Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Vispo/ Concrete Poetry: Your Viewing Limits

Version 1, RTomens, 2017

.so what are your viewing limits? how much - is - too much?............

Version 2, RTomens, 2017

.....speaking to a Scottish artist outside the Renoir Cafe Kentish Town this morning we discuss people's reaction to abstract art............their stupidity in responding.....incomprehension..........thinking they could do it.................they couldn't....................

Version 3, RTomens, 2017

............someone passing by grabs his attention - he quickly sketches in his pad before sucking on a roll-up & we carry on talking about Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Warhol, money, success, Dada........

Monday, 20 February 2017

Digital Art: My Memories

RTomens, 2017

A new image made from this old image of mine...

...which may or may not have been used in Timglaset magazine...I can't remember...so you'll note the irony in the title, My Memories, which was not intentional. My memory has been tested recently in correspondence with an old friend from the 80s who tracked me down on Twitter and proved that his memory was in better working order than mine by recalling incidents I had long forgotten. Even his name meant nothing until he sent me a photo from those times. Naturally, I felt bad about that. But so much has happened since, including my return to making art, which I stopped doing some time in the 80s. Back then, I worked on paper, as you can see in these examples

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Digital Collage: Bored

RTomens, 2017

Here's another piece of digital art. Not Fine Art. Digital art. I was not ored when making it. It's quite possible to be bored when making art although should you feel that way it's time to stop but don't stop for long because soon you'll be excited (or at least content) by a new idea. Thee, that's my Art Advice/wisdom (huh-huh) for the day. Thank you for looking. Thank you for existing. I hope you're not bored. Goodbye.

digital collage, digital art, comic book art

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Monday, 13 February 2017

Concrete Poetry, Fluxus & The Situationists at Tate Britain

£4.75 for a piece of cake?! I ask you. That's Tate Britain's cafe for you. Very bourgeois and so, naturally, such prices reflect and, I might say, symbolise what's wrong not only with that cafe but the art world in general which, as you'll be aware, especially if you're British and particularly conscious of the class system, is overwhelmingly bourgeois, a situation which frequently prompts me to ponder, as I queue in the Tate members bar, no less, how many other members of the working class are in the room? 'So how come you're there?' I hear you ask. Because between us membership is affordable and it's a far cheaper way of seeing shows, specifically those one wishes to visit more than once, than not being a member. That aside, I confess, I'm terribly aspirational and wish to pass myself off as a member of the educated class rather than always eat or drink amongst my own who, on the whole, I am more likely to be able to extract a tooth from than a conversation about Robert Rauschenberg.

Task 1:
Go to a common cafe.
Ask everyone in there if they've seen the Rauschenberg show.
Repeat in a new cafe until someone says 'Yes'.

But we're not paying £4.75 for a piece of cake. Little did I know, however, that ten minutes after drinking a shared coffee (filtered, £2.50, over which LJ resumed her ongoing tirade against rip-off cafe prices whilst I smoked a roll-up, just to reaffirm my proper working class status) that we would be looking at what was to me a far more interesting exhibition than the Paul Nash one which lured us to Tate Britain in the first place...

...now, Paul Nash. Being members we thought 'Why not?' I was familiar with his war paintings, of course and was prepared to be impressed by his others. Indeed I was, especially one landscape, the name of which escapes me, but he had rendered the sea wall and beach quite geometric. Others left me cold. Looking at them, I found little to admire and even thought 'These could be landscape paintings by any competent Sunday artist of the time'. Perhaps that's a terrible thing to say; even ignorant. I don't care. The interiors I liked even less. I wasn't impressed by any supposed 'Surrealist' qualities. Move on...

...we entered the Unit One room and I was struck by a painting to our left - 'That's amazing!' It was Ben Nicholson's 1933 (milk and plain chocolate). Nicholson was a member of the group, Unit One. By this time I needed a coffee. Having had one, we happened to pass a room, the sign to which announced: THE NIMAI CHATTERJI COLLECTION OF 20TH CENTURY AVANT-GARDE DOCUMENTATION. The what? Well, let's have a look...

...Christ almighty! What's going on here? So, dear reader, began a journey through the archive of Nimai Chetterji, who happened to be in touch with most of the key players in the Concrete Poetry, Fluxus and Situationist movements during the 60s. I could hardly believe my eyes...

...Paul Nash was forgotten. I had found something much closer to my heart. These 'works of art', I thought, would not be held in high regard by most of the mob attending the Hockney and Nash shows. After all, there's little painting involved, nothing framed...a lot of print...what's the point? How could one possibly explain the brilliance of a Fluxus box? 

Best not to even try, or wonder how one would try. These are things one 'gets' or doesn't, just like Concrete Poetry. Whether subverting language or the art world generally, these movements represent part of the great gesture against all that is pompous and bourgeois about Art...

...new modes of expression, fresh pranks to play. And in the boxes on the wall across the room, along with some of Ed Ruscha's artist's books...

...watch out - here come The Situationists! There was even correspondence from Guy Debord to Chetterji, in French, unfortunately for me. By now I was mumbling incoherently, reduced to a child-like state of excitement. I had not seen many of these original documents. If you wish to see them, the exhibition is on until April 2 at Tate Britain. It's free too.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Collage: Dead Astronauts

Dead Astronauts, RTomens, 2013

I could sum up the future in one word, and that word is 'boring.' The future is going to be boring.
- J. G. Ballard

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Laws Of Détournement

RTomens, 2017

Vispo: Integral Visibility

Integral Visibility, RTomens, 2017

Until the spectacle itself has been negated, any audience watching the negation of the spectacle can no longer be distinguished from that suspect and unhappy audience consisting of isolated artists and intellectuals.
- The Use of Free Time, SI 1960

Monday, 6 February 2017

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Digital Art: Contents

Contents, RTomens, 2017
It started one way and ended up another - isn't that often the way when making art? If you absolutely know where you're going when starting a piece, good luck. Unless you're working from a photo or sketch, I suspect that for many visual artists the canvas (or screen) is a playing field and the 'game' evolves. Not that it's always as much fun as games should be.

Yet there's a deep pleasure, beneath the surface activity, which satisfies us, even if the activity itself is a challenge or problem. Sometimes there's a surprise ending, as was the case with Contents, even though I could see it coming after a while. The real surprise happened early on once the idea, the mind's eye picture, started taking shape.

A page containing the contents of a magazine. First it was obvious: do something with what was on the whole page (a mixture of images and text). But the appeal of the numbers marking each new set of contents took hold. They grew. I grew them, aware of the repeated pattern, also aware of their original intent; namely to direct you to the specific contents. But what if it became all direction and no content? The directions (numbers) themselves became more important.

The numbers used to tell people where to go. Now they stand alone. Are they now telling of what once was but can never be found? In this case, yes, unless you know the page. As such, to me, they represent signs but not directions. Perhaps we see them all the time in our lives and read them, but have no idea of how to act upon them. Or we just see them, unaware that they are telling us to go somewhere.

digital art, collage, digital collage