Saturday, 26 February 2011

An occasional dose of culture. Paula Rego


In my opinion, Paula Rego is one of our greatest living artists. Rego  is a painter and print maker that is shamefully underrated. I have no idea why that is, maybe it is part of that current snobbery against skill, talent and figurative, narrative art; everything I love. For some reason Rego is usually told to go and sit quietly next to Frida Kahlo  and let the men make and talk about the serious, important art that sends critics into raptures but leaves the general public cold and confused!  Paula Rego was born in Portugal to an Anglophile father in 1935. As an only child she was indulged and encouraged by all the adults in her life. Her nanny fed her the myths and folktales, gossip and rhymes that she made such great use of when she grew up. She attended The Slade in the fifties where she met her husband, Victor Willing.

Baba Black Sheep

Three Blind Mice

Rego's work is colourful but creepily dark. She can imbue a work with such menace, but will still manage to inject humour at the same time. The Girl and dog series, the Abortion series and so on, all tell stories. Looking at one of her images is like watching a film. If I could choose a picture to own though (dream on!) it would be 'Pregnant Rabbit Telling Her Parents'. It makes me laugh every time I look at it, there is no need for an explanation, it is pretty obvious. Rego's etchings/aquatints are every bit as compelling. Rego is one artist whom I'd love to watch  painting, her studio looks like my idea of Disneyland, full of props and visual stimuli. One last thing, I'd love to be able to draw and paint hands and feet half as well as she does, look for yourself!

Pregnant Rabbit telling Her Parents

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

An occasional dose of culture. Rob Ryan's paper cutting.

Now there are two types of art lovers, those who have overly refined, snobby exclusive taste where art is elitist, inaccessible and hard work. I am proud to say that I don't by any means fall into this group, quite the opposite! I like art that touches something deep in me, that amazes me by it's prowess, that catches me by surprise. I don't care if it's 'craft' or 'illustration,' or 'crochet.' If it's the original expression of a creative mind then I will either respond to it or not. Some of my culture submissions have been criticized as being not cultured enough, so what the hell does that mean? And why should I care? I shall continue to post work that elicits a reaction in me and that compels me to share it with others, those who disapprove can by all means leave a comment, register their distaste or just go elsewhere.

Rob Ryan's studio
Now, to my featured artist, Rob Ryan. Ryan is a printmaking graduate from my alma mater the Royal College Of Art. His Paper cuttings vary from tiny to huge, they are intricate, wordy and fantastic. Each one starts as a pencil drawing that is cut out (usually by hand) then sprayed with colour. Some of them rather than cut become silkscreen prints. But however they are made, I think they are beautiful, and I think a lot of you would enjoy them. There is a book of his work available called 'This is for you' which displays his talent more fully than I can on this short post. I'd love to hear some opinions from you out there, you at the back...wake up and pay attention!

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