Wylie and Twombly

Rose Wylie
Rose Wylie, Palm Tree and Camel (Queen of Sheba), 2012. Oil on canvas

"I don't like slick, I don't like clever" says Rose Wylie in an interview with MK Palomar.

Commenting on Wylie's habit of writing in her art, Palomar notes: "It's interesting coz alot of times...when people paint words on canvases... it's telling you something... and yet somehow your not, your subverting that even?"

Wylie replies: "I don't like knowledge being shoved on by quoting Plato or Homer. I think it's pathetic. If the painting doesn't work without shoving Homer on it, then you should make the painting better"

Fifty Days at Iliam: Shield of Achilles, Cy Twombly
Fifty Days at Iliam: Shield of Achilles, Cy Twombly

...from Homer's Iliad, the epic recitation of the final fifty days of the Trojan War. 

The art of crap

Jockum Nordstrom

"Evening in the salon", lithograph by Jockum Nordstrom - 1999

I started drawing properly about 3 years ago.

Many years previous to this I did a drawing class in university and before that, as a child, I drew scenes of men hunting wild animals. But it was when I started 'really' drawing regularly that I realised how crap I was. After a year and a half or so, I thought, well I give up, things are not getting much better, perhaps I just need to accept that crap is my art and that's what I should do.

Around this time I found Jockum Nordstrom's drawings and it dawned on me that my crap art was still just that, crap!

But I did learn from Nordstrom's work that there is a special 'way' required, even for 'bad', naive or whatever you want to call it, drawing, and this revelation seemed to improve things for me. 


Photography is dead

Photography is dead

I thought I'd waste yet more of mine and hopefully of your valuable time by bringing this blog back from the dead.

The last time I successfully blogged was years ago when I was mad about photography.

But I've changed. Photography for me has all but laid down, feet up, and died. Rest assured - because it's foremost in your mind - that I do, nevertheless, check photo world once in a while.

But there is something else soooo enormous - it's BIG -  that has captured my heart instead. And, since you’re clammering to know I will now give you elaborate, elongated, convoluted and thoroughly embellished blog posts on my new dear topic. It will console you that while photography has died, creativity has not.

It's just that my new topic is faaar more interesting, something every toddler is doing, and it predates just about everything, for heavens sake.... cave people were doing it!

And so now stay tuned, that's an order.

Are you stuck?

Tracy Emin

If there is an artist that the public love to hate it would be Tracy Emin.

Tracy Emin

She's not highlighted for her drawing skills. Culturally, we tend to think it's just fine to draw 'spontaneously' but only so long as we can draw.

A child can't draw, but that's ok, as a child.

Childhood drawing by Lucien Freud
Childhood drawing by Lucien Freud

Typically, after years of training and school one learns to draw.

Lucien Freud

Until it's realised, in the age of post Dada, actually anything goes...

Rose Wylie
Rose Wylie

Unless, of course, you're Emin.

Years of our teachers aspiring to realism, years of students telling themselves that they can't draw, years of perplexing conceptional art, won't let Emin get away with it.

She just can't draw.

Tracy Emin
Tracy Emin

She can't draw and yet, we can't stop looking. We're looking at her - not at her ability to draw - and that's what makes her art interesting.

Emin's former husband, Billy Childish, coined the term Stuckism - apparently Emin had exclaimed, "Your paintings are stuck, you are stuck! Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!". She has a point.