Sunday, October 23, 2011

Charlie Tyrrell Comes Clean at the RHA

A curious event at the RHA last Wednesday. The amiable Pat Murphy accompanied Charlie Tyrrell around his exhibition and discussed his influences and his methods of working. An unusual insight into the inner sanctum of an artist - and surprising that it came from the famously testy and rigorous Tyrrell.

While nobody was so crass as to mention the challenging nature of Tyrrell's severe abstraction, you did feel that Pat Murphy was struggling for a foothold when he pointed to a horizontal line on one piece and suggested that this could be seen as a horizon line and thus represent the influence of landscape on the work. To Tyrrell's credit he played down this influence - saying that while he "leaves the door open to landscape" he doesn't welcome it in. He did concede that it may subconsciously intrude. He also declared a passion for grey that is influenced by "the grey of West Cork in November". He eschews realism and declared that he is a believer in the "complete contrivance of painting". He also spoke of the importance of "absolute finish", getting it right, citing Titian as an exemplar. You can see this is his perfectly honed images and immaculately presented work - down to the well-crafted wooden boxes in which his aluminium pieces are delivered.

Tyrrell never uses brushes: he just "ploughs on the paint" and then scrapes it off with Japanese spatulas. He wants to break away from the notion of easel painting. Layering and scraping he uncovers his images. "There's a minimalist in me" he declares and cites Donald Judd as an influence. I wouldn't argue wit that - even his titles these days are minimal (C6.10 etc.).

Rancid Ruminations - October 2011

So the polls are saying Gallagher for president - how can such a thing be. He's a Fianna Fail-er for God's sake. It's the clearest possible indication that most people now see us as an economy rather than a nation. Give the creature a job in the Department of Enterprise - where his apparent entrepreneurial wizardry can be of use. It is irrelevant in the Aras. Higgins declaiming his poetry is a better fit.

The establishment campaign against McGuinness continues apace. I notice that chubby girl who writes fluff about her family in the Irish Times has joined in - see last Saturday's paper.

Interesting Rugby World Cup final. The southern hemisphere referee Joubert made sure that the hosts prevailed by leaving them unpenalized for gross offences (high tackles, offsides, handling on the ground etc.) while punishing France for lesser ones. Both sides were magnificent in defence and it could have gone either way.

I for one find unseemly all the crowing about Ghadaffi's death - especially considering the brutal manner of it. And do we really need to see all those appalling video clips on national television. The sick and prurient can gloat over them on YouTube.

You have to give the Israelis credit for at least being consistent in their judgements on the relative value of an Israeli and a Palestinian life. The swapping of Gilad Shalit for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners is the most dramatic statement of the perceived disparity in value.

It ill behoves us to take anything Gay Byrne says seriously but his recent ejaculation about RTE stars deserving their enormous salaries because of their lack of job security really bates Banagher. We are stuck with most of them for life: Pat, Ryan, Auntie Marian, Joe, even Gay himself until he retired (or did he?). The only way you lose your job there is if you die like Gerry Ryan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Presidential Farce

Who really cares - aside from the media and a few concerned fools in the political parties? I do believe that the general public's interest is being artificially stimulated by a media desperate for a story other than the continuing one about the deep economic shit we're in. And the bloody candidates, God protect us.

Dana: A faded pop singer with old-fashioned family values and strong religious beliefs. Light weight and ludicrous.

Gay Mitchell: A Fine Gael shill without an ounce of gravitas - and old-fashioned right-wing views. Even his own party have disowned him. It's now dawning on them that the vote they got in the General Election was a protest vote against Fianna Fail and not an indication of new Fine Gael loyalists.

David Norris: Please shut up. All bluster, bombast and bonhomie. I don't care about the pleading letters - loyalty and forgiveness are excellent qualities - it's his perpetual showing off and attention seeking I find tiresome.

Mary Davis: Those air-brushed posters, dear oh dear. She should have embraced her essential crone and we would have been more charmed. I'm sure she would make a presentable president but I remain suspicious of all those favours she got from Fianna Fail governments.

Sean Gallagher: All square-jawed testosterone and economic solutions. He'd make a great candidate for the Apprentice but not for president.

Michael D.: Sound as a bell on most issues. Is he a bit frail at this stage? He has the Irish and the poetic inclinations - a touch maybe of the Cearbhall Ó Dálaighs. And he may prove equally obdurate if matters of principle arise. Should win.

Martin McGuinness: The shadow of a gun man. He knows he can't win but he's a stalking horse for Sinn Fein's ambitions in the south and anything close to 20% of the vote will be seen as a huge success. He is also the only candidate who doesn't concur with the cosy economic consensus.