Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The paint is tree and the tree is paint

Following-on from the recent ‘in progress’ report (‘Digesting October…’), today we present the first painting of our local woodland subsequently brought to some form of resolution over the course of Saturday afternoon spent listening to the 2 CDs of ‘The Essential Leonard Cohen’, but a selection in celebration of the work of the songwriter supreme ‘born with the gift of the golden voice’ (at least in the guise of the narrator of the mighty ‘Tower of Song’), whose passing has sadly been announced – many fine words have been written in tribute, not least on the Guardian website on & from Friday, also including Gerry’s on his ‘That’s How The Light Gets In’ blog, another to follow avidly. The recordings left behind, of such exquisitely-crafted & masterfully-performed songs, will resonate down the years, of that there can be no doubt.

‘Woods #1’
oil on canvas/24″ x 48″/October-November 2016
The painting itself, as ‘finished’, probably achieves something of what was intended whilst leaving plenty of scope for development. Formally and, from that, technically it observes the obvious horizontals and verticals of the subject matter and represents a ‘tactile space’, independently as a painting and as analogous to the physical experience of being actively present in the landscape (treading upon the pine needle-covered and mossy ground whilst the tall straight columns of the trees confront as one navigates a path through and tower overhead), treating figure and ground with equal gestural weight in the pursuit of a more integrally ‘overall’ painterly surface where, striving to achieve that balance between facture and image, the means of representation and that represented, ‘the paint is tree and the tree is paint’ to paraphrase either Ivon Hitchens himself or otherwise something that was written about his work (precise memory fails). It must be admitted that, once exposed to (the potential of the influence of), one sees the scene(s) through Hitchens’ compositions, those spatial sequences and intervals across a wider panoramic or ‘cinematic’ format, and this of course inevitably lends itself to a particular aspect of the appearance of the painting, characterised as it is in part by more elongated swiping brushstrokes.






Thursday, November 10, 2016

Passions Overflowing

Featuring today a recent, glorious & irresistible find (& subsequent purchase, thanks to the wonderful A, who came to the rescue & took the decision for me when I couldn’t quite bring myself to ‘invest’ the £20 asking price – which, of course, has proved to be an absolute bargain), from amongst the treasure trove of the second hand bookshelves at Dagfields, that, coincidentally, links nicely to the most recent entry on the Groundhog’s excellent, must-read football ground-visiting blog, a result of the author’s travels having taken him to Berlin.

The object of desire in question is the German-language publication Fussballtempel & is a veritable cornucopia of delights, lavishly illustrated as it is with panoramic photographs of a selection of mostly German football stadia, supplemented with a few Austrian & Swiss examples.

Primarily concerned with the homes of top-level &/or historically noteworthy clubs, a number of the images are naturally of recent developments in stadium design & construction, which to my tastes don’t hold a great deal of aesthetic interest, seeming pretty much similar in their shiny new blandness, lacking that particular visual ‘atmosphere’ that defines the most attractive of the genre, most of which, therefore, are of a certain vintage (we are, of course, incorrigibly nostalgically-prone here at TOoT).

Fortunately, ‘Fussballtempel’ features many such gems, either in the form of the inclusion also of some of the predecessors of the new stadia (unfavourable comparisons between new & old, in favour of the latter, are inevitable, as the reader might imagine) or otherwise the still-current but longer-established grounds of other clubs, not least from the east which, back in the day of the separate entities of East & West Germany, was/were always much our favourite/s, in the shape of the likes of the Dynamos Berlin & Dresden, Lokomotive Leipzig, Carl Zeiss Jena, Hansa Rostock, Sachsenring Zwickau & 1FC Magdeburg to name a selection (all of whom we have collected lapel badges of the crests of, as featured on TOoT over 2013-14, should anyone wish to repair to the archives in order to admire at their leisure).

One particularly notable feature of a number these older German grounds is the striking and individual form of the floodlight pylons, stunning pieces of architectural design & obviously a real signifier within the context of the towns/cities in which the stadia reside. Delight also in the examples of grandstand roof design and the environmental details beyond the immediate confines of the grounds, the examples of civic architecture, the wooded hillsides, the sense of space & of them existing within a space, the landscape, none of which, alas, are visible from inside the new stadia, enclosed as they all are. Enjoyable also is the fact that each of the grounds is pictured whilst a match is actually in progress, bringing them to proper life &, related to this, other details such as those of the crowds of spectators, the very sparseness of some within stadia of obviously significant capacity.

All in all, it’s a fabulous book, to be pored over at leisure & treasured as a part of the ever-burgeoning library.

Here’s a selection of favourite images…

N.B. The tile-topped coffee table, an item of furniture long desired for the household, upon which the book has been photographed was another of our Dagfields finds & essential purchases that day.