Can't stop listening to The Beach Boys, summer must be on the way...
Friday, 30 April 2010
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Monday, 26 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
I went to the Tate today to see the Chris Ofili exhibition and was largely impressed, his paintings that chart the post-colonial black experience are bold, colourful, and often deliver powerful messages whilst still being concerned with the formal and material qualities of his mixed media approach (an early feature of his work was the use of elephant dung). Whilst meandering around before entering the exhibition I came across a room of paintings by an old favourite of mine, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, paintings which I had not realised had been on show. As well as inspiring a certain sense of awe of his beautiful use of paint, it got me thinking about one of his key concerns, that of 'art for art's sake'. It's true, art can have a message or a concept behind it, but at the end of the day is it not its sole purpose to be an object of aesthetic desire? Ofili's work, in my mind, addresses this dilemma, holding a mirror up to a certain part of society whilst still being beautifully and intricately crafted.
The Upper Room installation, a series of thirteen paintings installed in a purpse-built wooden 'chapel' is a perfect example of how Ofili's work is inherent in references and contexts - the thirteen paintings are based on a screen print by Andy Warhol of a monkey holding a chalice and their installation draws comparison wit the Rothko Chapel, placing them in a long line of painting tradition, yet also suggesting such religious connotations as the Last Supper and the Hindu god Hanuman - whilst at the same time being a shrine to the power of painting itself, reminding us that art needs not rely on the footnotes explaining every last shred of context in a desperate attempt for us to 'understand' it. For certain, these footnotes can exist, and it is important that a work of art is aware of and engages with the history it is a part of, but for it to stand alone in its own right is what makes it truly worthy.