Shrills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches

I’ve never been a big fan of Hockney. I admire his eye for colour and his prodigious work rate. And I wish I could paint every day. So I went along to the retrospective of his work at Tate Britain on the opening day with limited expectations. I’d read Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian:  “Thrills contrast with the shrill“.  Searle believes Hockney was only any good really in the 1960s. I can see why he was popular in that period and how he became the poster boy for queer British art – sticking one up to the establishment. The artist equivalent of Joe Orton. But I’ve always been singularly unimpressed. And his transcendence into something of a national treasure fails to impress me too. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this retrospective spanning 60 years. I really enjoyed the riot of colours, textures, tones, and the mixture of abstraction and reality. Some of the canvasses really stood out for me. In room 1, I was most pleasantly surprised by “Rubber Ring Floating in a Swimming Pool” painted in 1971. It’s surprisingly abstract and striking. Room 2 is called “Demonstrations of Versatility” because that’s precisely what it does. I really liked the works…

Turner 2016 – About a Boy

I recently visited the Turner Prize 2016 at Tate Britain. There are 4 artists, 3 of them women (there’s that number 3 again!). It’s refreshing for women to be in the majority. So the odds are for a woman to win this year. I thought my choice would be a woman before I visited. I thought I would like Anthea Hamilton’s work the most. But I’ve changed my mind. My money is now on Michael Dean. Why the about face? Well I do like Anthea Hamilton’s work. It’s fresh and accessible. But ultimately it doesn’t move me. My thoughts aren’t provoked, my senses aren’t pricked. Yes I am amused but that’s not really what I seek from art. And I can’t help thinking that I’d like the brick suit much more if the bricks were painted on the suit rather than it being sewn from material printed with a brick pattern. I have no idea why that matters to me, but it does. The large mural of the London sky at 3pm on a sunny day in June is good but I don’t get the chastity belts hanging on chains. The big gold butt is also impressive but simply stirs…