Dots, Damien, Dylan and Diversity in Art

The real art critic lives up there in that link to the NY Times art page, and in this instance is writing snottily about Damien Hirst as successful Dot entrepreneur (Many, many millions of dollars worth of successful entrepreneurship, see above article)

The pretend critic writes the rest.

I am writing about Damien Hirst because he had agreed to be in the IMPRESS Printmaking Festival in the area of Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. Below is what Damien exhibited at the Pangolin Foundry (where he has stuff cast) and Gallery:

The Gallery published this (below) exclusive limited edtion etching of Hirst's working drawing for “Away From The Flock” , one of his celebrated controversial works. Presumably the title refers to the artist himself. One could make a lot of guesses related to that basic proposition, that Damien Hirst does not run with the herd…Though some would call him a Black Sheep because he makes too much money as a living artist for the Art Establishment's liking. Those art critics and gallerists like their art revolutionaries tame and eating out of their hands, I think. And they love it when you stuggle financially and reputation-wise so that you have to co-depend on them…

Hirst's thousands of “Dot” paintings (reviewed above in the NY Times ) are interesting enough in an “art studio exercise” way. Hirst's assistants were instructed to paint dots but with no repeated colours. Spaces between were equal to the size of the dots. Different canvases had different sized dots but all dots on a canvas were the same size.

Now here again is my grandson Dylan's “Dots” art:

I drew a link between Damien's Dots and Dylan's. When Dylan was learning his first words around the age of 15 months, he enjoyed looking at the red portulaca flowers in my front garden. He would touch them and kiss them. I would say “flower” and he would say the word back, toddler-style. Summer passed as did the portulaca. One winter day, some months later when the sun was low in the sky, a shaft of sunlight passed through a piece of red stained glass hanging in the living room window. A patch of red light fell on the wood floor. “Flower”, said Dylan. I thought of Monet who said when he painted nature, he looked not for a flower (for example) but for the patches of colour that made up the flower as assigned by the light – over which Monet had no control. Can we look at Damien's dots and see them as patches of colour, formalized, to be sure, assigned to their precise place on a canvas by an assistant not by nature? Either way, the artist gives up control.

Here are more art works of many kinds encountered on that trip:

Chihuly at the V & A

Jane Henriques at IMPRESS: “Pounce!” This elemental piece is full of vitality. ( No fox hunting allowed by hounds anymore in the Cotswolds, BTW)

I took this photo through the glass of the Thames tour boat. Did you think it might be a Canoletto?

Modern stained glass in Bristol Cathedral. Many of its windows were destoyed in the Nazi bombing of ports during the 1939- 45 war.

A much-loved naughty painting on a wall downtown by Bristol-boy, Banksy.

Porcelain bells sculpture by….? Sorry I have lost the reference (if you know…)

Examples of famous British liturgical textile art. One of many kneelers needlepointed for the Lady Chapel with scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – an embroidered-cushion rosary.

The Cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, venue for the keynote “IMPRESS” exhibit “Red Ink” that dealt with slavery and human freedom as the overall theme

Floor tiles in Gloucester Cathedral

Another Damien Hirst work , this one at the Tate Britain. Ash tray on a table with a pack of cigarettes, inside a large glass case.

Kurt Schwitters, father of collage, at the Tate Britain. Schwitters used a precise formula for placing his scraps to make the collage. He deemed all materials of equal value in the making of an art work, and that it was therefore possible to combine any elements for artistic purposes. No more the primacy of paint, said Schwitters. In this respect, his thinking is in line with Damien Hirst's who further asserted that it was the complicity between artist and viewer that led to a work's designation as “art”. If each agreed that faith was required…

Next, there is Turner (at the Tate Britain) My favourite artist, really

And some close ups of his canvases, below

From IMPRESS again:

Terence Millington, member of the Gloucestershire Printmakers Collective, exhibitor at IMPRESS and frequent contibutor to books about painting and printing.

The Ottawa Gatineau Printmakers Connective exhibit at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester. Clockwise from the left on the poster: Leigh Archibald, Lynda Turner, Mary Baranowski Lowden

My Artist Book “Botanica: New World Scroll 1” with Clamshell Case by Shlomo Feldberg. At the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

Still Life With Wellies ( My photo at the door of the barn)

At Arabella's Barn Gallery near Stroud (IMPRESS venue)

Low tide on the Thames near Saint Katherine's Dock, East London

Mouse Performance Art/Sculpture on our dishwasher. Performance staged while the Cats were away. Disgruntled mice with a huge sense of entitlement ate through the pump of the dishwasher in search of possible food lodged there. Additional performance, with sound effects, when dishwater drained onto Husband in his basement workshop…

After the flood, we wanted to make a sculpture like the one above (shown at IMPRESS), a la Schwitters, with our waterlogged art materials…

Goodbye, England. Until next time. (Photo taken from Thames boat)

Last post from the Cotswolds next time. About the plants and other country beauties



2 thoughts on “Dots, Damien, Dylan and Diversity in Art

  1. wow wendy a wonderful compendium of sights sounds– a collage of the Ottawa-Cotswolds-Ottawa experience loving the range and inclusiveness of your observations!

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