Archive for the 'pictures' Category

ALSTON DANCE

2010-11-22

I[Picture of Alston ad in The List] have sadly been unable to see much dance since the children came along. We just couldn’t get baby-sitters and all the organising required to “get up off our assess” and go along to see Richard Alston’s latest on the 12th. That’s such a shame, as the blurb made it sound really fascinating.

The last 18 months have been eventful ones for Richard Alston, Britain’s most musical choreographer.

In addition to directing Rich ard Alston Dance Company, he made a critically acclaimed Carmen for Scottish Ballet, and was appointed Chair of Youth Dance England. 2010 began with a four-week tour of the US, including RADC’s third, sell-out New York season.

For its November performance at the Festival Theatre, Alston will be creating brand new work and reviving his iconic Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms.

Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms deals with privacy, with a delicacy of feeling masked by a formal façade of propriety and gracious behaviour.

It is danced to lute pieces by the Baroque master Denis Gaultier – in the 17th century, a music lesson could act as the polite cover for stolen moments of intimacy.

Also featured is complementary music for mandolin by the Japanese composer Jo Kondo.

All the music is performed live.

I simply love baroque, and most of my “classical” collection is Bach and Handel. I also would like to hear some modern mandolin from a Japanese composer — wonder what THAT would be like. It is great that Alston uses live music as all-too-often contemporary dance is down to recorded, pre-recorded or mixed stuff.  This would make the whole thing gel in its context and could make for a really unique and engaging night.

[Picture of dancers from Alston Dance]Also…  I LOVE this picture. It really is a superb photograph in all respects, please take time to enjoy it for what it is.  It is credited to Chris Nash the famous dance photographer from London.

I cut the ad from “The List” magazine — it is this picture, full-page, but with text (see top right of this post), for some reason I actually prefer the ad’s proportion and the text.

I have a soft spot for old advertising signs and pictures, and I reckon this would be a modern version.  I’m thinking of framing it!

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MY PHOTOS OF GLASGOW 1

2010-06-05

I was mesmerised by the pattern of light on an old brick building on Finnieston Street.  As the sun set, it reflected off the highly mirrored finish of the tall Sky Park building.

[davedevine's fone snap of Building on Finnieston Street]

I saw a similar effect on Gordon Street, with the Ca’D’oro building, along with rainbows and a nice reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of Ca'D'oro building]

And again with the old Dental Hospital entrance up near the Art School.

[davedevine's dental hospital reflection]

As a result, I began to notice more and more the reflections on buildings’ surfaces. I noticed the Gaelic School reflected the RSNO building nicely.

[davedevines's picture of the RSNO reflection]

Churches make good subjects, so I took two pictures with my mobile phone one lunchtime on Bath Street.  The subject is Renfield St Stephen’s church restored spire.  There are two office blocks across the road, the first picture is 225 Bath Street’s entrance, which is clear glass.

[davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on 225 Bath St] [davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on office Block on Bath St]

The second picture shows the church reflected in the highly mirrored building directly across from the church.  I took another picture of this building from a different angle and disregarding the church’s reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of office block on Bath St]

I realised that there are quite a lot of buildings that attempt to be invisible by being mirrored to reflect the Victorian surroundings.  In some cases the building is almost invisible when reflecting the sky:

[davedevine's fone snap of the Crowne Plaza]

Invisibility can make a building light and feint, and nonemoreso than the new Springburn College — known as North Glasgow College, which is formed in plan by two squashed boxes separated by a sharp or acute triangular portion. The pointed bit really is pointed, and vanishes into the sky, being mirrored on both sides.

[davedevine's photo of NGC point]

[davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College]

Sometimes a building will be shiny and silvery, but not really act like a mirror.  There is a very strange building in the IFSD:

[davedevine's picture of foil-wrapped building]

It is like a foil-wrapped building, and it still can reflect the sky to become almost invisible.  However, this picture was taken from a narrow lane at the rear of the building, so it mainly serves to reflect light into a dark area.

I like reflections of their own sake — buildings that were not designed to reflect can sometimes do so by virtue of their glazing — a=to great effect if what is reflected is noteworthy.  I spotted this window in the Park Circus area:

[davedevine's fonie snap of park circus reflection]

Another picture from the next street has a massive mirror to lend light and a feeling of spaciousness to a moat area:

[davedevine's fone snap of mirror at park circus]

The above point of the North Glasgow College, reminded me of a picture I took with an old Nokia phone of the Science Tower:

[davedevine's Nokia phone picture of Science Tower]

I like looking up at tall buildings; it certainly beats looking down!

[davdevine's mobile fone snap of office block] [davedevine's phone camera shot of flats on Broomielw] [davedevine's cameraphone snap of the Eagle Building]

[davedevine's fone snap of Beresford on sauchiehall st]

No article on pictures of Glasgow could miss out The Stobcross Crane or the Armadillo landmarks, and of course, the Clyde itself — perfect for reflections. These three cameraphone snaps were taken from the Squinty Bridge (Clyde Arc).

[davedevnie's sunrise over the clyde taken by phone camera]

[davedevine's Clyde Arena camera phone snap] [davedevine's fone snap of crane and clyde]

Hope you enjoyed seeing around my home city of Glasgow through my eyes and the lens of my old trusty Sony Ericsson phone. There are beautiful things all around us all the time — if you choose to look for them.

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THE PORTINARI ALTARPIECE

2010-04-06

For some unknown reason, The Portinari Altarpiece keeps popping into my head.  Quite why this should be so is beyond me; I really can’t explain it. I studied this work years ago, and probably the last time I even thought of it was over a decade ago.

[Picture of The Portinari]

My my, how the mind works.

I remember that Tom Portinari worked as a banker for the Medici family in Bruges for many years before commissioning this work from Hugo Van der Goes for a church in Florence. Maybe the Bruges connection is the clue; we saw the movie “In Bruges” not long ago, and Ruth and I have visited the place a couple of times. Would that be enough?

In any case, this work is pretty important to me.  It was the first time for a lot of things — my first tryptich, the first work that I encountered where I had to determine characters depicted by their “attributes”, the first artwork that I had studied that showed events using a weird 3D language (events in the past were depicted smaller and in the distance), the first time I had come across sponsors in the work and loads more firsts (these are the main ones I can recall).

It was finished in the late 1470s, and is about the “Adoration of The Shepherds“.  Mary has just given birth to the baby Jesus — she did so standing up and leaning against a pillar.  This is something altogether forgotten about today.

The scene is supposed to be based on a vivid dream of St Bridget, who saw the baby lying bare on the ground (as opposed to being in a manger).

It was usual for sponsors to be included in paintings — even though they were never at the events shown. As main sponsor, the Portinari family males were painted on the left-hand panel (father and two sons), and the right-hand side (the lesser side), is the mother and her daughter.

The patron saints are there with their attributes — the spear gives away St Thomas, the book and dragon has to be St Margaret, the bell is St Anthony, and as ever, Mary Magdalene, has her wee jar of ointment or oils.

  • I went to the Uffizi a few years back with Mike, Franco and Jenny (before I was married) — but I was hurried through the Palazzo Vecchio and the big square room mainly filled with Botticellis (including The Birth of Venus) and so did not get as long as I would have liked to meet and greet this great work of art.

I always intended visiting it again, but time has gone by and I have not as yet done so — to my deep regret.  Oh, how could I have been rushed? But then, it would have taken at least a full morning after all, it’s about 6 metres long by about two and a half metres high — it’s a full wall for heaven’s sakes!  A great painting in all respects.

One of the most charming things about this work is that it was always intended to be an altarpiece (the church of Sant’Egidio), and so in the foreground is painted flowers in vases that would have seemed like real flowers on the actual altar!  I remember that the orange lilies are supposed represent “The Passion”, while the wonderfully painted white irises represent Mary’s “Purity”.

It is choc-full of such symbols, hidden codes and meanings, representations, and Christian religious art language, and yet it is painted in a Dutch, Flemish, style for Italians.

Anyone interested in art history, religious effects on culture, semiotics, language and more, would have to study this immense work of art.

If you can get to see it, take it.  I know I will!

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OLD PORTFOLIO

2010-02-17

[Picture of strewn art works from a 1976 portfolio]Isn’t it fun to look through mementos?  I had a laugh looking through an old art class portfolio, and was amazed to find copies of Tamara de Lempicka’s work. Who knew!

I miss painting, but it is so difficult with a wife and kids around.  I mean to say, one cannot do nudes, can one!

[picture of paintings strewn] [Picture of oil sketch copy of madonna and child by Raphael Buonarotte]

[Picture oil pastel study of Raphael madonna and child] [picture of oild sketches from 1979] [Picture of oil sketches made by dave devine in 1979]

I was only 18 when I did these, and now they do seem distant — and I am remote from them.  I look at them like anyone — anyone other than the artist.  I cannot recall my intention, my frame of mind or much else.  How weird is that?  How weird is the mixture of influences — Raphael and Tamara de Lempicka! odd!  The face and the straw figure are clearly my own.  I think thi3 Madonna was done on several sheets to made a bigger picture.  I seem to remember doing a very large set of Madonna and child oils on canvas around that time, and I think I was trying to progress from the Raphael peak to some modern approach to the Madonna and child.

Frankly, I still think there has been no advance in religious or church art since secularisation — and that is a shame; in my opinion I would love to see cubist or more abstract Madonnas.  maybe one day I will get my act together and attempt to address this myself.

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JULIE NEWMAR

2010-01-27

[Picture of Jukie Newmar as Catwoman --aged 33]I can vividly remember the first time I was struck by a woman.  Not physically struck, of course, but struck none-the-less.

It’s difficult to explain, because it wasn’t a “grand sexual awakening”.  It wasn’t a “thunderbolt” of love or lust, and it wasn’t awe or admiration.  It was quite simply the first moment I really noticed a woman for being a woman, for being different, for being a fascinating creature.

Hey, this is a big moment in the life of the male.  I wonder if other guys know what I am going on about?  Anyway, for me that moment happened while watching TV.

Yes. TV. I was a kid.  A wee boy.  I had a toy Batmobile and watched Batman on TV.  The “real” Batman — the one with Adam West.  This was so good.  So good.  As a kid, I was fired up enough to “become batman” right after the show  — during the closing credits and the Hefti Theme tune — I would spring from couches and punch invisible baddies… “pow!” and “Ker-pa-ow!”.

[Picture of Julie Newmar in catwoman costume]Then entered CATWOMAN. Uh-oh. Holy…

It was Julie Newmar! What a costume!  What movement, what a face, what a waist, what…

I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  It was true enchantment.  And even today I think of Julie Newmar as a platonic ideal.

The thing is that back when they made the Batman TV series, it was in the mid 1960s, which means that Julie played Catwoman, in her early 30s.  She was tall at 1.8 m, and she only weighed 66 kg (a BMI of just 20.3), but she was curvy, oh boy, was she curvy — an amazing 96-58-96 figure; they just don’t make ’em like that anymore!

I still find her captivating and hypnotic when I come across Batman reruns with her as Catwoman.

What a real woman!

[Picture of Jukie Newman in underwear] [Picture of Jukie Newmar dancing]

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PATRICK NAGEL

2009-06-10

[Nagel Picture]It is marvellous when you can confidently spot a style in art, when you can say something is impressionist, mannerist, cubist, Dada and so forth.

It is even more splendid when you can confidently spot the work of an artist, the signature style, that which makes whatever this artist has produced so tied to the artist’s name.

Patrick Nagel is such an artist; you can spot a Nagel from miles away!

Nagel Picture]He is so specific, so Nagel. Like so many others before him, Nagel seemed to me to be influenced by Japanese prints created by woodblock carvings.  But what defined his personal style was, I think, blending this with an Art Deco feel to create something unique and new.

[Picture of a geisha face]The result is a very stylistic image, usually of a young woman, a bit like an over-exposed or bleached out photograph, in an Art Deco graphic setting, with the result somehow a modern Japanese white-painted geisha.

[Picture of Duran Duran's Rio by Nagel]I came to Nagel, like so many others, through his work for Playboy Magazine in the early 1980s.  I remember being so excited when I first saw someone carrying a copy of the Rio LP by Duran Duran because the cover art was clearly done by Patrick Nagel. There was no mistaking the stray black hairs, the graphic lines, that limited and strange set of colours that launched a million 1980’s bedspreads.

[Nagel Picture]At that time, just before his death in 1984, Nagel was everywhere — his style was relentlessly copied for beauty salon posters, manicurist and hair dresser sales material, so he certainly would have been a great influence on the art and culture of the New Romantics and other post-punk, 1980s social groups. I know a lot of guys who had to produce stuff like this for a living.  Nagel was the primary artist of that period; he summed up that sassy Lady Di and leotard era.

His heavily stylised female forms were somehow very feminine, perhaps because they were vague and idealised.  I admire Nagel for having his own instantly recognisable style, but — at the same time — this means that something can be too Nagelish, and therefore his style can actually be something to avoid. In this respect he is similar to Jimi Hendrix or Charles Rennie Macintosh.

[Nagel Picture for grunewald art school] [Nagel Picture]

Anyway, whenever I see one of Nagel’s girls, I am immediately transported back to those fertile and creative years, oh, so long ago now…

[Nagel Picture]

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ED PASCHKE

2009-05-03

Picture of painting by Paschke - Jackie-o]I like to paint on a canvas.  Why not? It’s fun. That is until the critics arrive (and everyone’s a critic)!

I guess the good thing about giving painting a go is that it provides an insight into what “proper” full-time fine artists have to put up with from the general public, art critics, and the press.

“What’s that supposed to be?”

“It’s a boat”

“It doesn’t look much like a boat to me!”

***

“What is it?”

“It’s an abstract boat”

“Ah, well I bet a 4-year old could do better!”

***

I admire painters for putting up with this, and I appreciate it must be hard from within as well; the artist is his own strictest critic.

From comparison with peers, to trying to reach for the original, the special, the personal unique signature style… the artist is ever striving, constantly in flux.

[Picture of painting by Paschke - Gestapo]It is perhaps only once there is a lifetime body of work to appraise as a whole, that an artist can be truly seen as a major personality.

This is what I think of the great Ed Paschke. Sure, each piece is of itself, and stands alone as such, but (I think), and this seems to me to be especially true of Paschke, looking at a number of these big oil paintings in the same room, gallery, website or whatever, teases out something else; en masse, the works assault the senses.  Just look at those colours!

Picture of painting by Paschke - Espiritule]This guy is an absolute genius, and a massive influence on the art world.  His work is immediately striking as individual and different, and that is an achievement by itself. There is a slight hint of Warhol in the coloured photograph or screen-print effect, but this is more, much more, this is a style.  This is a darker side, the bondage, gimp art.  It is Batman’s Joker, it is Marilyn Manson, it looks computer generated somehow.  There’s white noise, TV-like bands and lines, neon, and day-glo — so it is work firmly of this modern time and place, yet so other-worldly!  Cheerful in colour terms, but creepy.  With Ed it’s one juxtaposition after another.

I would have loved to have been around to hear the criticisms, boy would they have been off-the-wall.

embedded video:

Anyway, I LOVE Ed Paschke because he gives me nightmares, he scares me.  I would fret and be unable to sleep in a room (or a house) that has one of his paintings on show. Brilliant!

Do yourself a favour, check out a Google Image Search:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&um=1&sa=1&q=Ed+Paschke&btnG=Search+Images&aq=f&oq=
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DAVID SHRIGLEY

2009-03-10

Shrigley has always entertained, always managed to make me laugh. Well, that is, ever since I saw an article on him in the Guardian back in 2005 or 2006.

[Picture of Shrigley's Ignore this building SECC Armadillo]He’s got a funny website, funnily enough called www.davidshrigley.com. And funnily enough, he lives and works in Glasgow and declares himself to be a Glasgow Artist, even though he’s fay Macclesfield.

Fair enough; after all he did go to the school of art. He does wee cartoons for the Guardian, and he’s responsible for Jason Mraz’s latest album being called after one of his pieces: “We sing. We Dance. We Steal Things”.

[Picture of David Shrigley Art Please don not return] [Picture of David Shrigley Art - Beach with wee faces]

Sure, you can always argue about “what is art” and “What art ought to be” — and maybe Dave’s stuff is not art.  Maybe it is. Maybe it is called art because there is no better word, or because art is a catchall word for this sort of thing these days.

But for me, whatever Dave does, it is interesting, thought-provoking, unusual, enlightening, mischievous, fun, funny, and very entertaining.  To draw wee faces on pebbles on the beach, or to put up notices may seem childish or affected, but it’s less pretentious then most other art today, and too good to be dismissed as merely childish.  Too mature to be immatute — if you take my meaning.  It’s one level past that at least.

Anyway, enjoy Dave Shrigley (what else can you do with him?).

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THE KISS

2008-12-22

[Brassy, rectangular repro of The Kiss by Klimt]Gustav Klimt’s most famous work has to be  “The Kiss”. The first weird thing about this work is that it is square, but it is almost always reproduced rectangularly — and in a variety of garish colours!

Klimt used oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, and did the work around about 1907.  As I said, it is square, but it is also massive, 1800mm each side.  This means that the figures are slightly larger than life size, and the action (the kiss) is slightly above the viewer’s eye level.  It is a shimmering golden thing — and not at all yellow, brassy or as garish as some reproductions would suggest.

[Picture of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt]

For it’s sheer size, the detail is extraordinary, and together with the gold leaf, one cannot help but to draw comparisons with Cimabue.

Yet it is not a religious work, though it uses much of that language and culture.  It is not a classical work, yet it reminds one of Roman mosaics. There is the pagan or Greek flower garlands in the hair, he seems southern European while she seems northern (a redhead with pale skin). Somehow, though, it is still “modern” while being Celtic and having a tribal primitiveness about it. Heck, it even reminds one of the Pre-Raphaelites!

It is far too big to be considered a domestic or private work — therefore it must always have been intended as a large public work of art — but, not being religious or classical, it could only have been intended for the gallery or the corporate foyer.

For being called “The Kiss”, the depiction is such a small percentage of the whole, in fact there is very little flesh on display, very little humanity.  It is an awkward composition, a strange pose, but somehow this painting works.

This is not a violent act, an act of dominance or submission, even though she is kneeling and barefooted.  Her arm around his neck tells that story. This is not the kiss of a relative, a greeting or bidding by a friend or acquaintance.  This is the kiss of a lover — even though it is not on the lips or neck; the hands give that away —  but is it a farewell?  It is parting for ever or for a short while?  Is it, on the other hand the prelude to delicious intimacy?  I personally do not believe that this is an allegorical depiction of betrayal, death or sickness; it is too seductively golden. I once thought it may be of Violetta, that she is sick and dying.  This is the thing with this work — it is difficult to determine from the clues of the background and surrounds.  Is her extremely randomly patterned dress worn off the shoulder, or is this a moment captured — dressing or undressing? I guess Klimt wanted all this to remain a personal interpretation, an ambivalence. I like that one can change one’s mind over the years.

You can make out his robe, the belt banding and his sleeve, but there does seem to be a strange halo surrounding them both that cannot be explained in terms of clothing or fabric, even though it has swirly patterns. The base patterns can be a blanket or a meadow — but the surround seems to be grainy sand. Is it all down to flattened perspectives?

It is memorable, it is remarkable.  It shines, and reflects light onto the faces of the viewers standing in front of its majesty.  This is not a painting as much as an experience.  It lives on after seeing it, burned into the eyes.  It leaves a taste — a trace, a kiss.

It may or may not be typical of the artist, it may or may not have a story or hidden meaning — but none of that matters; the work can stand iconically and recognisably on its own.  Once seen, never forgotten, just like a first kiss, and like the wrapped, golden embrace, it is always a warm and welcome memory.  Wonderful.

I first came across this work in my teens (it was a poster on a girlfriend’s bedroom wall), and I initially didn’t like it; it was too flat, too much, too unbalanced and shapeless, but I recognised it immediately as being of itself, a thing with an identity and personality of its own apart from the artist and its contexts, and that drew me back to it again and again over the years. It’s sui generis. I see it now as the massive golden light source it was intended to be (as opposed to the teatowel or jigsaw puzzle reproduction)! This must really be something to be at in the flesh, what an experience.

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WEEGEE

2008-12-05

Who’s Weegee?

Well, for me, Weegee is the name I kept coming across in my photography books in the 1970s, then later in album covers and book jackets in the early 1990s.

Weegee was an artist — a photographer — based in New York, USA. I later found out that he was born in Poland as Arthur Fellig, and that he died in 1968. But all that’s unimportant. It’s his pictures that matter, that’s all.

[Photography by weegee called 'coney island']I came to Weegee through a picture I found hilarious and fascinating at the same time. It is known as “Coney island” and is just a massive crowd of people at the beach on a hot summer’s day.

It is rude to stare, but this photograph allowed close inspection of everything and anything that caught your attention — a voyeur’s pleasure! Every time I looked at it, I would see something new.  I appreciated that Weegee had climbed to some high vantage point, and I understood the irony of having a “sea” of people at the beach.  I am glad this is not in colour; black and white is what allows things to be seen that otherwise would go unnoticed.  One would need to be Diane Arbus to make this sort of thing work in colour!

[Picture of George Michael Album Cover 'Listen without prejudice vol1']George Michael’s  album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 (1990, Sony), was clearly influenced by Weegee’s  “Coney Island” — in fact I thought it was Weegee’s!

You see, that’s the thing about Weegee: he influenced so many, and his stuff crops up in the most unlikely places.  For example, his “Hell’s Kitchen” was used as an album sleeve by saxophonist John Zorn for Naked City on the Warner label (also, strangely, from 1990).

[Photograph by weegee 'Hell's kitchen']

Now, I can’t say that I like “Hell’s Kitchen”; it is a crime scene of murder weapon and victim — not the nicest of subjects! However, Weegee makes such gory situations interesting by then turning his camera onto the crowd of onlookers and passers-by — and we get LEVELS of voyeurism!  We are voyeuristically looking at what a voyeuristic photojournalist sees when looking at crime scene voyeurs! This is “Their First Murder”:

Their First Murder]

OK, I will give you that the label, the title, is important; it makes you look at the picture again — and more critically, but I think that without knowing they were looking at a homicide crime scene, the picture is still fabulous.

There are so many pictures of Weegee’s that I could go on and on about here.  Go search them out, or buy a book (you won’t be disappointed). The point I am making is that Weegee was the first photojournalist that struck me, and these were the first of his pictures I noticed.

This was “news”, but it was not snaps of of celebrities, politicians or sportsmen, just real people (warts and all). They are stark, and uncompromising, and at times describe how low life can get, and how ugly people can be, and what ugly things people do.  Weegee was the first to take this approach, he worked very hard, and while his pictures may be envied, no-one would envy Weegee’s working life on the cold, hard streets of the Naked City!

Note that Weegee’s book was called “Naked City” — and this inspired the TV show and so forth!

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