Reading Group

Whoever heard of


Black Artist? Britain’s

hidden ArtHistory

24 April 2019


The One hour film is a  a journey to discover artists of colour reveals how the art establishment has made them invisible Recognising the achievement of all artist ( bringing out the artworks of black and Asian decent visible. The movie reveals the astonishing collection of art buried in the storage storage at the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in Bradford which was never seen of works by British artists of African and Asian descent.

Sonia Boynce spends 3 years to uncover the stories, and discovered fas more works than thought In the archives of 30 collections.

The film opens with archive footage of a group of artists in the 1980s discussing the denial of their very existence. “I was told by my lecturers that there was no such thing as black art”.

Watching the movie the reading group led to discuss many successful artists who contributed in this history of black artist in Britain such as :

Anthea McNish- the first successful black female artist in Britain. he is as fabulous as her mid-century textiles, which were snapped up by Liberty, Balenciaga and Dior. She recalls visiting wheat fields for her signature piece, Golden Harvest (1959), inspired by the sugar cane fields.

Frank Bowling – Mirror 1986

Isquare) , he says , how despite been living in Britain for year he has always been mentioned a pakistani whereas other migrant citizens of British art were describes as ( Brit, German, French).

Li Yaan Chia from China called as father of Chinese attraction made his own museum at an isolated remote place called “ LYN Museum”, Lyn used to work with locale communities with no support from council museum. There is a point at which neglect goes beyond making you angry; it makes you sad. “It’s stunning … but really remote,” says Boyce, beginning to cry after seeing his museum which is now a ruin, all cracked windows and warped LYC signage lying in the rubble. 

 It is upsetting to me  to watch and realize when such artists way to success is only through struggles and more struggle to even make their presence felt in the British Art culture at that period.


In the film artist Rasheen Araeem describes his recent years in London British art market aggressively hopeless as he said how many time he has been rejected and how he felt threatened when galleries relied to him “ only show English artists works”

His work is geometrically minimal, he make political art.


Other key members include :

Donald Rodnes, Mane Smith, Keith Diper.

Yinka Shonibare - work,"Dalhouse"

Shilpa Kumari Burman 

Hurvin Andreson - barber shop painting, it is a work of echo of self organisation and Nostaligia.

It was quite evident that black artists work was Raw, angry, Destructive, showing protest. This makes me realize  why an artist cannot be just called by his/ her name , why there has been labels such by his racial identity, gender or place he comes from. I would always agree and would like to believe that the color of anybody skin has nothing to do with race — it’s a byproduct of adaptation.

However, by the 90s, the overtly political work of the Black Arts Movement was out and artists such as Chris Ofili, Anish Kapoor and Steve McQueen were in: mainstream, commercial and not necessarily, or solely, framing themselves as black or Asian. This opened up a space for artists of colour, but it was also a time when it became unfashionable to mention race at all.

Moreover, Lubaina Himid, who came up through the Black Arts Movement, became the first black woman to win the Turner prize in 2017. She said to get visible and to make her space in the art world, she would dig into her work , paint and keep fighting to get out of it. 

This is an never ending topic and further raises question - is hiding an artist identity makes things easier or does a painting can stand by its own without any label of an artist name.

Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery

Reading group

20 February 2019

On Engaging Images by Merlin James


Talking about emergence of literary criticism , Practical criticism.

The reading group session discussion focused around fundamental ideas of criticism in art school . The question raised  is does art criticism be constructed by  looking at something on what the work is all about removing the thought of who the artist is.

The answer to this question is in the current view on criticism that is; ideas of research came in as a dominance in art world and that is how it depends on how one look at the art works. Interpretative analysis and aesthetical judgments dominated the discourse of art criticism for a long period of time, and art criticism has been an inevitable part of contemporary art dynamics. The criticism has an important role in developing and deepening the work of artists, but also in helping viewers perceive, and interpret works of art.

In criticism each little detail is considered and thought about.


How to deal with different views and perception in your own work?

I feel In terms of criticism’s role in connecting a work of art to viewers  discourse, there is always a need for more and more varied perspectives on this relationship. Thus, the art world always needs more art critics. In the vast range of art that we’re fed in a culture obsessed with galleries and a staggering volume of copied  art, the critic’s task should be  to identify what is good. The evaluation of works of art and the feedback to the artistic creation can help artists to sum up their experience of creation and constantly improve themselves. While in the past art criticism’s main focus was quality control, today, a good art critic must also be mindful of educating the viwer,  promoting discussion and persuading the audience to engage in the art.

There are many artists examples of amazing works where criticism has hugly impacted the artist practice : such as

The current exhibition of Pierre Bonnard interiors at Tate modern , for a movement some critics found it as a boring subject matter but what how Bonnard dealt with such limited subject matter of showing his interior world showing the most intimate place in his house is immensely appreciated. His paintings were  criticised because of his figures in the works  are very hit-and-miss, sometimes crude and absurd; sometimes the distortions seem terrific, The exhibition takes us from 1900 to Bonnard’s death in 1947, and it feels as if we have been here all that time. Tate wants us to slow down to really look, absorbing the colour, the light, the atmosphere.


Another big example is oh Venice Underwater show by “Damien Hirst”

The exhibition that launched a thousand angry tweets lives on—on Netflix. The slickly produced film—full of sweeping underwater shots was financed by the artist himself.  the film suggests the show was the debut presentation of long-lost treasure discovered by a team of archaeologists and divers off the coast of east Africa. If the comments section on Netflix is any indication, the film appears to be just as divisive as the exhibition itself. “Don’t be fooled—it is not a documentary,” one commentator wrote. “I want my 90 minutes back,” wrote another. Some critics said the show is undoubtedly the most expensive artistic flop in living memory.

Damein Hirst film “Treasures from the wreak of the unbelievable"



Histories of Painting - Lecture

Monday 14 January 2pm - by  Zoe Mendelson

The Room, a psychological trip through lived-in spaces from a stolen Vermeer to an abandoned flat in Vauxhall 



The talk was focused on the journey of painting spatial space particularly dealing with interiors and the psychology attached to them via showing references to artists from Johannes Vermeer period till today. Zoe elaborates her understanding of interiors as an architectural phenomenology where values of intimacy is understood. Also decoding the concept of painting with a painting with a painting that was very relevant in history and is again on trend.

Note : Book- “The poetics of space” &

                         "T.J. Clark : the paintings of modern art", basis in the art of Manet and his followers.

I was able to make a lot of sense of the examples she gave, or at least it’s relevance to the rest of the discussion in relation to my own understanding of interior space.

In any case, she bought out the main theme by focusing on Vermeer paintings ; The Music Lesson, Primarily, Vermeer focused on realistic subjects, as evident in most of his paintings. Although There is a lot of discussion even today of attempting to flesh out or lack sense of any narratives in any of his works since his main purpose was to give people that opportunity to focus on the present moment and let a story evolve in the mind of the viewer. The takeaway through this is the interesting way of making geometrical drawings plan of the interior paintings. There is a intercultural evidence regarding Vermeer's interest in orients design and textile, from the accurately observed mirror oriental carpets and curtain portraiture in many of his work such as in “the concert”. Continuing Berthe Morisot “ the cradle” shows questions and answers me how maternity can be read in an image of a home beside Walter Sickert “ ENNUI “ versions of painting states and supported by art critiques that the mood is all important in a painting. Being a Feminist as she stated , Zoe stressed upon how appreciating it is to see a male artist; Pierre Bonard focusing on domestic interiors and woman for a large amount of time and these are so relevant today in discussions upon feminism and equality.

Example: Bathtub 1925, nude in the bath, 1925

The lecture proceeded on deploying artist sources of modern till today time, in which Zoe offered close reading of several examples intended to demonstrate  domesticity , interiors , objects in home tell stories portraying a house as a tool of machine where space psychology reflects different emotions within us and the artists who has painted interiors in their career.

Reading Group

With Geraint Evans

15 November 2018

Text by Robert Storr –‘ October 18 1977’ Chapter III: The paintings

And by Anthony Downey : ‘Terrorism , Torture and the spectacle of images’


Gerhard Richter October 18, 1977

Richter Atlas Collection

The text massively surrounds artists Gerhard Richter  15 paintings in series titled October 18. 1977. He painted the prisoners of Red Army force; Meinshof, Bader, Enslim incidents when they were arrested, shot, hanged or dead compromising the cycle depicting such  different subjects. Looking to these paintings are grey toned, smoothen out the images into blurriness and diffused he states “I blur to make everything equal, everything equally important and equally unimportant.” As the artist refers the imagery that has been invariably committed to collective memory, it is assumed to easily identify the subjects despite heavy blurring obscuring the immediate connection to the RAF.

We have also assumed this “fuzzy” focus is a one way of depicting memory and a way of adding the sense of anxiety among the viewers but it also has an ironic edge since many of Richter’s images are appropriated from the media. Collecting images since the beginning of his career, Richter has compiled thousands of photographs into a vast archive that includes personal and family pictures, all exhibited together under the title Atlas. What is also interesting to read is the artists has never answered of given his strong opinion as if it feels he might have struggled with the idea of memory , sympathy and horror. To which I agree when he justify or meant approximately by saying - its also about the fact that we can’t simply discard or forget a story like that, we must try to find

a way of dealing with it, also a product of trial, error and elimination. Thus using photographs to emphasis the relation to reality it appears that he created a distance by treating images in a decidedly painterly manner and not naming the events  in question. Therefore leaving the judgement all over  to the viewers interpretation.

His collective photographs  are ordered by their formal qualities – colour-gradations, shapes and angles – rather than thematically, which sets up a visual taxonomy by their juxtaposition with the others.   

Elaborating how a painting and a painting derived through photographs are  different while I think that painting could open up into its history and experimental layers and a space to interpret a different universe via it does not bind our thought similar to one another rather separates us categorically while photographs reduces that leveller  to interpret that space beyond a limit.

While it is contradictory to see his separate strand of thoughts to what he has painted. The thought of idea generating  theme, ideology into form. Form is a play of colour, and empty aesthetics that  generates content which gets manipulated therefore there is nothing else but only form.

The New York Magazine article link

The other text concerned about was on the attack on the world trade center and the penthouse on 11 September 2001 have resulted in a profoundly politicized discussion about terror and terrorism  which has formed a major world discussion today. Dialogue upon on how use of terror images by global media reveal a deeper worry about how we perceive the political aspect of terror and terrorism and how it has reflected in few artists, literatures etc  works.


One example of this is  “ SEPTEMBER, 2005 by  Gerhard Richter painting made in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center of 11 September 2001 demonstrates how vital painting and its readings can be for engaging with the complexities of major events in the world today.

Gerhard Richter Video Link on September

Talking about the  the same concern; The mass media’s has  power to impact public perception and the degree to which people are exposed to media representations makes the media a medium; one of the most significant influences in developed societies. For better or worse, the media shapes our ideas and ways in which we understand those around us. Newspapers, radio, and television programs broadcast the news 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to avoid bad news and the negative influence. Psychologists have also noted that this exposure to graphic violence, and to negative media can either cause an over-sensitization, where we become more sensitive and pessimistic or can lead to desensitization, in which we are actually numb to the effects of violence.

Dead, 1988

Man Shot down, 1988

Arrest 1, 1988

Reading group 

With Geraint Evans

 1 November 2018

How the world came in

Text by, Achim Hochdörfer


The text given is from a painting show catalogue in 2016. The conversation was centred upon idea of painting medium opening doors to other mediums, painting as a gestural material in relation to our new digital world and what is happening in society to its association with painting.

What did initiated in the group; In history (mostly after late 19 century) painting has been linked to the fates of the subject and meant as the singular privileged medium within creative world to self-assurance.  To which lending up an example of Piero Manzoni in 1960 who interestingly describes his piece of art “when I blow up the balloons I am breathing my soul into an object that becomes eternal” I believe after perceiving the growing economy and its effects on commercialization of art Market that has become untrustworthy, Manzoni had targeted to express his own Breath as his own inspiration subsequently made it his artistic marketing.

While Yve- Alian Bois describes this growing commercial scenario to growing media- specify  has narrowed the deliberate action to free art from its contamination by form of capital exchanges.

NOTE:  Painting Crisis runs parallel to Subject Crisis

Moreover, due to consolidation of art criticism into two camps where in  1960,s art critics were given choices between maintain the integral image of dissolving it into other art form such as sculpture film, minimalism etc has distorted ours views on painting who ultimately did not follow any of these paths, thus, marks my question being as a viewer and perception on Manzoni arts of self-assurance. Although despite being Contaminated by social Information and views , the expressive marks such as Manzoni has most attracted mostly when there was a technological boom and social media revolution along with critique stimulus such as in present time. Since 1960 this opened its ability to other alliances with other artistic media beyond just on canvas.


A long chat conversed around when talking about to the context of painting expansion to other art sectors, the text gives a  great example of the artist Robert Rauschenberg’s Silkscreen Paintings produced in 1962 called “Barge”, a grey scale 30 foot wide panting portraying images of sports, technology, art, nature, architecture and media.











This painting showed template for increasing use of contemporary mediums and methodology to showcase everyday life thought painting. The response to this large scale work is that it appeals flexibility and enabled mobility to the eyes and the body which changes the perspective even demonstrated how they become interactively cross referential in our perception as viewers. Thus providing a new path to other artists using large size surface.

It is understood that this transition into contemporary era took place between abstract expressionism – pop art, I am estimating it was the time when painting was undermined into these five divisions ground, frame, process, concept, subject matter.

In turn art world broadened into making art political and digital. Giving examples of work like German painter Jörg Immendorff , 1966 "Stop painting"--are smeared over an impulsively crossed-out bed, with Beuys's signature hat hung on the bedpost and gestural diagonal lines over object similarly came down to “painting against painting”. I find it as an expression to form unease at a painting and taking a stand of uncertainty itself also here the symbolism of  ‘X’ n stop painting symbolizes interchangeability of extremes and painting constant alteration in self destruction, assertation and potentiality.

Other interesting example was of ‘where do you stand with your work colleagues?” 1976 work , here I see in the composition a painter sitting against easel, political activist barge from the wide open door, view of strike workers and a factory smoking chimney, a finger pointing to the painter and also to the extension towards the viewer. This explains painting as an activity and painting drives integrity with politics every day.

The broadening politicization was ignored by art criticism also and interpret as exit from painting to development beyond painting rules. But the two camps art criticism contaminated by expressionist powering way to neo expressionism in 1980’s. at peak. While symbols, motifs, themes are regarded as passe by critique. However all revolved and celebrated as modernism to the  contemporary art today.

Artist's Breath consists of the remnants of a red balloon tied to a piece of string on which there are two lead seals. These elements are attached to a wooden base to which is also affixed a small metal plaque bearing the artist's name and the title of the work: