A Matter of Life and Death (and Art): A version of art history in (a) film


Image: Ulay/Abramovic Rest Energy. Copyright the artists.

As we find ourselves advancing into the New Year and all of the promise/threat that this holds, I decided to take a slightly unorthodox approach to slicing-up art history through the lens of film. In fact it was the Michael Powell (no relation) and Emeric Pressburger film of (almost) the same name, that inspired me to want to gain some kind of insight into how art has wrestled with trying to express, Janus-like, the passing of time and its corollary concern with mortality. Of course any media-savvy type will tell you never to use the word ‘death’ in a movie or Internet article as it is an audience turn-off. Here we go then, death by misadventure…

The Art of Natural Intelligence: Looking askance at Antony Gormley

Gormley’s Bread Bed has become the stuff of legend (and staff of life, but essentially even then one cannot fail to be grabbed by the intimacy of his work; his extraordinary grasp of the visceral and aesthetic have made him the superstar he is today. Read on…


Antony Gormley, ‘Bed’ Courtesy and copyright Royal Academy of Arts/The-Artist 2019

Op ’til You Drop: Notes on Bridget Riley

When the name Bridget Riley (b.1931) arises in conversation, various epithets spring to mind; the (he)art of the swinging sixties, the doyen of Op, the arch orchestrator of opera Moiré, I could go on. For those who think that the works are decorative, then of course they are absolutely correct, but of course we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that their primary function is to decorate, which it clearly is not. Read on…


Bridget Riley Arrest 3 (1965) Copyright the artist/Karsten Schubert Gallery, London

Tess Jaray: A Life in Pictures

There is a certain irony attached to this brief text; why would a reviewer narrate the fleeting art fair stand display of an artist of such great longevity and of a lifetime filled with 6 decades of professional achievement? Well I propose the point that Tess Jaray is simply one of the few painters who continues to make indelible marks in both painterly and art historical terms, and what follows, is my attempt to qualify this assertion. Read on…


Monograph show of early paintings © Tess Jaray, 2019. All rights reserved. Courtesy Karsten Schubert

A Question of Aesthetics in the works of John Carter

The Royal Academician John Carter is one of those guys who seems to have been around forever, widely respected but really best known to the English painting/sculpture cognoscenti, rather than a figure of international populist appeal. Find out why timeliness in art can render works sublime – even if only momentarily. Read on…


John-Carter: Identical-Shapes-Green, 2018. Screen print 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Artist-and Redfern Gallery, London.