Monday, October 30, 2006

Leroy Clarke on the Jaye Q Show

Leroy Clarke was interviewed on the Jaye Q Show on Cable News Channel 3 (CNC3) on Monday October 30, 2006.

A few quotes from the interview:
  • You want to be free? – go look for a forest.
  • [About Jaye Q’s show] ... it’s a moment of stillness.
  • I want to be the sun, you want to be the sun, but all of us don’t make.
  • It is not easy to be yourself.
  • I’m getting older and probably seeing more clearly.
  • People need to stop planting confusion.
  • We must prepare more centres of quiet …there is too much babbling.
(I did a drawing during the show but decided not to post it.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quest on CNN

I've just finished watching "Quest" on CNN, though I missed some of it because of a thunderstorm. It turned out to be an hour-long program on modern art. There was an interview with David Hockney which showed some of the pieces in the current blockbuster retrospective of his portraits. Then a conversation with Rolf Harris, then a gap for the thunder, and when I turned on the TV again Quest was in Sotheby's, covering an auction in which a Peter Doig painting went over its estimate. Great stuff!

The show repeats today at 3 p.m., and tomorrow (Sunday) at 2 a.m. and 4 p.m. (our channel 37).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Drawing people from TV

East and West

Sometimes I try to draw moving people from the TV. Not only do the people move, the camera angles move too, so an actual image may be on screen for only a second, which is not enough. This is usually the case with movies, though I didn’t realize how often the camera angles change until I tried doing drawings. On the other hand, talk shows offer better opportunities. A head may remain on screen in approximately one position for a whole minute, and chances are the camera will come back to the same person before the show is over. The drawings tend to be unfinished, naturally, which doesn't bother me. I assume, perhaps wrongly, that the viewer will fill in the gaps from imagination, such as the back of the head of the man at right.

These two men were in the same talk show but were drawn at different times. Oddly, accidentally fetching up on the same page, a kind of tension emerges between them which expresses something of the fraught historical relationship between east and west.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Grande Riviere by Peter Doig

See the actual picture in colour

This is a scribble in ballpoint after a painting called Grande Rivière by Peter Doig. The real picture is at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Doig painted it in 2001-2002 from photographs and memory after a visit to Trinidad in 2000. The colour is quite vivid, approximating what the actual colours would be in nature but intensified and peculiar, especially the strange deep blue of the foreground water. Most striking to me are the dense background vegetation, the sickly ghostly coconut tree on the right about to keel over and die (its fronds have lost their spring and curl and are hanging straight down), and the dejected white pony at mid left surrounded by a flock of corbeaux (vultures). It’s not clear whether it’s day or night – what looks like a night sky at upper left could be more dense vegetation on a hill in the distance. To me the painting has a threatening feeling, reminding me of scenes from Conrad’s tropical short stories which usually ended tragically, with the tropical surroundings and people bringing out the main character’s fatal flaw. I’ve often felt that Conradian feeling in the Caroni swamp but not at Grande Rivière. But then I’ve only been there once.

It might be an ordinary landscape except for:

  • the size (about 7 feet by 12 feet)
  • the strange colour
  • the corbeaux, common in the area, which give the picture a spooky atmosphere, clustered as they are around the pony.

Compared to Neo Rauch’s paintings, in which everything is grossly weird and bizarre, Peter Doig’s piece is just a little off, just a little strange and disconcerting. I can’t say if I like it or not, but I find it intensely fascinating.

More about the painting and Peter Doig at the National Gallery of Canada website

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Denis Dutton in an essay called Aesthetic Universals:
"Aristotle regarded the visual and dramatic arts as naturally mimetic, in some manner representing something, whether in words, marble, or paint. He viewed the human interest in representations — pictures, drama, poetry, statues — as an innate tendency, and he was the first philosopher to attempt to argue, rather than simply assert, that this is the case: “For it is an instinct of human beings from childhood to engage in imitation (indeed, this distinguishes them from other animals: man is the most imitative of all, and it is through imitation that he develops his earliest understanding); and it is equally natural that everyone enjoys imitative objects. A common occurrence indicates this: we enjoy contemplating the most precise images of things whose actual sight is painful to us, such as forms of the vilest animals and of corpses” (Poetics 1448b). Aristotle’s frame of reference for generalizations was specific to ancient Greek culture, but it is impossible to dispute the claim that children everywhere play in imitation of their elders, each other, even animals and machines, and that such imaginative imitation appears to be a necessary, or at least normal, component in the enculturation of individuals. The other side of Aristotle’s mimetic naturalism holds that human beings everywhere enjoy to see and experience imitations, whether pictures, carvings, fictional narrative, or play-acting. For Aristotle, the child’s fascination with a doll’s house with its tiny kitchen and table settings is not to be reduced to a desire for adult power, but in its imitative play is based in the instinctive delight in representation as such. This pleasure, he argues, can be independent of the nature of the subject represented: that is why the sight of a large, black fly walking over ripe fruit might disgust us in the kitchen, but can be a source of delight in a meticulously painted seventeenth-century Dutch still-life."
See the whole essay.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Galvanize, Tessa Alexander

A view of part of Tessa Alexander's Progressive Blindness installation (video and paintings) at Eddie Bowen's studio, 25 Sydenham Avenue, St Ann's. Monday to Friday, 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday 11 am to 6 pm. For more information, contact the artist at (868) 745-6816.

Friday, October 6, 2006

BBC on the Turner prize

From this week's BBC collective website, on the Turner prize:
"It’s not necessarily true that half-baked art ends up in the prize’s annual show, but even for a lover of contemporary art it does seem to be a prize riddled with problems."
Read the whole article

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Grande Riviere 2

Pencil drawing of a crab in a marshy area with water hyacinth behind the cabins at the western end.