Getting a slight touch of cabin fever here on the snowy Bere Peninsula, no buses for a couple of days and the first post for three just hit the doormat, chocolate supplies low but not yet critical. All of which means of course that I should be taking the opportunity to work solidly and get on with things, which I am, sort of. 'The First of the Few' painting I was planning in the previous post has morphed into a diptych which is still in progress leaving 'The Man in the White Suit' on hold for the moment as I've decided to concentrate on a series which I'm hoping will form the core of an exhibition (hopefully as part of the British Art Show 7 Fringe next year). I have a title for the show 'The Demi-Paradise' (after the 1943 Laurence Olivier film here http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0035793/) and the central premise (conceit if you will) is that all the paintings are derived from British wartime movies.
It might not feel like it to anyone who grew up on a Sunday afternoon television diet of 'The Dambusters' and 'The Colditz Story' but during the war years themselves the British film industry (at least compared to the Americans) made few films where combat was central to the story, preferring to produce a vision of an England and its people (and it was almost exclusively England) rooted in a bucolic agrarian past yet able to adapt to change and to summon a steely resistance to outside threats. Many were more than just propaganda however and revealed a real ambiguity about the status quo and attitudes to class.The obvious examples are probably 'Went the Day Well', when the local squire turns out to be a fifth columnist or Eric Portman's genuinely creepy turn in 'A Canterbury Tale', both movies which that bastion of unquestioning Britishness 'The Daily Mail' has given away as freebies in the last couple of years (not big on irony or self awareness the 'Mail'). 'Tawny Pipit' is one movie that I've had to track down on DVD from Australia (rather than as a bootleg) and is unlikely to be given away by the 'Mail' anytime soon, it's the only time you are ever likely to see the inhabitants of an English village lustily belting out 'The Internationale' whilst waving Soviet flags, and all in a film about green issues before there ever was such a term. Can't wait for it to turn up!
In the meantime here's a youtube video made by an American fan of the film who also manages to rather miss the point with the music, enjoy ...
No idea why I chose a Velvet Underground song to title this post, just popped into my head but it seems appropriate as I'm posting mainly about stuff that's going to be happening next year.
Firstly though congratulations to Susan Philipsz on this year's Turner Prize win and maximum kudos to the students (and others) who occupied Tate Britain at the same time, here's The Guardian video report http://bit.ly/gHhcFN nice to see the support the protest got from the great and the good.
And just for the record (listen very carefully, I shall say this only once). I may be what might loosely be termed a 'proper' painter (in other words I currently deal in images and 'likenesses' to one degree or another) but I am not now, nor ever have been, nor ever will be a 'Stuckist' and contemporary art of all stripes is where my heart lies. The conceptual basis of what I do is absolutely central to the premise of the art that results. Which I hope will be the last piece of 'artspeak' to appear on this blog for a while (although I can't promise).
The big news for Plymouth concerns the advent of 'British Art Show 7' http://www.britishartshow.co.uk/ will be arriving in venues across the city next September http://bit.ly/eLsRTZ Actually this is probably not news to a great many people but as I've only recently realised the significance of the event (and I'm an artist, it's my business to know this stuff) I make no apology for attempting to spread the word as much as possible. Where you, me and the butcher's dog come in is in trying to utilise (exploit is such an ugly word, don't you think?) the publicity and interest that such an event is designed to generate for our own not so nefarious purposes. In other words a 'fringe' that accompanies the main event, complements it, critques it, capitalises on and generally highlights local creativity and changes things for the better as regards the visual arts in the city and beyond. To this end there is now a Plymouth Fringe-BAS2011 Facebook Group over here http://on.fb.me/edXTqZ Join up, spread the link, retweet and disseminate as you wish.
Denham (that is my second studio, otherwise known as the spare room) is open for business. Having spent most of the day in Tavistock I came home to find that my loving wife has basically transferred my studio from Elstree (the currently sub zero garage) and reinstalled everything in the spare bedroom. Thus my commute to work is even shorter (and considerably warmer). This is an act of extreme kindness and consideration on her part, or she knows me too well and thinks I've been using the weather as an excuse to procrastinate! Either way it's time to get back to some real work starting with 'The Man in the White Suit'.
I've also been looking at a couple of Leslie Howard movies (incidentally if anyone has a DVD copy of 'Pimpernel Smith' they can lend me please drop me an email) and thought 'First of the Few' might prove to be a good source. I was right, but I'm not sure I've got the bottle to use the image I'd really like to. David Niven flying into the sunset having given Jerry a good thrashing. I know it's cheese, but it's sincere cheese and I like that, what does anybody else think?
Work in progress and other stuff that happens.