exhibition is no exception as, neither, is the eclectic mix of selected work on show, evidence of the enduring creative appeal of applying pigment to delimited surfaces, even if establishing the purpose & vitality of doing such then becomes the subjective preserve of the critical faculties of the spectator.

The first room features an intriguing & enticing selection of varied work, including a few favourites-to-be, beginning with Enzo Marra‘s delightfully painterly buttery impasto, pinkish monochrome based on a photograph of an elderly Monet at work in his studio at Giverny, a most apt introduction to an exhibition celebrating the continuing relevance of painting as activity & paint as medium.

Opposite this, one finds, strikingly, Bernat Daviu’s ‘Overall Paintings’, which are, essentially, primary coloured canvases made, stitched, into garment form, hung from the wall one over another on wooden hangers, which, with the generating concept as stated in the catalogue (that ever-essential purchase, & also available for consultation online), are a satisfying take on the painting-as-object(s), although this physical aspect (in) itself is indeed the work’s strength, irrespective of the theory. Daviu’s is one of a small number of ‘paintings’ that might be said to expand the scope of the definition, also including Liz Elton’s corner-hung & aptly-entitled ‘Twisted’ mass of multi-coloured plastic, Dougal McKenzie’s composition of two small studies accompanied by a hung floral-printed garment (of something of a 70s vintage), Onya Macausland’s trapezoid block with its mirrored shape stained directly onto the wall beneath it, &, subtly, Sonia Morange’s ‘Poncho’, which, composed of stitched-together triangular scraps of (mostly) brightly-coloured canvas, relates rather nicely to Daviu’s overalls.
Mention should also be made of the piece I’d already identified, some time prior to visiting the Prize, as a must-experience, Laura Keeble’s flattened Coca-Cola can upon which she’d painted a schematic rendering of a phalanx of riot police, the object collected in the aftermath of the London social unrest of 2011.

Back in the room, one of the prizewinning entries, Stephen Nicholas’s ‘Gallery’, appears at a distance to be something of a fairly minimalist abstraction, but closer inspection reveals ghostly suggestions of figuration behind surface washes & some lovely overlaying of colours, a painting to be studied & savoured, skilfully balanced between abstraction & figuration.

As to the conceptual game of Peter Liversidge’s ‘Proposal…’, I have to admit to finding the framed object of the original typed letter, the page folded twice, more of an aesthetic experience than the subsequent painting, even allowing for the dialogue between (of course, the appreciation of the former is a consequence of the presence of the latter), evidence of the laborious process of transcribing by hand, in paint, the mechanical process of the typewriter (the pressing the keys of which is itself a manual activity) & my own previous attempts at drawings of crumpled, sometimes printed-with-image-content paper: the thing itself is more engaging in its physical thingness than the representation (as ‘thing’), which, I recognize, is probably be true of my own efforts/results.

As often with the Moores, one finds certain thematic threads running through the selection & hanging, not least on this particular occasion something of a return to geometric abstraction, at least once one enters the main ‘hall’ – numerous examples are on view, perhaps the most enjoyable being James Ryan’s arrangement of shapes upon a ground of chequered cloth (the distorting stretching of which results in something of a pleasing, undefinable three-dimensional appearance face-on), the whole ‘image’ then toned-down with a wash of white (the original red of the original cloth being visible down the painting’s sides); Biggs & Collings’s jewel-like, bright luminous colours activating the greyer tonalities of the matrix of regular triangles of their ‘The Greater Light’; & Jane Bustin’s tripartite composition of objects (a not insignificant aspect of their attraction) – one a square, muslin-covered stretcher (mistily visible through the fabric surface), a rectangular block of treated wood & a lower square block of MDF, the face of which is painted a beautiful deep blue gloss.

Oliver Perkins' ‘Dead Rubber’ is an intriguing thing, minimal in terms of ‘image’, which closer inspection reveals to have a slightly raised interior section, marked out in ink, stretching the smoothly gessoed canvas in a manner that suggests a skin- or rubber-like surface, giving it too a more object-quality, subtle though this is, expanding what would otherwise be something very deadpan.

There’s something rather deadpan, with no pun intended, about Eve Ackroyd’s ‘Dead Man’, a deceptively simple depiction of a prone figure mostly obscured by a triangle of cloth that itself balances abstraction & figuration, the subtlety of its colouration & painterliness giving a poignancy & quiet monumentality to the subject.

There are also examples of more painterly abstraction too, of varying degrees of visible complexity, some again walking the figurative line with elements of collage, which is another discernible feature amongst some of the selected works: related to this trend, on a grander scale Pat O’Connor’s ‘Black’ is an assemblage of a variety of small paintings, drawings, watercolours & found media imagery, mostly figurative with a few elements of pattern, with no especially discernible connection other than references to the title, thus supporting the artist’s intended ‘disjunctive’ nature of proceedings, perhaps.

What might be termed Moores staples are less in evidence than on some occasions – there’s what seems a smaller than usual selection of photorealism with the choice of Paul Collinson, & Wayne Clough’s & Nathan Eastwood’s monochromes, the former two belonging to that strain of work featuring or suggestive of depictions of social unrest/decay/terrorism/war, grouped together in what in effect is the furthest corner of the exhibition (& also including Laura Keeble’s Coke can, James Bloomfield’s monochromatic flurries based on an image from the Iraqi conflict & Jarik Jongman’s crepuscular ‘Waiting Room (1)’, from which emanates an unhealthy orangey glow, illustrated the distressed interior of the title), & the latter fitting neatly into various depictions of details of the built environment in the exhibition’s third room (if one follows a circular course, otherwise it could be visited second, or even first).

Eastwood’s Humbrol-painted scene (George Shaw, who uses the same medium himself, was one of the selection committee) is positioned amongst a run that includes Danny Markey’s sketchy, small-scale snow scene of a traffic island, the orange glow from the central bollard of which effectively illuminates well beyond the limits of the painting, & the greenish-washy Modernist architecture, pictorially perched upon the edge of what appears a clifftop, of Graham Cholton’s ‘Edge of Town’, aptly diminishing into the spatial depths of the picture. On an opposite wall, one might find the intriguing Rae Hicks‘Late Summer Mirage’, where what appears to be a race circuit amidst a forest setting is obstructed by, scale-wise, a massive blank dark rectangular block, somewhat subverting the sunlit scene in a curiously sinister, unsettling manner. Nearby along the same wall (amongst the ‘landscape’ section).
Henny Acloque, one of the recurring names from previous Moores, also disrupts in this instance a more traditional idyll, with a series of vertical strokes (representing, it transpires, original human figures) that have an incongruously & subvertingly bold, abstract, ‘modern’ quality within such a context.
The familiar name of Amikam Toren also intervenes within the found landscape painting, as usual cutting out words from the canvas.

Between these walls, in the centre of the gallery space, is Narbi Price’s ‘Untitled Kerbstone Painting’, another of those disregarded urban ‘non spaces’ imbued with poetic life through the medium of paint, the composition an arrangement of textures & geometric frameworks, the significant aspect of these (at least here at TOoT) being the diamonds of worn road markings upon the tarmac that enliven the scene, the whole surface being a series of painterly delights. Price, it might be noted, contributed a striking, contemplative image, of an unpopulated children’s play area featuring a see-saw, to the previous Moores, too.

These, at least, form the main impressions/highlights of the visit, of a varied show that didn’t necessarily suggest itself as being one of the really good & especially inspirational Moores but nevertheless repaid the effort to see it: certain trends come & go, but the selection generally promotes a wide range of painting practice, & provides pleasure for the eye & food for thought.