29 Sep 2010

Pretty in Pink-The paintings of Rick Butler of The Psychedelic Furs


'Nature is Boring', A joint show by Richard Butler and the New York based sculptor Emil Alzamora is from Thursday 7th October to 1st November 2010 at Mauger Modern

Richard Butler before forming the new wave band, The Psychedelic Furs in 1977, had originally studies fine art at Epsom School of Art and Design. You can't take art school out of a an aging rock star, and over the past ten years he has returned to it with a passion. His works explores a subtle understanding of figurative painting, seemingly light in atmosphere, almost Japanese in temperament, his paintings show an aware of  developments in painting in contemporary art in the 21st Century. His cult celebrity status has ensured Butler has received some acclaim for his paintings, and has had gallery exhibitions in New York, Miami, Florida and Florence, Italy.

Maugar Modern, 81 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1LJ

21 Sep 2010

Egon Schiele's troublesome paintings at 'Treasures of Budapest' Royal Academy, London

 Egon Schiele, 'Two Women Embracing', 1915, Pencil, watercolour, gouache. 48.5 x 32.7 cm. 
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

In his article on Schiele's paintings of nudes at the Royal Academy exhibition 'Treasures from Budapest'; Jonathan Jones explores some interesting ideas regarding modern art and sexuality. Click here.

'His work has a specific presence, aggressive, unignorable, practical. They are pornographic. They insist that the erotic is as great and heroic a subject as wars or religion. And they question whether art has to confine itself to representing life second-hand. That's what is extraordinary about Schiele's art: it does not comment on life, it takes part in life. It is not like pornography. It is pornography. It is also high and serious art, a doubleness that may only have been possible in Vienna on the eve of the first world war.' 

Schiele's window on his erotic private desires was short lived. By 1907, while Schiele was still a student, Pablo Picasso, around 19 years of age in Paris, painted 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon', a full-frontal, jagged, spatially modern painting, exploring his own desires and also using prostitutes as modeIs. Within a few years abstraction was to establish itself as one of the major discoveries of the Twentieth Century. Marcel Duchamp's readymades, Kasimir Malevich's 'Black Square', the Dadaists and their use of politics and collage were to change how we use and think of the figure. In this context Schiele's paintings of sexuality look almost innocent.

An exhibition of paintings by Mali Morris, Royal Academy of Arts, London

This is a great little exhibition of recent works of Mali Morris, one of Britain's leading yet not fully appreciated abstract painters, is in the Sir Hugh Casson Friends Room at the Royal Academy, pop in and see this show if you visit the exhibition of Hungarian art works in 'Tresures from Budapest' (see blog entry), the Friends Room is open to the public 4-6pm until 10pm on Fridays.

These are small scale works that explore the quality and subtly of the visceral lightness of touch of the pigment on the surface of the painting. Beautiful. Read more about her on Royal Academy website.

                          Mali Morris, 'Escape', 2009. Acrylic on canvas. Photo: David Webb. Courtesy of the Artist. 

A Matter of Life and Death: The Paintings of Salvator Rosa at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Salvator Rosa, (1615 - 1673), Jason Charming the Dragon, (about 1665-1670), Oil on canvas, 78 x 66.5 cm, coll., The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Salvator Rosa: Bandits, Wilderness and Magic is at Dulwich Picture Gallery from 15th September to 28th November 2010. For details, go to dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

A fascinating exhibition of one of the key artists who helped to shape many other painters from Romanticism, is at Dulwich Picture Gallery until November. In these works there are references to witches, murder, fantastical journeys, landscapes and portraits. These works also reflect on the popularity of superstition and fascination with death. You can see the influence on artists who were to follow Rosa some one hundred and fifty years later in the works of Francisco Goya, John Martin and William Blake.
Click here for an article by James Hall for the Guardian newspaper, which is very interesting.

Salvator Rosa, detail from 'Witches at Their Incantations' by Salvator Rosa. Photograph: © National Gallery, London

12 Sep 2010

Post-War American Art comes to Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Arnold Newman, Brian O'Doherty and Barbara Novak with their dog Flann O'Brien, 1984, black and white photograph, 32 x 26 cm, The Novak/O'Doherty Collection at IMMA. © Arnold Newman.
An exhibition of 76 artworks by many one of America's leading post-war artists which have been gifted to the IMMA Collection at Dublin by art historian Barbara Novak and artist Brian O’Doherty / Patrick Ireland opened to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 8 September 2010. 

Post-War American Art: The Novak/O’Doherty Collection, donated in association with the American Ireland Fund, comprises paintings and sculpture and an extensive range of works on paper, including watercolours, drawings, photographs and limited edition prints, sculptures and multiples.

This collection includes works by Marcel Duchamp, Edward Hopper and George Segal, Joseph Cornell, Dan Graham, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Christo, Mel Bochner, William Scharf, Peter Hutchinson, Les Levine, Sonja Sekula, John Coplans, Arnold Newman, and Elise Asher.
The donation is particularly rich in works from New York of the 1960s and ‘70s; many the result of friendships and associations with the artists at this time. Through them we see that Barbara Novak and Brian O’Doherty were central figures in the art community of the 1960s and ‘70s and beyond.

Four important works, by Edward Hopper, Marcel Duchamp, George Segal and Jasper Johns, were gifted in 2009. The forthcoming exhibition celebrates the arrival of the balance of their collection to IMMA.