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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Jack Vettriano: Some Half Decent Pikchurs

I'd be sad if my thumb was that shape too.
So art is a thing apparently. With the painting and the putting things in things and giving it a completely inconsequential name. I've never really got it myself to be honest.

Damien Hirst's latest award-winning installation: "The Effervescent Tedium of a Calcified Pasty".
That said, there's this one painting I saw years ago that I always really liked. It was of two people in formal dress dancing on a windy beach with a maid and a butler. It's called "The Singing Butler", and it's the most famous painting by Fife-born artist Jack Vettriano; prints of it adorning many a dentist's waiting room from here to whatever country without cheap shopping centre art shops happens to be closest.

I - no, even I can't do this...
For whatever reason, I particularly like Vettriano's stuff. It's not hugely detailed, it's very accessible, and a large chunk of his pieces are actually influenced by pop culture, like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino. All of those things are apparently criticisms in the eyes of the art community, which just goes to show that either I should never go into a career in painting or that the art community are idiots.

So, while I was in Glasgow this weekend, I happened to be passing the Kelvingrove art gallery in the West End and who's work should happen to be on exhibit at the moment?

Damien Hirst's "28 Reasons I Have A Fleeting Animosity Towards Cravats", of course.
The chance to gawk at over a hundred (and one) paintings by the only artist I've ever had more than a mild interest in? And for three quid? Why not, eh.

I had a look at some of the other reviews by various art critics and such about the exhibition and they all go on about his painting style and something about narrative and *groan* *spurt* so I thought I should probably say something about the paintings too, but I'm not really an artsy fartsy type; I don't know how to express what I feel when I look at a Vettriano.

With that kept in mind I'll do my best by using one of Vettriano's paintings as a prime example of why I love his work. I'd not seen this one, along with about 80 of the others, before I went to the exhibit, but I would have to rank it as one of my favourites; it's called "Her Secret Life" and shows a woman talking at a payphone by the beach. See below for further details:

"-you should come visit some time; they've not had any sightings of Cthulhu for days."
It's a very simple painting with little detail beyond the woman and the phone-booth, but still manages to shove so much character into one picture. The enigmatic seriousness of the woman clashing with the nostalgic beauty of a beach promenade, complete with bright red bunting. Who is she? Why is she on her own at a place so synonymous with couples and families on a day out? Who is she talking to? What are they talking about? Why do I get the feeling that it's not an enjoyable conversation? So many questions!

The mystery of the painting's subject mixed with the dated fashion and nostalgic setting just seems to strike a chord with me, making for a thoroughly intriguing picture, and I just realised I've managed nearly two paragraphs without trying to make a bad joke; art is bad for me. I need my sarcastic wordplay.

Puns are the broccoli of the writing world.
And frankly, that's all I can really say about Vettriano's work. I whole-heartedly recommend you go to visit if you get the chance, just so you can make up your own mind about it; art is far too subjective to take the word of a rambling internet blogger/hobo as fact, that's what religion is for. The exhibit is on until 23rd February 2014 and you can usually find more information by following conveniently placed hyperlinks. If nothing else, you can at least take the opportunity to pick up a new coffee table book like I did.

Pictured: A piece of fine art and a Jack Vettriano book.

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