Monday, 20 December 2010
Captain Beefheart, Mojave Desert, 1980; photograph by Anton Corbijn.
Musician and painter, Van Vliet was a true artist: original, eccentric and uncompromising. With The Magic Band he produced a series of extraordinary albums, including what is widely regarded as his masterpiece: Trout Mask Replica, 1969. Accounts of the bizarre and traumatic circumstances of the recording of this album are legendary. (Fast and Bulbous... Tapered, too.)
Trout Mask Replica, 1969, album cover
I never saw Captain Beefheart perform, but I treasure seeing 'Captain Beefheart's Magic Band' (that is, without the Captain) at the Carling Academy in Bristol in 2004. The Magic Band, in this instance, were Mark 'Rockette Morton' Boston and John 'Drumbo' French (both contributors to Trout Mask Replica) plus Gary 'Mantis' Lucas and Denny 'Feelers Rebo' Walley (both contributors to later albums).
In 1982 Van Vliet retired from music to devote himself to painting.
Don Van Vliet, Rolled Roots Gnarled Like Rakers, 1985 (Michael Werner Gallery)
Read obituaries and appreciations by, Caroline Boucher, Alexis Petridis, Sean O'Hagan. See also The Captain Beefheart Radar Station.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Len Lye, still from Colour Box, 1935
The Ikon Gallery is presenting the first ever UK retrospective of Len Lye (1901-1980). Lye is best known for his extraordinary hand-painted films made in the 1930s in the UK and in the 1950s in New York. Astonishingly, his early ground-breaking avant-garde films were sponsored by the General Post Office through the work of the GPO Film Unit. (In fact, the GPO Film Unit, under the leadership of John Grierson, was a major sponsor of innovative and experimental film-making). Watch Colour Box (1935) and other films on YouTube.
Peter Joseph, an admirer of Rothko and Newman, employs a methodology associated with Renaissance painters to produce precisely toned two-colour canvases.
Also at The Lisson Gallery is an exhibition by Ceal Floyer whose multimedia works combine conceptualism and minimalism. The current show includes "Things" which is described on the Lisson Gallery website, as follows: A cluster of plinths stand in an empty room each emitting at different intervals in real time the word "things”, the only audible section from otherwise silenced pop songs. However, apart from the plinths themselves, no ‘things’ are present in the room.
Victoria Miro is presenting a rare show of the work of Francesca Woodman. Woodman died at the age of 22 in 1981, but left a substantial portfolio of work exploring the self and the body. See Sean O'Hagan's review. The exhibition continues until 22nd January.
The Serpentine Gallery is presenting multimedia work by the Algerian, Philippe Parreno. The Serpentine describes the installation as a scripted space in which a series of events unfolds. In his enthusiastic review Adrian Searle describes his journey through the 4 short film and video works which comprise the exhibition. See also review by Laura Cumming.
Philippe Parreno, still from Invisible Boy, 2010
Most of the exhibitions listed in the November Roundup will run through December - see below, for details.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Poster by Mark Unsworth
Longstone, the experimental electronica duo, Mike Cross and Mike Ward, are making a welcome return to Xposed Club with a performance on Friday, 10th December. Listen to a sample of their wonderful 2009 album, Kabuki, at MySpace.
["electronic circuit bending drum programming analogue modular slide guitarring oscillatory low pass filtering junk percussion sax blowing voltage controlled glacial funk"]
The Land of Nod (another duo - Anthony Walker and David Battersby) will also be playing. This will be their first live gig for five years, when they headlined the John Peel night in Cheltenham. (In 2003 they recorded a session for John Peel’s Radio 1 show.)
Xposed Club: in the atrium, Pittville Studios, Cheltenham on Friday 10th December. £5.00 (£3.00 concs.) on the door, starts 8.00pm.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Thomas Demand, Haltestelle, 2009
Roe Ethridge, Thanksgiving, 1984, 2009
Jim Goldberg, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2008
Elad Lassry, Lipstick, 2009
The artists' work will be exhibited at Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 2nd - 30th April, 2011, and the winner will be announced on the 26th April.
Read Sean O'Hagan's article, Do the Deutsche Börse Photography prize jury really get photography? His title references an article by Paul Graham in American Suburb X: Photography & Culture, in which he remarks that there [is] a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Jeremy Duncan, Mott Street, 2008
Jeremy Duncan, Centre Georges Pompidou, 2008
The exhibition will be open until 17th December, 2010 - The Summerfield Gallery is at Pittville Studios, University of Gloucestershire, Albert Road, Cheltenham, GL52 3JG. Jeremy Duncan is represented by Waterhouse & Dodd Contemporary.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Following her graduation from Goldsmiths in 1982, Lisa Milroy achieved early success with her paintings of still life objects (shoes, light bulbs, melons,…) the motifs painted in sensual bravura strokes on plain, neutral backgrounds.
Lisa Milroy, Shoes, 1985 (Collection: Tate Gallery)
Lisa Milroy, Light Bulbs, 1988 (Collection: Tate Gallery)
For this exhibition, In the Black, Lisa Milroy has selected fifteen paintings from 1984 to 2009 to present the use of black in her work. In a text written for the show, Milroy describes the role played by shadows in her still life paintings:
The darkest area in my painting is the point at which the object and ground meet in shadow. ‘Darkest’ does not always mean black, although this dark can feel like black. The black of a painted shoe has a different material quality than the black in a painted shadow. Both allude to different realities, the shoe tangible, factual, ordinary, the shadow suggested, felt, mysterious.
She describes, in detail, making, and applying, black:
I make my own black paint by mixing ultramarine blue and burnt umber. I only use black straight out of the tin for painting a ground or as a glaze, or for drawing on the canvas when I need a line both fluid and pigment-rich. Emotionally, it feels quite different to use readymade black as opposed to black I make myself. My own black feels more intimate, a part of me, like my own shadow. Readymade black is more a tool, functional. Independent from me, readymade black paint is less emotionally charged.
A shadow in my painting binds an object to the ground. My shadows are made from ultramarine blue, burnt umber and titanium white which produces a soft gray. For a hot or warm shadow, I add a touch of yellow ochre or alizarin crimson to the mix and for a cooler shadow, I add more ultramarine blue. To paint a shadow, I start by brushing my own black paint to the right of the object. Then I paint the gray component next to it. To finish, I blend the black at the edge of the object into the gray area and the gray area into the off-white ground that surrounds the object.
The following items are available in Pittville Learning Centre:
Bradley, Fiona (2001) Lisa Milroy, London: Tate Gallery
Chisenhale Gallery (1995) Lisa Milroy: Travel Paintings, London: Chisenhale Gallery
Lisa Milroy (2003) [video], London: Illuminations (theEYE series)
Waddington Galleries (1998) Lisa Milroy, London: Waddington Galleries
Watkins, Jonathan et al (2007), Lisa Milroy: Making Sense, Birmingham: Ikon Gallery
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Poster by Mark Unsworth
On Saturday the 20th November, Xposed Club will host a rare performance by Barre Phillips in the Chapel at the Francis Close Hall campus in Cheltenham. Barre Phillps is a free improvising bassist who has worked with Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman and many others. On Saturday he will be performing with Tony Bevan on saxophone, Matthew Bourne on piano, Tony Buck on drums, + Pat Thomas on piano and Chris Cundy on bass clarinet.
£6.00 (£3.00 concs.) on the door, starts 8.00pm.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
First prize has been awarded to Virginia Verran for her drawing Bolus Space (signal), 2009/10, pens on canvas (above).
Just under 3,000 entries were submitted this year for consideration by the selectors: Charles Darwent, Art Critic, Independent on Sunday; Jenni Lomax, Director of the Camden Arts Centre; and Emma Talbot, artist (former Course Leader, Fine Art, University of Gloucestershire).
Second prize was awarded to Panayiotis Lamprou for Portrait of My British Wife; Lamprou says of the picture: ‘To me, it expresses female power and independence as well as my devotion to my wife’.
Third prize went to Jeffrey Stockbridge for Tic Tac and Tootsie (twin sisters Carroll and Shelly McKean) The sisters, who live on the street in Kensington, North Philadelphia, and suffer from insomnia, are both addicted to Xanex and have resorted to prostitution to supply their habit.
Stockbridge says, ‘Enduring unthinkable pain on a daily basis, the sisters are both incredibly strong and weak at the same time. Caught in the grip of their addiction, they do whatever it takes to survive, except for getting clean'.
The exhibition is at the National Portrait Gallery from 11th November - 20th February 2011. All quotes and details above are from the NPG website.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
The British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet has opened in various venues across Nottingham (until 9th Jan, 2011) and has received some very positive reviews (see Adrian Searle and Laura Cumming). Particularly well received has been the work of Sarah Lucas (above) and Christian Marclay’s film, “The Clock”. (This can also been seen at White Cube, Mason’s Yard until 13th November.)
An exhibition of the work of Gerhard Richter is showing at The New Walk Museum and Gallery in Leicester, until 27th February 2011. This is one of the ‘Artists’ Rooms’ donated to the nation by Anthony d’Offay.
Myth, Manners and Memory: Photographers of the American South is showing at the wonderful De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, until 3rd January 2011. The exhibition includes work by Walker Evans, William Eggleston, William Christenberry, Carrie Mae Weems, Alec Soth, Susan Lipper and others. The De La Warr Pavilion, designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, built in 1935, restored in 2005, is one of the Modernist gems of English architecture.
In London, Rirkrit Tiravanija is at Pillar Corias. Tiravanija has been associated with 'Relational Aesthetics' (see Nicolas Bourriaud (2003) Relational Aesthetics, Dijon: Les Presse du Réel) - his previous work has included preparing meals for gallery visitors. This show features 2 works: an 8 hour video charting a day in the life of Leung Neaw, an elderly Thai man, and a 35mm slide installation showing the gallery director recounting a day in her life for the duration of a working day.
The Courtauld Gallery has put together a show which brings together, for the first time, a group of Paul Cézanne’s paintings of card players. See 3 short videos about the work on the Courtauld’s website. The exhibition will run until 16th January 2011.
Most of the exhibitions listed for October will run through, or into, November. For links and details of the following, see Exhibition Roundup – (mid) October:
For links and details of the following, see Exhibition Roundup – October:
· The Liverpool Biennial ( - 28th November)
· Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2010 at The Coach Shed, Liverpool ( - 13th November)
· The 4th Brighton Photo Biennial ( - 14th November)
· The 20th Hereford Photography Festival ( - 27th November)
Friday, 5 November 2010
Photograph by Vladimir Marcano
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The winner of the 'body of work' category is Peter diCampo for his Life Without Lights series:
Year-round in Ghana, the sun sets at 6pm and rises at 6am - thus, the residents of communities lacking electricity live half of their lives in the dark. Over ten years ago, the government of Ghana began a massive campaign to provide the country's rural north with electricity, but the project ceased almost immediately after it began. The work sluggishly resumes during election years, as candidates attempt to garner popularity and votes. But at present, an estimated 73% of villages remain without electricity in the neglected north - an area comprising 40% of the country.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Simon Norfolk, Full Spectrum Dominance, 2008
The 20th annual Hereford Photography Festival runs from 29th October through to 27th November. An extensive exhibition programme includes "Twenty", curated by Paul Seawright and featuring photographers who have shown work at the festival over the last 20 years, including, amongst others, Jodi Bieber, Martin Parr, Paul Hill, Rankin, Roger Ballen and Simon Norfolk. See slide shows of images at The Telegraph and The Independent. See the HPF website for full details of all exhibitions and the programme of talks and events.
Winter Mist: Corfe Castle, by Antony Spencer: winner of the The Landscape Photographer of the Year, 2010.
See gallery of winning and commended entries here.
Andrew Whitaker, Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside. (Highly commended.)