New Toy on T’Internets!

Hey guys, just a quickie…
Check this out! A film of your site!
Hours of fun via wibbitz.com !
If you know it already, take a bow, you are:

I can’t get my film to embed in WP so here’s the link.

Tks to @Exomene for the info and an enlivened Sunday evening!
And special shoutout to @mkhajdin just ‘cos…

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IN-GER-LAND: more Mackie!

‘Twas a Happy Day when I – entirely by accident; I actually bothered to ‘View Photo’, for once – came across Mackie’s work on Twitter. So happy, I got in touch and begged permission to write a blog piece (which you can view here, and also on Mackie’s site),

So It’s with utter delight I present to you, cherished readers, his new work, A Modern History of English Football:

Oil on canvas; 1520mm x 1520mm

Past and present England football managers are gathered together, playing … subbuteo!
Now I Iove soccer. Not the grossly overpaid, hyper-sexed, racist, misogynist, show-pony proponents of the men’s game, but the game itself. Played well at the highest level, it can indeed be the Beautiful Game, a matchless display of skill and physical grace. Sport-wise, little compares to ‘your’ player hitting the back of the net with power and inch-perfect precision from forty yards out. Get in.
Unfortunately for England fans, such a display is as rare as rocking-horse crap. The last few decades have been a bloody nightmare of promise, hope, prayer, followed by gut-churning anguish as the dream disintegrated into a looped nightmare of broken metatarsals, ignominious sendings-off and dismal penalty shoot-outs.
‘Golden Generation’?
Gah.
It’s looking like our manager, whoever he is, wherever he’s from, could not, in fact, manage a piss-up in a brewery…

It’s no coincidence then, I think, that Mackie references here Caravaggio’s The Calling of St Matthew, serendipitously featured in a recent post, but, sod it, we’ll have it again:

A gang of low-life shady types are gathered in the gloomy back room of some insalubrious dive, when lo, Christ appears to interrupt their tawdry games of chance.
Roy Hodgson ( Mackie’s figure right, current England manager) as the Messiah? Haha.
But this is what we do, we England fans; we invest in the new incumbent and his team, if not exactly faith, then a kind of desperate desire, praying that he, he will be the one to finally lead us out of The Dark towards the Shining Light of Heaven that is the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Of course, we know, really, deep-down, that he won’t. Been there, seen that, got the tee-shirt.
And this is Mackie’s gift, to once again capture that frailty, that slightly ridiculous withering of the dream even as it is being dreamt, that is the perpetual lot of the average, not just English but British, male (and female footie fan).
Knowing wryness undercut with empathy, understanding, and a blue, blue melancholy.

Like Caravaggio’s back room, the world of modern professional football can be and very often is, thanks to some of the class-free morons involved, a shamelessly tawdry cum sordid affair, but the game itself remains a fine one.
And that’s what it is: like subbuteo, ‘only a game’.
Isn’t it?
Well, that’s what we’ll be telling ourselves in 2014, as yet again we heave ourselves off the sofa and, with a deep dispirited sigh, go and put the kettle on.

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Mackie’s new work can be seen here:

The Luxury of Light: the art of Shilowska Pretto

The clocks have gone back; days are shortening, shadows lengthening depressingly early, as we hurtle towards midwinter. The light is suddenly at a premium: we treasure those fleeting, crisp, golden autumn days; we make our Jack-O’-Lanterns, our bonfires, and fill the sky with fireworks; Diwali begins; lamps are lit, we hunker down and think about that great tangle of Christmas tree twinklers that will soon need unravelling…

At this time of year Shilowska’s shining art is, I find, irresistible.

All painting is essentially about ‘painting’, about what it as a medium can do. In Shilowska’s words:

“…light, reflection…a search for a technique that allowed me to move away from my preconceived ideas in painting, and above all, fulfil my desire to liberate form and take advantage of the magical, transformative qualities of light..”

Detail:

Composed of mixed media – non-traditional materials such as car paint, sequins, glassy mosaics, as well as oils – on canvas, these pieces really are Light as Object of Desire.
Jewel-like colour and iridescence, finely-wrought sensuousness:
The paintings exude for me a gleaming preciousness and glamour, a warm richness that appeals to my shameless wintry desire to indulge myself:

“Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté. “*

(From Baudelaire’s L’Invitation au Voyage in Les Fleurs du Mal.)

I love that, the ‘calme’, the tranquil timelessness; the smooth languor of the gently flowing paint which is allowed to go desultorily, lazily, where it will, creating an image of…
Well, what?

Something both macrocosmic and microcosmic; organic patterns reflective of distant galaxies, fathomless oceans, the filigree delicacy of a spider’s web.
Or gorgeous, enchanting magpie dreams.
You choose.

Santa, if you’re listening:
I want.

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* “There, everything is but order and beauty, / Luxury, peace and pleasure.”
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More of Shilowska’s work: http://www.shilowskapretto.com/

All images used with the artist’s permission.
Thanks, Shilowska!