The art of Neil Dallas Brown, 1938–2003

brown3.jpg

Apocalypse (Homage to Tangerine Dream) (1981).

It’s not every day you find a painting dedicated to the doyens of German electronica. This and other works by Scottish artist Neil Douglas Brown are in public galleries in Britain which means they’re also online at the BBC’s Your Paintings site. The pictures that combine nebulous figures, blank backgrounds and lines/arrows show an obvious Francis Bacon influence but that’s no bad thing, and Brown isn’t the only artist to explore this territory. There’s more of his work at the official website.

brown1.jpg

The Indictment (1976–77).

brown2.jpg

Fallen Man (1977).

Polaroids

polaroid1.jpg

I was given a Polaroid Instant Camera some years ago, not the cult SX-70, a later model. I still have it somewhere but never used it very much. The film cartridges were still available in shops, but at around £1 a shot Polaroids always seemed like a costly indulgence unless you had some specific use for them which I never did. The photo of Murnau’s Nosferatu was taken from a TV screen, and seems to be the only print I kept.

krims.jpg

Radiation Victim Holding a Rabbit and Carrot (1974) by Les Krims.

This post was prompted by a search for the Polaroid manipulations made by Les Krims in the 1970s. Krims was one of the first people (the first?) to exploit the potential of the print’s slow processing to create surreal and grotesque images. Krims self-published a collection of these as Fictcryptokrimsographs in 1975. The Francis Bacon-like “radiation victim” is one of the more restrained examples, many of the others being male and female nudes in various stages of mutation.

gabriel1.jpg

Peter Gabriel (1980).

The mutation technique was more famously employed by the Hipgnosis design team and Peter Gabriel for the cover art of Gabriel’s third album. (Americans insist on calling this album “Melt” even though it was never titled as such.) The technique was also used for photos on the inner sleeve and on two of the single releases.

gabriel2.jpg

No Self Control (1980). Front and back sleeve of 7-inch single.

gabriel3.jpg

steadman.jpg

William Burroughs by Ralph Steadman.

Also in 1980, Ralph Steadman says discovered the same technique while on holiday in Turkey. I recall him discussing his own manipulations, which he calls “Paranoids”, on TV around this time. There’s no indication that Steadman was aware of Krims or the Gabriel album but he’s continued to use the technique ever since. The Burroughs portrait was one of a series created in 1995 when Steadman paid a visit to Lawrence, Kansas. There’s film of the meeting here although I’m more interested in the older TV film on the same page which shows Steadman creating a new composite portrait by drawing onto the emulsion.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Portrait

Weekend links 235

shadows.jpg

Shadows (1974) by Pawel Nolbert & Lukasz Murgrabia, one of three images recreating Francis Bacon’s Triptych–August 1972.

Breaking the Code (1996), a BBC film by Herbert Wise based on Hugh Whitemore’s stage play about Alan Turing. Wise’s film has been linked here before but it’s relevant again thanks to the release of The Imitation Game. Derek Jacobi played Turing on stage and screen, and Whitemore’s script managed to deal with Turing’s life and work without insulting the man or the intelligence of its audience.

• “…if you listen to A Beacon From Mars by Kaleidoscope or if you listen to some Turkish taxim then something starts happening.” Robert Plant talking to Julian Marszalek about the music that excites him.

• “CGI has become wearingly dull and clichéd. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?” asks Jonathan Romney.

The cult of the Thirty-Seven Nats is unique to Burma. […] The junta’s attempts to subdue nat worship had an unintended effect: the role of the nat wife was embraced by an already marginalized group. Homosexuality is illegal in Burma and has been since its British colonizers instituted a late-nineteenth-century ban on “intercourse against the order of nature”. Government restrictions opened a professional vacuum, says scholar Tamara C. Ho. Becoming a nat kadaw offered the achauk—a Burmese term for gay and transgender men—both “a vocation and queer visibility”.

After the Green Death by Will Boast

• “Cat memes and other frivolities aren’t the work of an Internet culture. They’re the work of an American one, ” says Caitlin Dewey.

• Hear the cavernous reverb of Berlin’s Kraftwerk captured by Emptyset’s James Ginzburg and Yair Elazar Glotman.

• Take part in the first #psychedelicpride photoshoot in central London on Saturday, December 13th.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 470 by Jonny Trunk who also appears in the list of vinyl hoarders below.

• Queer Noise: Abigail Ward on the history of LGBT music and club culture in Manchester.

More photos of the steampunk exhibition at 751 D-Park, Beijing, China.

A chronological list of synth scores & soundtracks.

• Animated photography by Julien Douvier.

• A Third Ear Band archive at SoundCloud.

The secret lives of vinyl hoarders.

Taxim (1968) by Kaleidoscope | Water (1970) by Third Ear Band | Love Is The Devil (1998) by Ryuichi Sakamoto

The Dream Machine

dreamachine1.jpg

This is a 35-minute anthology film from 1986 with a very painterly, poetic (for want of a better term) quality of a kind I’ve not seen for some time in queer cinema. The reasons for this can be debated at greater length than I care to attempt, but it’s notable that a feature of the work of Derek Jarman—one of the featured directors—was an approach that was always happy to dispense with naturalism and the aping of familiar film and television narratives. In place of Jarman’s visionary approach we now have the “ordinary gay lives” of Weekend and Looking. This may satisfy those eager to see their own lives reflected on the screen but I’m usually expecting more from my cinema than another mirror held up to mundane reality. (And a very circumscribed reality, at that.)

dreamachine2.jpg

The theme of The Dream Machine is Bryon Gysin’s hallucination-inducing artwork of the same name. Brief clips by Tim Burke of Gysin sat with eyes closed in front of his flickering cylinder form the connective tissue between sections by directors Jarman, Michael Kostiff, Cerith Wyn Evans, and John Maybury. We can take these as either the dreams of those behind the camera or perhaps the visions seen by Gysin behind his eyelids. Needless to say there’s a fair amount of naked male flesh on offer, presented in a matter-of-fact manner or as the embodiments of some personal symbolism. The film can be seen here in not very flattering quality. Both Cerith Wyn Evans and John Maybury started out as assistants on Jarman’s films. Wyn Evans appears briefly in Caravaggio (1986) but is now better known as an artist, while Maybury went on to direct another excellent artist biopic, Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998).

dreamachine3.jpg

Previously on { feuilleton }
Jarman (all this maddening beauty)
Sebastiane by Derek Jarman
A Journey to Avebury by Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman’s music videos
Derek Jarman’s Neutron
Mister Jarman, Mister Moore and Doctor Dee
The Tempest illustrated
In the Shadow of the Sun by Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman at the Serpentine
The Angelic Conversation
The life and work of Derek Jarman