Responses: Albrecht Dürer’s St. Jerome (1521)

An old man is sat at a desk. His intelligence burns brightly above is head like a white halo as he writes in ink on a raised platform. His room is filled with things; measuring equipment and scientific apparatus, a skull, cushions, a lion, a dog and many books. The light from outside translates the designs of the glass windows onto the adjacent wall while … Continue reading Responses: Albrecht Dürer’s St. Jerome (1521)

Responses: Tacita Dean’s Berlin And The Artist (2012)

Chance played a huge role in the writing of Robert Walser. I can picture his slow meanderings around towns and valleys, spotting something that fires a brief need to write. I can see him getting excited by the way the sunlight reflects off a lake’s water in a certain way, by the fustiness of a suited man coming out of a bank, by a woman’s … Continue reading Responses: Tacita Dean’s Berlin And The Artist (2012)

Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

I first came across Cindy Sherman’s photographic series, Untitled Film Stills (1977), when looking for photos of film noir titles. The series is designed around fakery, seeking to recreate the feeling of stills from 1950s and 1960s American films but also, in producing the illusion with general key-notes as to the roles of women in these films, comment upon the basic norms prescribed in Hollywood … Continue reading Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1972) and Le Corbusier’s Transitional Pigments

Jean-Pierre Melville was the master of the drame azur; those strange, dark films, usually French, that contrasted such dramatic darkness with often very light visuals of a bluish hue. The light was still murky, creating bluish white-outs with cloud, fog, sea and other natural elements playing into the blurring of the image. But the drama was predominantly daytime, often making crime films especially seem refreshing … Continue reading Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1972) and Le Corbusier’s Transitional Pigments

Responses: Keith Arnatt’s Gardeners (1978-79)

In the late 1970s, Keith Arnatt embarked on an unusual series of photographs collected under the title of Gardeners (1978-79). In the years before, he had produced a similar series of works looking at dog walkers, such was the draw of the ordinary for the artist. Essentially, however, it is what Arnatt found in this seemingly everyday scenario that tapped into his usual sense of … Continue reading Responses: Keith Arnatt’s Gardeners (1978-79)

Still life in Margaret Tait’s My Room (1951)

I was walking through the National Gallery recently when I came across Jan Trek’s Still Life (1648) painting with its atmospheric rendering of ephemera. Within it sits a skull, some books, manuscripts, the helmet of a suit of armour and other such seemingly random objects. I had been thinking about similar paintings for some time, not least because several books of interest (specifically Robert Burton’s … Continue reading Still life in Margaret Tait’s My Room (1951)

Responses: Poems On Landscape And Melancholy (Volume 2)

Throughout 2017, I have continued with the responses form of article to works of art and other miscellanea.  Like last year, I found that a more interesting way to assess a piece of work was to not simply write an essay but to pair it with a poem; condensing the essence of the reading down into a basic selection of key notes, reactions and atmospheres.  … Continue reading Responses: Poems On Landscape And Melancholy (Volume 2)

Responses: Eileen Agar’s Butterfly Bride (1938)

“Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly.  I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi.” Looking at Eileen Agar’s Butterfly Bride (1938) is to look into the dreams of insects.  Or perhaps these are our dreams of insects, where our waking moments are … Continue reading Responses: Eileen Agar’s Butterfly Bride (1938)

Responses: Eric Ravilious’ Cerne Abbas Giant (1939)

A naked man lies on a Dorset hill whilst another is painting him, quickly.  Eric Ravilious is on a fleeting trip to just north of Dorchester and the war, already broken out, is on his mind.  He paints the man, the land around and the humanity of the hills, quickly.  The man is the Cerne Abbas Giant, a mysterious earthwork of a primitive man with … Continue reading Responses: Eric Ravilious’ Cerne Abbas Giant (1939)

Responses: Hole In The Sea (1969, 1970), Barry Flanagan

I have never seen Barry Flanagan’s short video piece, Hole In the Sea (1969), yet I’m not quite sure if I ever quite want to.  The short piece, filmed by Flanagan with Gerry Schum in Holland for a Land Art TV exhibition, currently exists in colour and in black & white, contained variously in the Pompidou archive in Paris and the Stedelick Museum in Amsterdam.  … Continue reading Responses: Hole In The Sea (1969, 1970), Barry Flanagan