Right up my street, this.

Blog Rest and Play

Donald Trump Red Money

Warning: Not for those of a sensitive disposition. This post contains many images of Donald Trump.

Each year Single Malt Whiskey distillers Glenfiddich host a Spirit of Scotland Awards. It has a number of categories including for music, screen, art and writing.

Glenfiddich 2012 Spirit of Scotland

For the 2012 awards there were some controversy. Not for the music award which went to Gaelic folk-singer Julie Fowlis, or for screen which award went to actor Kelly MacDonald, not for art, awarded to the owner of Edinburgh Arts hub Summerhall, Robert McDowell, or for writing where the author Ewan Morrison took the award.

It was for the prime award itself, the Top Scot, which was won by Michael Forbes. You may not have heard of him but ask Donald Trump about him, mmm on second thoughts do not do that. Beyond the expletives and the bluster you will not be enlightened much.

If you…

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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!

Still here, rambling on…(and some Caravaggio)

Hello, my lovelies!
It’s an age since last I gifted to the world my perspicacious insight (read “facetious ranting to minimal effect”) on matters artisitic, but to be honest there’s not been much that’s grabbed my attention.
I did consider adding my two-pennyworth on our Damien’s latest ‘Verity’ monstrosity, but the vitriolic, almost spiteful attacks against it – and him – by all and sundry have left me disinclined to jump back on this juggernaut of a bandwagon.
To wit: from today’s Guardian, Peter Duggan’s Artoon:

Too cruel.
Besides, if you didn’t think he was a cack-handed, talent-free zone twenty years ago, IT’S TOO LATE NOW, you ridiculous, fad-following, tightly-tousered numpty.

Anyways…
This post isn’t for you, it’s for me.
By complete accident/serendipity/whatevs I stumbled upon a really wonderful (to me) short but beautifully articulated talk by Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King’s College, London, part of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay series on Caravaggio from a couple of years ago.
He talks about The Taking of Christ:

The Calling of St Matthew:

and about how the painter uses light, dark, space to lend these great, great works their huge emotional/religious impact; creating a kind of ‘God of the Gaps’ to which even a godless heathen like me cannot fail to respond.
Some BBC accompanying blurb:

“Tonight’s essay… maintains that in his great religious paintings such as The Calling of St. Matthew and The Raising of Lazarus Caravaggio is a master of capturing movement and the vibrancy of exchange. Furthermore, it is contended that in depicting exceptional relations between people and things in his religious works, the artist who espoused a turbulent and morally doubtful way of life, came as near as is possible in painting to representing God.”

Listen to Professor Quash (great name: In the Bathroom! With the Loofah!) here.

As I say, this is really for me: a way of keeping something rather marvellous to hand. I hope you enjoy it, but if not, no matter.
See you again when I can think of something vaguely interesting to say.

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PS If you did enjoy it, here‘s another one by another Light of My Life and tip-top Caravaggio scholar Andrew Graham-Dixon, in which he talks about the painter’s dramatic last years: the ‘murder’, his time as a Knight of Malta… and, not least, his legacy and influence on those great artists who came after.
What’s not to love?

“Walter’s been!”: Britain’s first street artist?

Before Phlegm… before Banksy… there was….

WALTER!!

Walter Kershaw, to give him his full, zippy ‘handle’.
(What is it about the name ‘Walter’?
Ancient British readers may, like me, picture the dithering, imbecilic character in that ‘much-missed’ (i.e. egregious) archaic northern sitcom Nearest and Dearestin which most of the dialogue centred around concern for the functioning of said Walter’s dodgy bladder, hence lots of ” ‘Ave yer been, Walter?”, ” ‘As ‘e been?”
So far, so ‘street’.
But I digress.)

Kershaw (K-Walt? Waltsy? Wal-Ee Bah Gum?) was born in 1940 in Rochdale, one of the many once-great cotton and wool mill towns of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire which fuelled Imperial prosperity. To house the mill-workers, row upon row of back-to-back terraced houses were built, as close to the mills as possible; I myself (in Yorkshirese, ‘me’sen’) was born in just such a house:

“Everything was so grim and black and white in those days…”

Indeed it was, Walter.
Mucky, filthy from the continuous belch of smoke and soot. That’s not to say outside walls were left entirely to their own devices:

Bile Beans??
Apparently, some heinous quack laxative. (Sorry. Again already with the ‘internal plumbing’; but the importance of being ‘regular’ was something of an obsession in those days. Trust me.)

“… so I asked this chap if I could paint some big flowers on his wall…”

BIG flowers.
Do not underestimate the radical nature of this work. Hardly ‘political’ on the scale of, say, the Northern Ireland murals, it caused no end of fuss and mithering amongst the petty Jobsworths at the Town Hall; furthermore, they’re not just ‘flowers’, they’re pansies, ‘pansy’, in those halcyon, taste-free days of the mid-70s when these works were created, being the demotic for what the papers liked to refer to as ‘a confirmed bachelor’.
Go Walter!

The following is perhaps my favourite.
The plan was to paint Elvis –  you know, an actual icon – but someone had forgotten to bring the picture to paint from, or something, so they had to make do with Alvin Stardust. Alvin bloody Stardust!! A leather-clad, be-gloved and be-quiffed, slightly-too-old-looking popster, who pointed suggestively at the camera while intoning such deathless classics as My Coo Ca Choo:

(Please, watch this video: a master-class in half-assed miming and audience indifference.)
Hilarious.
But you know what? The People LOVED Kershaw’s works, (the Alvin not so much, maybe; word is, he felt obliged to ‘leg it sharpish’ on completion), not least the rather marvellous ‘inside-out’ house:

Kershaw became quite famous, got Big in Brazil, won prestigious public commissions (Trafford Park), and continues as a practising artist to this day. (You can read his Wiki bio here, and visit his website here.)

But his later successes don’t interest me half as much as these earlier efforts with their “shock value of… technicolour guerilla work…” (Bob Stanley, in a Guardian article on Kershaw. Well worth a read.)
Aren’t they what street art is all about?
To be democratic, and to not give a flying feck about ‘officialdom’?
To make something extraordinary out of the horribly mundane?
To make people sit up and/or smile? Pay attention?
To actually, literally, change our world, if only for a passing moment?

These paintings – and, with their traditional drawing and use of perspective, they are paintings, not ‘graffiti’, Mr Stanley – are long gone, what with the decline of the textiles industry and the demolition and clearance of swathes of ‘industrial’ slum housing.
That’s the other thing about street art: it’s essentially ephemeral.
All the more reason, then, to treasure it and its makers while we can.
Here’s to you, Walter Kershaw.
You rock.

Nice interview with lovely T’Art Club member and super artist, Mary Lonergan, featuring her ‘Grand Iroquois’ which was shown in the recent NY spectacular, Art Takes Times Square.
Very proud!

All About Travel

”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~Steven Pressfield

Bay Area Artist Mary Lonergan is a client and friend of All About Travel and we wanted to share with you a bit about her creative endeavors.

I have personally known Mary for many years. We worked together in the Bay Area in the music scene managing bands and producing live events. In fact, Mary and I have created artwork alongside one another working on our own projects, spending the day creating with music in the background. It’s definitely something I miss quite a bit. I actually worked with oils mostly until Mary introduced me to acrylics.

In fact, Mary’s first show in Florence I was going to…

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Dirty Old Men 2

An addendum to my last post.

Take a look at this; (I’ve pixelated the image because WordPress forbids images of genitalia; when it was posted on Facebook last year FB deleted it and there was no end of brouhaha; it’s very easy to find the unadulterated version):
L’Origine du Monde (Origin of the World) was painted by Gustave Courbet in 1866, oil on canvas, 55cm x 46cm, and currently hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

Now, this is ART, right?
A very great painter, a leading exponent of Realism, which rejected, among other things, the idealising of the female form inherent in academic History Painting and the hypocrisy of erotica/porn masquerading as moral edification, creates something ‘honest’.
Technically, it’s brilliant. Look at that foreshortening! The brushwork.
It hangs in full public view in a ‘proper’ gallery.
The frame! Wow, that frame! Only Art deserves a frame like that.
And it’s got a portentous ‘mythic’ title!
Of course it’s ART!

Then ask why it was painted.
It was commissioned by an Ottoman diplomat for his – ahem – ‘private collection’; that is, the wealthy man’s version of a secret stash of jazz mags. It is an aid to masturbation. If you’re really rich, like Mr Playboy himself, Hugh Hefner, hell, you don’t need the images, you can surround yourself with the real thing.

But it’s by Courbet! It’s ART!

So, if a ‘split-beaver shot’ (I believe that’s the technical term) is beautifully rendered by someone famous, it’s no longer ‘pornography’, it no longer denigrates women? Somehow it’s more acceptable and less exploitative than a well-thumbed copy of Razzle?
Bullshit.

You may argue that the painting marks ‘progress’, in that it shows women as they ‘really are’. Actually, it was merely ‘racy’, more arousing to appetites jaded by anodyne representations of Diana with her tits out; pornography, to continue its appeal, must always go that ‘one step further’. (Wonder what Ruskin would have made of it, with his apocryphal horror of pubes?) You can then think about that ‘progress’ and ask yourself why,150 years on, women are more paranoid than ever about eradicating every stray hair that marks them out as equal, grown-up members of society, if not to conform, still, to a male-engendered ideal of how the female of the species should look.

The ‘male gaze’.
The look that continues to insist:
You, lady, are not Like Me; you exist only in relation to me and my desires; I don’t even need to see your face; I don’t care who you are, only what you are.
And so powerful is this gaze of mine, it’s got you looking at yourself in the exact same way.
Woman as c*nt.
Woman is c*nt.

This painting: Edifying? Transcendent? Art?
Dress it up (in androcentric discourse?), but I don’t think so.
How about you?

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22 July: Just discovered this ‘Electric Alarum’ anti-masturbation device for men. Seemed apposite. 😉
https://tarthead.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/electric-alarum.jpg

And just in case women think they’re blamelessly getting away scot free, an excellent post from M.K. Hajdin:
http://exiledstardust.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/how-to-be-a-confessional-artist/

Dirty Old Men…

This made me smile, albeit wryly.
According to a news report, writes Jonathan Jones in the Guardian,

“…the guards at the National Gallery in London are worried that “dirty old men” are sneaking in to look at Mark Wallinger’s peep show, in which nude models recreate the paintings of Titian…”

What??
Unshaven, gaunt-cheeked men of a certain age (think Albert Steptoe), hands hidden suspiciously deep in the pockets of stained, crusty macs, are prowling the sacred halls of this cathedral to Art in search of titillation?
Surely not!

A Wallinger ‘Diana’ at the National Gallery, London

What nonsense.
Fact: men, ‘straight men’ (hate that phrase, with its implications of orthopraxy), like to look at young, naked, nubile women. Always have.
And Art and the purveyors of Art have been one of the major means of allowing them, “dirty” or eminently respectable, to do so.
As Jones says,

“…there’s loads of erotica on view at the National Gallery…”

You don’t need to wander the shady lanes of Soho, shame-facedly incognito; you, sir, can go to the National on a Sunday afternoon in your Abercrombie and Fitch chinos, get a brazen eyeful, and call it ‘culture’.

Diana and Actaeon, by Titian, 1556-9, 202cm x 185cm, The National Gallery, London

As John Berger pointed out, the History of Art as we in the west know it is essentially the History of the Male Gaze: oil paintings in particular have been made in the main by men, at men’s behest, for men’s pleasure. When the Hierarchy of Painting, the classifying of genres according to their ‘respectability’, was formally stated in the 17th century at the (French) Academy, licence to perv was granted officially and unequivocally; top of the list was History Painting, the most ‘morally uplifting’, taking as it did its themes from the Bible and classical history/mythology.
‘Uplifting’ tales, yes.
Also replete with tits and ass.

Examples are, of course, myriad. One ‘theme’, however, caught my eye, in that variations on it appear to be particularly plentiful: Lot and his daughters.
The kernel of the story is this: warned by two visiting ‘angels’ that God is about to destroy Sodom, Lot flees the city with his wife and daughters; the wife, against orders, looks back, sees the destruction and is turned into a pillar of salt; Lot and the girls reach a place of safety; the girls ply their father with alcohol, and rape/seduce him in order to get pregnant and continue his line.

HUH??

Lots, indeed, to discuss here, not least ‘brewer’s droop’; but what’s important is that, in Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) tradition, Lot is viewed as a ‘righteous man’, the founding father through his daughters of the Moabites (ancestors of Christ) and Ammonites; the story is as ‘moral’ as it gets.

Lot and his Daughters, by Wtewael, c. 1595, 205cm x 163cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Oh, joy!” thinks the (male, monied) patron of art.
“Not only can I demonstrate my piety (and wealth) to the world, I can also have a bloody massive painting of an old geezer who looks pretty much like me having the time of his life with a bevy of fillies absolutely gagging for it!
Result!”

Lot and his Daughters, by Furini, c.1640, 123cm x 120cm, Museo del Prado

I’m not man-bashing per se, I’m telling it how I see it.
I like men. Honest.
Hell, I’m married to one.
But the truth is, the porn ‘industry’ is predominantly sustained by this ‘male gaze’. Call it ‘art’, call it ‘erotica’, call it what you will, but men looking at women in this way is, as it always was, an oppressive act; and it is all the more pernicious in that it conditions women to look at other women from the same perspective.
Saying that, I don’t know about you, but I prefer the honesty of an unreconstructed, unmediated “PHWOAR!!” to the insidious, mealy-mouthed, shit-eating expressions of solidarity with the Sisterhood that some men now appear constrained to evince at every given opportunity to prove how ‘right on’ they are.
(That’s right, men! You Can’t Win! ! Feels good, doesn’t it?)

So, Mr Security Guard (you are male for my purposes; yes, it’s ‘unfair’), cut the hypocrisy and give the ‘dirty old men’ a break; who are they, after all? The ones in the too-big raincoats? Or the ones in the Savile Row suits?
And when you go home after a long, tedious shift round the Raphaels and switch on the computer, what do you search for?
Lets face it, ‘dirty old men’ operate within a very ‘grand’ and ancient tradition indeed. And they’re everywhere.
Poor buggers.

(By the way: ‘dirty old women‘? They rock.)

The Art of Getting it Wrong: Caravaggio

Obviously, being me, I couldn’t let pass the discovery of 100 ‘new Caravaggios’ without comment. (See an excellent summary of the story so far on Elliott in Gotham.)
The Higgs boson, and now this.
Truly, tempus mirabilis.

There are a host of reasons to admire Caravaggio; no need to list them: we all know what they are.
But what I love, really love, about him, is that, in some ways, he sucked.
Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, one of the Milan researchers:

“…the work of the adolescent Merisi… is powerful, realistic, but still messy… Some errors were so deep-seated they reappear years later in more celebrated paintings..”

Criticisms of Caravaggio’s style and technique were rife from the off. From Bellori’s Lives of the Artists (1672):

“…They [the old painters] spread it about that,… poor in invention and design, lacking in decorum and art, he painted all his figures in one light and on one plane without gradations.”

Bellori, while recognising his ‘innovations’ and ‘influence’, agreed.
More recently, Hockney has cited (in Martin Gayford’s excellent A Bigger Message) Caravaggio’s ‘mistakes in drawing‘ (sic) as evidence for the artist’s use of the camera obscura, that being the reason for:

“…anatomical and spatial oddities: arms too far, too short or too long; crammed into a visual space that is simply too small to contain them…”

All of which is neither here nor there.
I challenge anyone to stand in front of a great Caravaggio and not be moved beyond measure. The last thing you’ll remark upon is the disegna, the draughtsmanship. The sum is always greater than the parts.

Great art, for me, does not exist in ‘perfection’; it exists on the cusp, in that fine no-man’s-land between hanging together and falling apart. It’s human, and thus infinitely humane.
Michelangelo will always trump Bernini, in my book.

So again, Caravaggio: not the greatest ‘painter’, but arguably the greatest artist.
Bellori:

“He repudiated every other precept and considered it the highest achievement in art not to be bound to the rules of art.”

That, my friends, is why.

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7 July: See the latest from Elliott here. The sceptics weigh in.

9 July: Is it all Utter Bollocks?

Mad Dogs and Englishmen: Adam Berry, artist

“Field Sport Series (Fear of the Dog)”, 2011-12

I know Adam and have long admired his work, so writing about his latest pieces has been difficult in that I’ve tried to forget almost everything I know about his views on art and look at them through a stranger’s eyes, as I have – out of necessity – the works of other contemporary artists I’ve discussed. (I’ve also studiously ignored the 10,000 word thesis that accompanies this series as part of Adam’s final submission towards his MA degree; if art can’t speak for itself, it’s not doing its job.)

I’ve always been struck by a certain ‘Englishness’ about Adam’s work: hard to put into words precisely; something Turneresque, perhaps? Constable-ish?
Then, looking again at Field Series, it hit me: Thomas Gainsborough.­
Now, I’ve no inkling about what Adam will make of the comparison, but I’ve come to view him as something of a natural heir to the great 18th century painter.

Gainsborough’s great love was reserved for landscape, the land; portraiture was how he earned his living. When he combined the two, something extraordinary happened, something a world away from the academic ‘grand manner’ style favoured by his rival, Joshua Reynolds:

‘Mr and Mrs Andrews’, 1750, 69cm x 119cm
The National Gallery, London

Portraits were (still are?) commissioned by the landed and wealthy to reflect their social standing back at themselves and at their peers: a kind of certificate of authenticity, of ‘belonging’.
But the newly-minted Mr Andrews got rather more than he bargained for.

The artist, having no love for the monied, landed classes, produced a painting which, while doing what it says on the tin, is full of irony, subtlety and subversion. It is what Adam would call ‘a situation in an image’, where nothing is stated and everything implied.

Consider the gawky awkwardness of the couple in posture and, in her case, dress: their relationship to the land is strictly proprietorial, not ‘natural’ –  the land has not been tended by their hands; the great oak tree, symbol of tradition and stability, is surely ironic when one recalls that Mr Andrews was something of a parvenu. But he’s got the land, the gun, the broodmare: to him, then, the history.
What he hasn’t got is the nous to see that, in that lowering grey cloud, Gainsborough is about to piss on his parade.

This, in my view, is exactly what Adam, another lover of the land, does in Field Series.

Stylistically, the artists are similar: the warm greeny-brown palette of an English late summer/autumn (the start of the hunting season); superb draughtsmanship combined with vigorous brushwork and a lively painterliness; in Adam’s work here, however, the ‘situation’ is not in a particular image, but in the series as a whole. Several pieces could be taken out of context and appear quite anodyne (and look well on a huntsman’s drawing-room wall; oh, irony), but viewed together, referentially, they imply an over-arching narrative that is as satirical as Gainsborough’s masterpiece.

Just as Gainsborough took traditional form and content and used them as a means of subversive social critique, so Adam appropriates age-old artistic tropes and genres – the hunting print, the cartoon, the portrait, the horse study – and deploys them not just to ‘condemn’ fox-hunting – too crudely didactic –  but, I believe, to allow for, while never insisting upon, a strongly political interpretation: the ‘State of the Nation’, no less.

Hunting with dogs, opposed by the ordinary majority, has been illegal in England since 2005, yet the law is routinely flouted by those with the money/power, the rich ‘them’, with their exclusive and excluding ‘uniforms’ (hunting ‘pinks’, hunt buttons, special ribbons, collars, etc. etc.), their strict top-down hierarchy, their particular and peculiar jargon, their arcane rituals (‘blooding’ of children, for one.)

The government does not give two hoots, clearly. We are supposed to live in a democracy, all equal before the law.
Ha.


The fact is, we are governed by a self-regarding ‘club’, a network of vested interests which rides rough-shod over the rest of us much like the local hunt once ploughed through a North Yorkshire neighbour’s garden. Just as we have pro-hunt types waxing sophistical about the ‘traditions’ and’benefits’ of chasing foxes and their cubs and ripping them to bloody shreds, so we have Cameron and his mob hunting down and tearing the lives away from those among us, the ‘vermin’, who have so very little to start with; at the same time they are doing nothing at all, other than engaging in diversionary moralising (Jimmy Carr), to curb the excesses and evasions of the obscenely wealthy.

It is not ‘we’ who control our land, our history; it is still ‘they’, Mr Andrews and his ilk; the toilers, like Andrews’ invisible farm-hands, the true curators of those golden, rolling acres, don’t get a look-in.

What is ‘tradition’? Whom does it serve?
Both Gainsborough and Adam raise these questions formally, through the medium of paint; ‘traditional’ content becomes the means of it’s own radical subversion. Crucially, Adam’s work shows that painting, as an art form, can still be relevant and incisive, whatever the ‘conceptualists’ would have you believe.

Oscar Wilde once described fox-hunting as “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”.

So it remains.

Adam’s very own (True) ‘Blue Boy’?

Come the Revolution…

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Postscript:

All Adam’s images in the series –  the above are a very small selection – are approximately 25cm x 22cm, and are framed in Adam’s own idiosyncratic, handmade style:

The frames, which would require their own blog post,  and the position of the images within the frames, are integral to the art works, but I wanted to concentrate in the first place on the images. The above gives you some idea of the look of the whole, and why, together, with this extra heft, I view the Series as something more substantial, more ‘sculptural’, perhaps, than simply ‘paintings’.

See more of Adam’s work here: http://www.adamberryfineartpainting.co.uk/
(Needs updating, Ad!)