Archive for May, 2010

Melt in the mouth Art (Food painting)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 31, 2010 by echostains

Just a very speedy post tonight if I want to get it on in time.  Yes, its’ the EclecticAsylumArt man again – this time speed painting with chocolate syrup using a spoon!  Is there any end to this artist’s ingenuity and talent?  So far we’ve seen him painting with MacDonalds ketchup, Vegemite on toast, cheesy puffs on velvet and mascara!  What next?


Art uncovered and recovered – Gideon Rubin

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED with tags , , on May 30, 2010 by echostains


I have just discovered the artist  Gideon Rubin.  His expressionistic art, does not rely of the facial features to put across mood or sentiment, he lets the body language speak for itself.  The artist uses subtle tones to convey mood and meaning into the blank expressions of the figures. 

Here’s a quote by the artist;- 

“Quickly scraping an old image and putting down a new one on top was my own way to express markings of time. I cover the canvas over and over again with an image observed or imagined. Focusing on tonal variations, applied on small or large canvases, my paintings seem to create a sense of gloom – a pale light that, far from being colorless, contains purple, orange, blue and crimson. I try to create an image embodied with mystery, like a deja vu, as if seen before; an image lost, much like a memory. ” (sweet-station) 


It is fascinating how we automatically fill in the ‘blanks’ of the faces, using our own emotions to interpret the body language.  I’m not sure how this works, or even if everyone interprets differently, but here’s my intepretation (for what it’s worth)  How much does it  differ from yours? 


The top image coveys to me contemplation, that the boy is concentrating his thoughts.  There is an air of seriousness about him, he isn’t smiling but he isn’t sad either – just thoughtful.  The second image seems expectant to me, like he is anticipating something, sitting back and waiting.    The third image is interesting because it shows a relationship between the two girls.  My thoughts are that these two are sisters.  The blonde girl is bolder than her dark sister, who holds her back protectively.  I get the feeling that the dark-haired one is frightened and perhaps more timid.  These are only my interpretations – it would be interesting to see others. 

  Lots of his portraits here in this excellent site 

more about this artist’s work here

Woollen Graffiti?

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on May 29, 2010 by echostains

Quite by chance I came across a new urban  art form.  It’s called  Yarn storming, It’s a  kind of woolly graffiti which is made by knitters to brighten up the streets last summer.  I’ve written about  the fabulous Christo and Jeanne Claude, the artists who wrapped buildings and places of interest, this isn’t quite in their league though…..  I can’t really see this taking off though and I would like to see the wool put to better use (keeping homeless people warm for example).  I wonder what happens to the yarn when it gets wet , which must be a daily hazard given our weather.  It must look soggily sad.  It’s not for me I’m afraid, though I applaud Knit the City Yarn Corps  artistic right to do it.  I wonder what you think though?

video by beagleskin

Spread the Art !

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , on May 28, 2010 by echostains

I came across yet another unusual art medium.  This artist uses vegemite and bread to create their art!  Nine pieces of bread and some vegemite, a butter knife and away you go – almost instant art.  When we are children we are told not to play with our food, but when we are adults – look what can happen when we do!

Perhaps the artist could have taken this further by taking a ‘print’ of the finished image by pressing a suitably sized piece of paper over it, or by translating this image into ceramic tiles!

Love the art, don’t mind the vegemite – don’t like the music.  two out of three is good though:)

art by EclecticAsylumArt

Art I LOVE – Jack Butler Yeats

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by echostains

Jack Butler Yeats

Jack  (John) Butler Yeats (b. 1871 – 1957  (London) was the brother of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats whose poem ‘He wishes for the cloths of Heaven’ I featured the other day.  Yeats started out as an illustrator usually depicting scenes of Ireland.   His style had elements of Romanticism but in 1920 his style became more Expressionistic.

jack butler-yeats Head of a man self portrait

Yeats was educated in Sligo Ireland but studied art at the Westminster school of Art under Frederick  Brown.  He worked in watercolour until 1905 when he started using oils on a regularly.   Sir Hugh Percy Lane who founded the Hugh Lane Art Gallery, Dublin commissioned Yeats to paint Distinguished Irish men.  He was very much influenced by the French Impressionists Masters in Lane’s collection.

jb yeats o connel bridge

Though not involved politically in the Irish republic movement, he began to paint urban and rural Irish life in a range of more varied colours and swapped the brush at times for other mark making tools.  His brushstrokes became swirling and free depicting vigour and freedom of expression.

Jack B Yeats The Singing Horseman

1920 was a turning point for Yeats, he turned  from illustration to symbolism in a much more Expressionistic style.   Yeats believed that the painter  must be part of the land and of the life he paints and this can be seen by his use of impasto and the vigorous swirling  strokes that he used to paint Ireland and Celtic mythology.

Death for Only One1937

He painted circus’s, horse racing, music Halls, rugged landscapes and Celtic mythology. 

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats

His painting became more nostalgic after his wife died in 1947.  He won a silver medal in 1924 for painting at the Tailteann Games. I can’t believe that some critics don’t rate Jack Butler Yeats as being relevent to Irish painting!  Luckily a retrospective of his paintings in 1971 revived his art and reputation.  He died in Dublin 1957.  He is an important artist in Irish Art’s history.

Glory to the brave singer jack butler-yeats 1950

 A short biography of the artist here

Images from here and here and here, here and here


Don’t forget to read my BlogSpot interview with Artistatexit0  here

Happy 10th Birthday Tate Modern!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions, LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by echostains

Tate Modern from the riverside

The month of May is nearly over and I cannot let it pass without wishing Tate Modern a Happy 10th Birthday.  I have been to the Tate Modern many times and seen quite a few exhibitions.  The Tate Modern galleries are built  in the space of Bankside Power station which closed in 1981 and the building was converted by Herzog and de Meuron: the contractors were Carillion.  It is a National Museum of International art.

Louise Bourgeois 'Maman'

In 2001 I remember seeing Maman the  gigantic spider of then 89-year-old French-born sculptress Louise Bourgeois.   The turbine hall is a colossal space  (five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace).  the spider 30 ft high and made of blackened stainless steel  carried 26 white marble eggs underneath her belly.  She towered over people who gazed up in awe.  Another exhibition I saw at the Tate was Katherina Fritsch (b. 1956 Germany) whose sculptures reflect fairytales and myths. I wrote a post about this exhibition here.  2001 was the year I saw the Turner Prize at Tate Britain – won by Martin Creed with his famous light  which turned on and off…… 

In 2002 Anish Kapoor’s  (b. India 1954) Marsyas was the star of the Turbine Hall.  150 meters long and 10 storeys high, this sculptural form was inspired by Titian’s 1576 painting ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’.  The Greek myth tells the tale of  Marsyas, a satyr who was flayed alive by the God Apollo because he played the flute better than the God.  This sculpture ran round the Turbine Hall. 


 I wondered what would happen if someone blew through this gigantic trumpet!

Marsyas by Anish Kapoor

I was also fortunate to see the Matisse Picasso exhibition that year which I greatly enjoyed.  The way the work was juxtaposed showed the playful rivalry between the pair, each one spurred on by the other to come up with new work, new visions.  I believe Picasso needed this and at the time Matisse was the one who could give him a run for his money.  I still have a souvenir cup of that exhibition and woe betide anyone who breaks it:)

flowing hair matisse and acrobat by picasso

In 2003 I saw an exhibition by sculptor Eva Hesse  (b 1936 – 1970 Germany) exhibition at the Tate Modern.  This artist worked with string, resin and latex in her sculptures. 

Eva Hesse

 I later incorporated  into my paintings.  Apart from this fact and the feeling that the work looked stranded in its environment, I can’t remember too much about it.

Among other exhibitions the Hogarth (2007) one really stands out.  I really like Paula Rego’s transcription of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode where the artist carries on the story of the ill-fated marriage in contemporary times.  I also chose Rego’s Snow White and her Stepmother to transcribe (see Transcription in my categories).  William Hogarth’s narrative painting fascinates me and I was very well versed in the story of the series Marriage a la Mode.  but I was amazed at just how small these paintings actually are! The details are quite astounding considering the scale of these paintings.

marriage a la mode the marriage settlement

Francis Bacon 2008 was an exhibition very much looked forward to by me.  He is a  favorite artist of mine.  We saw work there we had never seen before: works from private collections leased especially for the retrospective.  As usual the raw power of the paint rippled through the room giving the paintings a brooding presence.

Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X 1953 Bacon

 Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko had an exhibition in 2009.  We didn’t go.  A lot of people really vibrate to Rothko, but I find him very heavy and depressing.   I would have liked to have gone to Chris Offili’s exhibition this year, but we just didn’t have time.  In between Tate modern there are always other exhibitions on at Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the Barbican. 

Other important exhibitions I have been to in London include:-

Encounters 2000 National Gallery,

Frank Auerbach retrospective, The Royal Academy 2001,

 Lucien Freud retrospective,Tate Britain 2002, 

Desire unbound surrealism, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Andy Warhol retrospective, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Transition, 2002 Barbican Gallery,

  images from here here and here

Don’t forget my Blogspotlight interview here with artistatexit0

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Posted in POETRY with tags , , on May 25, 2010 by echostains

William_Butler_Yeats by John Singer Sargeant

It’s a beautiful day (again) and I’m not used to it, but it shall not stop me praising it (softly) in case it hears and goes away which happens so often with English weather.   So I’ve sunshine outside, – I look on Lesliepaints blog and what do I see but sunlit paintings bathed in light and my heart sings!

Bathed in sunlight, inspired by Leslie and  armed with inspiration  I think of this poem which I wish I’d written, but I know I never could even if  lived a thousand lifetimes.  It’s by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (brother of  artist Jack Butler Yeats who I shall be writing about very soon because I love his work  and the Yeats brothers are such interesting fellows).


He  wishes for the Cloths of heaven 
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…
William Butler Yeats

I’m aware that this isn’t really about a Summer’s day – but I’m quite unrepentant!  The day has brought it to mind.  I like the imageryof the Heavens embroidered cloth, which must mean the stars.  Butler Yeats does include all the lights though too;-

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,

And it’s these lights which inspire.  There are lights or certain kinds of light which we remember all our lives – especially the way the light touches and lights up our childhood.  These lights never fade or dim and always burn brightly in our memory.  Whilst our eyes may be failing these brightly lit memories shine.  Halcyon days!  We may be making one at this moment in time, though we will never know until tomorrow.

Poem from here
Lots of his poems here

Image from here




Dont forget to visit Artatexit0 and my interview with this artist here

The Big Ship Sails (from the Fourth plinth)

Posted in ART, DESIGN, exhibitions, PAST PLACES with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by echostains

SEPT 2009 a-merry-plinther-taking-the-air

I wrote a bit about Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project (One and Other) a while ago here and here.  The empty plinth in Trafalgar Square London  UK attracted a lot of criticism  at the time.  People who volunteered for this were chosen randomly and each allotted an hour to perform on the plinth (one very hour).   This lasted from  6th July – 14th October 2009 and lasted 100 days.   There were some stunning performances (and some best forgotten).

The plinth is now empty, but not for long, the work of UK artist Yinka Shonibare MBE whose work explores colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation will fill this space. Shonibare explores through the media of sculpture, film, painting and performance and installation. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004.  One of the main components of his work is his use of brightly coloured African fabrics which he buys from London markets.

Mr and Mrs Andrews without their heads by Yinka Shonibare

Among his pieces, Shonibare has also taken famous paintings and given them his own expression. Mr and Mrs Andrews without their heads (Gainsborough) is one example.  He has also recreated these paintings in carefully posed videos.  His work is multi layered and deserves a place of his own (which I will go into later)

Yinka Shonibare MBE and a small model of the ship

The Fourth Plinths latest tenant shall be ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ by Shonibare.  This is an exact replica of Nelson’s famous Flagship in The Battle of Trafalgar   HMS Victory with African looking fabric sails which are actually Dutch wax fabrics: these are significant to the artist’s work:-

 “The Dutch wax fabrics were originally Indonesian-influenced fabrics, known as batik. The Dutch tried the Indonesian market with industrially produced versions and then subsequently [when this failed to work] they turned to West Africa, where they’re now known as African textiles,” Shonibare explains. “It’s an apt metaphor for understanding that behind a fixed idea or stereotype there are other complex layers……” (rest of the interview here)

detail-of-shonibare-fabric the swing after Fragonard

 Shonibare hopes that people will want to engage with his art and debate about it.  I wish that I could have actuallyseen this piece but we were too early – it goes up tomorrow.  Perhaps later in the year we shall have another trip to London.  I shall definitely be taking photo’s of this if we do!

Excellent interview about this artist here
images from here and here and here

Don’t forget to read my Blog Spotlight interview with artist blogger artatexit0!

artistatexit0 blog