Whilst swimming through the seas of cute but meaningless zombie abstraction that fill the aisles of art fairs far and wide, I often yearn for a good, hard bit of figurative painting. So you can imagine my joy when I heard that my favourite Scot (next to Nicola Sturgeon of course), Michael Fullerton, was exhibiting at Carl Freedman Gallery. I immediately made a mental note to make an enquiry about the first item on this week’s wishlist, his screenprint Trade-Mark that is available from the Glasgow Print Studio for the princely sum of £540. This is a good buy even if I could have spent it buying three Betty dresses from Sturgeon’s favourite boutique, Totty Rocks for that sum.
Staying with that figurative vibe I have also got my eye on the lithograph by Luc Tuymans that’s coming up at the Edition Sale at Phillips on 11 June. Der Diagnostische Blick V (The Diagnostic View V) is the endearing title our favourite Belgian (aside from the legendary collector, Belgian Phil that is) coined for this startling work, which comes with the estimate £1,500 to £2,000 which I intend to hang opposite our Editor’s Konstantin Grcic Traffic chaise longue so he can feel he’s getting a ‘Lacanian hour’ for free.
Third on my wish-list is Go Figure! New Perspectives on Guston, edited by Peter Benson Miller and one of my favourite, be-hatted curators, Robert Storr. There are lots of serious contributors in there including Chuck Close and Achille Bonito Oliva pondering over Guston’s momentous shift from abstraction to the figuarative in 1970, although I doubt any of them will better Adrian Searle’s almost haiku-like description of Guston’s work from his Guardian review back in 2004: 'A kettle steams, a burger waits for a hand to lift it to the mouth. It is still waiting.' That’s when art criticism was proper.
Meanwhile at Wilkinson Gallery over in the depths of Vyner Street in East London, George Shaw is showing a set of his intensely realistic paintings of Midland’s suburbia, all done in that weird paint that young lads used to smear on their model aeroplanes. His marvellously titled Fuck You Fuck Me Tree one colour lithograph is available from Hole Editions for £500, and I’d certainly like to lash the still-dashing Mr. Anthony Wilkinson to one of George’s trees (with permission from Amanda Wilkinson of course). And then I’ll repeatedly chant the Antonio Gramsci epigraph that Benjamin Buchloh chose for his magisterial essay ‘Figures of Authority, Ciphers of Regression: Notes on the Return of Representation in European Painting’: 'The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear', Anthony!
Online exclusive published 4 June 2015