Painting from withinside the head

In my last missive I warbled on pseudo-stylee about ethereal connections between Ian Chapell and staccato dance and ready positions. Extraordinary – as David Coleman might have said – given my visceral nature. Today I am ready to move on to further, similarly abstracted considerations relating to art. Because – unbelievably – not only is bowlingatvincent fluent in ECB Coaching Directives, he is genetically predisposed to appreciate yer Miro and yer Vincent ; and wishes to share these things with you.

So bowlingatvincent will roam, sometimes dangerously over diverse terrain.
today where I’m pitching up – doctor who-like, though perhaps in a yurt aromatically muggy in (phworr!) a frankincense stylee – is in the over-populated midfield ‘twixt art and theory. Or does it feel more like the trenches? And the thrust of what is emerging is perched upon the following gambit: that everything beautiful now gets painted from withinside the head.

Simon Schama knows this and I gladly refer to him as an inspiration and a teacher. In particular his understanding of the searing magnificence of revolutionary art, for him and me the exhilarating pinnacle of human possibility. What I don’t know is… does he like cricket? But this is irrelevant. Unlike the notion that art’s power is lashed, Simon says, to the exercise of invincible boldness and i.n.s.p.i.r.a.t.i.o.n. – a phenomenon that may be independent of ‘traditional’ painting skills; that may piss all over any sense of the literal, the figurative as god. Because it sails beyond, it pierces existing possibilities, re-defining the wonderful.

I paraphrase, atmospherically, but if you are in any way attracted still to the notion that figurative art is highest and best, classical and irrefutable, you need to get real. And get a life. An abstracted one, a theoretical one, an emotional one; one where you feel the colour of natural human experience and you don’t have to recognise its shape.

On the mighty Vinny’s journey to greatness and excruciating revolutionary triumph, he made the Potato Eaters. It’s a sensational picture in which his workaday (one might say prosaic) appreciation of working peasants is described thus

I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish and so it speaks of manual labour and how they have honestly earned their food.

But the picture smoulders darkly – brownly! – with a radical philosophical intent. And it looks like it speaks; a new level of sympathy, of understanding, having being spawned in the moment of choosing feeling before verisimilitude; or rather developing verisimilitude into a newer, richer realness. Van Gogh was making himself – had made himself -a great draughtsman – but the perspectives being dismembered here are (the existing) linear views of art and perception itself. The painting is that important, that wonderful. And I am close to tears every time I read that which I quote above.

Cleverly, I’ve proggled the ear of your half-interest with a rather unchallenging picture. It’s after all relatively figurative; any moron can see what it’s about. There are figures. But greater challenges lie ahead.                 June 25thth 2011.

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