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michaelclarke18
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I don't know that its entirely fair to compare Spare to Picasso because their fundamental aims would have been so different. How would you compare Spare's attempts to communicate the mystical with say, Max Ernst?

I think one can compare, if one does it on the basis of a critique of the quality of the visual communication. Ernst, is probably a better example than Picasso, but I chose Weeping Woman, specifically because of the quality of the sensation that it communicates. This is what I find completely lacking in Spare's work - and it isn't as if he is dealing with a restrictive subject...it's just that he doesn't get very far with it, other than competent draftsmanship.

Ernst's work lacks the almost expressionist overtones that you get in some pieces from Synthetic Cubism. On the other hand he is striving toward similar aims as Spare.

Is that relevant? I prefer not to give anything labels but just judge a work on what is seen, and ocasionally, on what has attempted to be communicated.

The main point of similarity for me is they both seem to be concerned with the Sublime. Picasso on the other hand never seems concerned with the Sublime. Even "Guernica" with all it's overwhelming Horror is not trying to condense and communicate a mystical or esoteric state to the waking mind.

The real question then, is how well is the sensation of the sublime transmitted through the work? I would say that Ernst does it a lot better than Spare. And there are definitely aspects of the sublime in the work of Picasso; who also produced work depicting Satyrs, and particularly the Minotaur, throughout his career - I would say that some of those works have an aspect of an intention to communicate the sublime.... The point being that whilst Spare attempts to depict the sublime, a lot of Picasso's work is actually sublime - so I would say that Picasso work is far more successful, in transmitting the concept of ''sublime'' in that sense.

There is nothing "Cosmic" in cubism, it is merely seeking to redefine the parameters of painting while Surrealism and its estranged children seemed to treat the work as an aesthetic residue of a more profound experience. Rarely do you find the same emotional resonance you get with some other schools.

Don't forget that Surrealism was very influenced by Cubism and predates it by several years. Though, I think that it is possible to get that ''emotional resonance'' from works that have been created with a whole range of intents and purposes - though it may not always appear so, due to the tastes of the audience, who may prefer something rather less taxing and more obvious. I would place Spare in that latter category.

With regards to Spare's earlier work, it is definitely stronger but with the later Spare, I am constantly reminded of pulp illustrations from Woman's magazines of the 1950's.
I have a rare photograph of Spare, taken in his studio in the early 1950's with a number of pictures around him, which are especially poor - I can only hope they were destroyed after his death.


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 Anonymous
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Small OT, I apologize. I will be going to see both on the 15th and will check the Amalantrah lecture in Treadwell the da before. If anyone plans on going the same day, drop me a line!

I can't wait to see the exhibits and make myself an opinion and thus contribute to the post in a meaningful way.


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einDoppelganger
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
[quote...but I chose Weeping Woman, specifically because of the quality of the sensation that it communicates. This is what I find completely lacking in Spare's work - and it isn't as if he is dealing with a restrictive subject...it's just that he doesn't get very far with it, other than competent draftsmanship.

That is entirely subjective though. One can easily point to a Spare and say it communicates the same sensation. I can see basing a critique on the quality of draftsmanship or composition or the elegance of his color language. It is also difficult to compare the emotional response inspired by a weeping woman compared to the outre subject matter preferred by Spare. Thats why I see him as more than an Illustrator (a term I do not find to be pejorative) This isnt a Frazetta masterpiece of barbarians in snow or an expertly executed Rockwell scene from middle America. Spare is dealing with a difficult subject matter.

Is that relevant? I prefer not to give anything labels but just judge a work on what is seen, and ocasionally, on what has attempted to be communicated.

I believe it is. Ernst is a closer analog to Spare in terms of approach and intent. A lot of surrealism lacks the expressionist elements you get in Cubism. Expressionism plays on the emotions by design and Picasso was known for mixing the schools. I feel that expecting a Spare to inspire the same kind of emotions as a Picasso is difficult because they are different "veins" with different concerns and different intentions.

Would you fault a Futurist painting for not inspiring the same emotions as a Caspar David Friedrich? The former inspires passion while the latter inspires the horror of the sublime. On top of all this it must be noted that both of these reactions are highly colored by our contemporary perceptions and artistic historicity.

And there are definitely aspects of the sublime in the work of Picasso; who also produced work depicting Satyrs, and particularly the Minotaur, throughout his career

I don't think thats the same though. I don't think that depicting mythological characters qualifies for the sublime. That falls more into the realm of Symbolist indulgence (which I love). The sense of the sublime, in my opinion, comes from trying to deal with vast spiritual concepts and render them in aesthetic language. How does one communicate the experience of passing between worlds? I would think this qualifies as sublime. Now if you feel he fails at that depiction (which I think you do) thats fair enough. Personally I feel he is successful here and I feel like he communicates something unique in a compelling way.

Don't forget that Surrealism was very influenced by Cubism and predates it by several years.

Oh, of course! But my point is just that Cubism is part of the modern project's drive to be reductionist. The intention of rendering painting to its most basic tenants and stripping away anything else. Its what started with Manet and ended (in my humble opinion) with Ad Reinhardt. Surrealism on the other hand was not part of that long tradition of modernity's obsession with it's own extinction. It dealt with different themes, inspirations, and approaches entirely. Because of that difference the two schools and their associated artists tend to be concerned with different themes.

With regards to Spare's earlier work, it is definitely stronger but with the later Spare

Its funny I feel like Spare matured into a better artist. As much as I love his early books; I see far too much Beardsley in his early work to feel like he had fully found his voice. On the other hand his middle and later work is what I find the most interesting.

1950's with a number of pictures around him, which are especially poor - I can only hope they were destroyed after his death.

hahaha! fair enough 🙂 I do appreciate your reply and your honest and informed opinions. It is always nice to hear an unpopular opinion voiced especially when it is backed up with some interesting discussion!

Cheers!
Scott

PS I'm gonna go hide my art-wank now before I look pretentious... oh shit too late 😉


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christibrany
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:

with all due respect michael, there is an unfathomable gulf between spending years studying something academically and not just being naturally gifted at it, but also spending years DOING it.

like Bernard Shaw said, 'Those that can do, those that can't , teach.'

I would like to tell you that I was actually DOING it - I did not just study the theory; you obviously don't understand anything about how British art schools function. By the way, I don't teach, and have never taught.

The only time when I admired the work of AOS, when when I could not draw and my painting very, very limited. As one progresses in ones understanding, one realises what constitutes superficiality and ones tastes change.

thanks for the reply. 🙂
I have no reason to know how british art schools function seeing as I've never been to one. But I also am very glad you were actually learning the craft too.
I have met way too many snobby nosed academics who call themselves artists just because of some diploma who couldn't draw or paint their way out of a paper back here in the States and so thats why the degrees mean nothing to me.
But the fact that you actually did the work means a lot towards forming a more 'valid' viewpoint if you can say that.
Superficiality is also a subjective thing but I respect your opinion a bit more now.
thanks for the response 🙂


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michaelclarke18
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It is also difficult to compare the emotional response inspired by a weeping woman compared to the outre subject matter preferred by Spare. Thats why I see him as more than an Illustrator (a term I do not find to be pejorative) This isnt a Frazetta masterpiece of barbarians in snow or an expertly executed Rockwell scene from middle America. Spare is dealing with a difficult subject matter.

This is going over old ground for me, and I thought I had made this clear. Ok, I will recap; if we look at the Picasso picture, it's very clear that the woman is weeping. The visual devices that Picasso has used, communicate that experience well. Now Picasso, could have drawn - very accurately and academically - a nice delicate pencil sketch that shows a woman weeping. But, he chose not to; because that would have communicated a lot of other things; and what Picasso was really interested in, was communicating the fact that the woman is weeping - what it looks like and what it feels like. Anyone who has done any drawing or painting, would know that the more laboured or rigid a drawing or painting becomes - i.e. the more photographic - the more that almost all other qualities tend to disappear.

Getting back to Spare. Now, a lot of people talk about Spare being sublime, and ecstatic vision etc etc, but that is simply not what I see in his work - that is missing and, generally, no attempt is made to even communicate anything about it - just nice draftsmanship. Don't you find this a little odd?
I think it's because he isn't particularly critical of the materials he uses and generally fails to get the most out of them; you could say he is lazy and expects the subject to do all of the work for him.

A lot of surrealism lacks the expressionist elements you get in Cubism. Expressionism plays on the emotions by design and Picasso was known for mixing the schools.

A lot of surrealism is very, very expressive - look at Chagall - very surreal and very expressive. Look at Gorky, Matta there are quite a number of artists who used elements of surrealism as a vehicle for their expression.

I feel that expecting a Spare to inspire the same kind of emotions as a Picasso is difficult because they are different "veins" with different concerns and different intentions.

They aren't different veins at all. They are both artists who choose to communicate visually. I am looking critically at their work and looking at (1) what they are trying to communicate and (2) how they are communicating it and (3) judging them on that basis.

Would you fault a Futurist painting for not inspiring the same emotions as a Caspar David Friedrich? The former inspires passion while the latter inspires the horror of the sublime.

I am most certainly not advocating one type of emotion or sensation over another, I am just saying that Spare is more-or-less completely empty. A great Futurist painting may seek to give the user the experience of mechanical dynamism, a Caspar David Friedrich may offer the viewer the experience of the majesty of the landscape, or the vunerability of humanity within the landscape. They are deemed good or bad on the basis of the quaility of the experience.

I don't think that depicting mythological characters qualifies for the sublime.

An image can be sublime regardless of what is depicted. If you have ever been to any national collection in the UK, US, Paris or Italy you will know what I mean; unless of course, you are just talking about reproductions in books.....because they probably aren't.

The sense of the sublime, in my opinion, comes from trying to deal with vast spiritual concepts and render them in aesthetic language. How does one communicate the experience of passing between worlds? I would think this qualifies as sublime.

I think you have a very narrow definition of the sublime; it can be found all around us - one most certainly does not have to go to the trouble of ''passing between worlds'' to experience it. It could be witnessing an absolutely fantastic sunset - which may have a quality of passing between worlds.

Now if you feel he fails at that depiction (which I think you do) thats fair enough. Personally I feel he is successful here and I feel like he communicates something unique in a compelling way.

He fails because the visual experience he offers is very poor. He is lazy in that he is depending on the imagery to do all the work for him. He fails and the work fails; if you have ever seen the original work, that is.

But my point is just that Cubism is part of the modern project's drive to be reductionist. The intention of rendering painting to its most basic tenants and stripping away anything else.

The question of reduction in modern art is more a question of art criticism rather than an issue for the artists.


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einDoppelganger
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Thanks for the reply - I "get" your opinion and why you hold it. . No one should fault you for your take on Spare - like I said before its definitely an informed negative opinion! Thanks for the discussion!

Cheers!

Scott


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michaelclarke18
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Thanks. I just thought I would try to try and explain why I feel about his work the way I do - hopefully not too forthright. I actually prefer the paintings of Crowley, who may not be as good a draftsman, but his use of materials and especially colour I find more effective.

As I said in my pm, it's best to take this discussion offline as it's more related to modern art than Crowley.

Regards,


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 Anonymous
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Thanks so much to those that are sharing their impressions, I would just love to attend this exhibit in person. Hopefully someone will be so kind as to share experiences from the talks as well!


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 Anonymous
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I am most certainly not advocating one type of emotion or sensation over another, I am just saying that Spare is more-or-less completely empty.

For you perhaps, but not necessarily for others. And if we can imagine it, for an individual with no experience of women, or of them weeping, that piece by Picasso would seem completely empty too...

And on a brighter note, the exhibition at the Cuming is quite wonderful and a real achievement. Kudos to Stephen and his team in pulling it all together. The line-up of Zos self portraits (1910-1955) is worth the trip alone!

bazelek


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michaelclarke18
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For you perhaps, but not necessarily for others. And if we can imagine it, for an individual with no experience of women, or of them weeping, that piece by Picasso would seem completely empty too...

That is a very good point. I'm gay, and have absolutely no experience of women or of them weeping or almost anything. What I know about them, you can probably write on the back of a postage stamp.

But even for me, the Picasso picture is still visually very emotive.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
That is a very good point. I'm gay, and have absolutely no experience of women or of them weeping or almost anything. What I know about them, you can probably write on the back of a postage stamp.

But even for me, the Picasso picture is still visually very emotive.

Oh, sexuality aside, I think every person on earth has experience both of women and of sorrow... which is why Picasso's masterpiece speaks so clearly to so many.... but then, maybe you are not from earth? 😉


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michaelclarke18
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but then, maybe you are not from earth?

Damn - that's my cover blow.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:

It is also difficult to compare the emotional response inspired by a weeping woman compared to the outre subject matter preferred by Spare. Thats why I see him as more than an Illustrator (a term I do not find to be pejorative) This isnt a Frazetta masterpiece of barbarians in snow or an expertly executed Rockwell scene from middle America. Spare is dealing with a difficult subject matter.

This is going over old ground for me, and I thought I had made this clear. Ok, I will recap; if we look at the Picasso picture, it's very clear that the woman is weeping. The visual devices that Picasso has used, communicate that experience well. Now Picasso, could have drawn - very accurately and academically - a nice delicate pencil sketch that shows a woman weeping. But, he chose not to; because that would have communicated a lot of other things; and what Picasso was really interested in, was communicating the fact that the woman is weeping - what it looks like and what it feels like. Anyone who has done any drawing or painting, would know that the more laboured or rigid a drawing or painting becomes - i.e. the more photographic - the more that almost all other qualities tend to disappear.

Getting back to Spare. Now, a lot of people talk about Spare being sublime, and ecstatic vision etc etc, but that is simply not what I see in his work - that is missing and, generally, no attempt is made to even communicate anything about it - just nice draftsmanship. Don't you find this a little odd?
I think it's because he isn't particularly critical of the materials he uses and generally fails to get the most out of them; you could say he is lazy and expects the subject to do all of the work for him.

A lot of surrealism lacks the expressionist elements you get in Cubism. Expressionism plays on the emotions by design and Picasso was known for mixing the schools.

A lot of surrealism is very, very expressive - look at Chagall - very surreal and very expressive. Look at Gorky, Matta there are quite a number of artists who used elements of surrealism as a vehicle for their expression.

I feel that expecting a Spare to inspire the same kind of emotions as a Picasso is difficult because they are different "veins" with different concerns and different intentions.

They aren't different veins at all. They are both artists who choose to communicate visually. I am looking critically at their work and looking at (1) what they are trying to communicate and (2) how they are communicating it and (3) judging them on that basis.

Would you fault a Futurist painting for not inspiring the same emotions as a Caspar David Friedrich? The former inspires passion while the latter inspires the horror of the sublime.

I am most certainly not advocating one type of emotion or sensation over another, I am just saying that Spare is more-or-less completely empty. A great Futurist painting may seek to give the user the experience of mechanical dynamism, a Caspar David Friedrich may offer the viewer the experience of the majesty of the landscape, or the vunerability of humanity within the landscape. They are deemed good or bad on the basis of the quaility of the experience.

I don't think that depicting mythological characters qualifies for the sublime.

An image can be sublime regardless of what is depicted. If you have ever been to any national collection in the UK, US, Paris or Italy you will know what I mean; unless of course, you are just talking about reproductions in books.....because they probably aren't.

The sense of the sublime, in my opinion, comes from trying to deal with vast spiritual concepts and render them in aesthetic language. How does one communicate the experience of passing between worlds? I would think this qualifies as sublime.

I think you have a very narrow definition of the sublime; it can be found all around us - one most certainly does not have to go to the trouble of ''passing between worlds'' to experience it. It could be witnessing an absolutely fantastic sunset - which may have a quality of passing between worlds.

Now if you feel he fails at that depiction (which I think you do) thats fair enough. Personally I feel he is successful here and I feel like he communicates something unique in a compelling way.

He fails because the visual experience he offers is very poor. He is lazy in that he is depending on the imagery to do all the work for him. He fails and the work fails; if you have ever seen the original work, that is.

But my point is just that Cubism is part of the modern project's drive to be reductionist. The intention of rendering painting to its most basic tenants and stripping away anything else.

The question of reduction in modern art is more a question of art criticism rather than an issue for the artists.

We look forward very much to admiring, and critiquing, your own works, Michael. I'm sure they will prove to be not only better, but significantly more valid than Spare's in every way.

o


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 Anonymous
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You guys should check out some visionary artwork like Alex Grey, He's way better than Spare...IMHO!


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 Anonymous
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"aleatoric" wrote:
... He's way better than Spare...IMHO!

There's a lot of superb visionary artists in the world, both alive and dead; and guess what? - you're allowed to like any or indeed all of them!

What is this 'better' thing about? Taste is an entirely subjective preoccupation - there's no Richter Scale involved. Like The Chordettes are 'better than' Debussy....?

😀

o


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michaelclarke18
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We look forward very much to admiring, and critiquing, your own works, Michael. I'm sure they will prove to be not only better, but significantly more valid than Spare's in every way.

This isn't about my work, this is about the works of Austin Osman Spare

Taste is an entirely subjective preoccupation

Not necessarily, people are attracted to things for all sorts of different reasons - and some are far better at articluating & explaining ''why'' than offering a slightly crude analysis like ''taste''.


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Michael Staley
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Why should it be a "slightly crude analysis" to regard it as a matter of taste? Wht criteria do you consider supersede taste in this instance? Should I abandon "taste" in favour of majority opinion amongst doyens of the art world, for instance?

My main passions in life are magick and mysticism, and I have yet to come across an artist who articulates this as well as Spare. Earlier in this thread I instanced 'Background of Prescience', but there are many more. My contention is not that Spare is the greatest artist that the world has ever known, but that the work of no other artist that I have come across moves me in the way his work does. That may be a "slightly crude analysis" as far as you are concerned, but it will do for me. I

There is also the question of a common language. Many years ago I gave a short talk on Crowley, in the course of which I said that in my opinion works such as The Book of Lies and Liber Aleph were saturated with the insights of eastern mysticism as reflected by currents such as Taoism, Cha'an Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, etc. This view was challenged by a member of the audience, who said that she could detect no such current in the two works. Having no interest in eastern mysticism, it was hardly surprising that the resonances in the two works by Crowley had passed her by. Similarly, I have many times picked up a book and seen things there that simply weren't apparent the last time I read it.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Ariock
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"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Similarly, I have many times picked up a book and seen things there that simply weren't apparent the last time I read it.

I went 15 years between reading much of Grant's work, and have found some of the text speaks to me with higher clarity in recent reading. This was particularly true of Outside the Circles of Time. I read it again after your reprint and it seemed to be a different text to the extent that I had to pull out may old copy to compare. With Spare, Robert Ansell hit it on the head when he spoke of the qualities of ambiguity, incongruity and multiplicity Spare's art. Some of his works have a quality that things can seem to become apparent that you had not seen before, not in a matter of long times between viewing, but in the blink of an eye.


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michaelclarke18
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Why should it be a "slightly crude analysis" to regard it as a matter of taste? Wht criteria do you consider supersede taste in this instance? Should I abandon "taste" in favour of majority opinion amongst doyens of the art world, for instance?

I'm not actually saying that. All I am saying is that a majority of people - known to me - who are visually attracted to something, are very clear about why it is so. If it's just something that someone regards as just being ''to their taste'' then I regard that analysis as rather crude.

My main passions in life are magick and mysticism, and I have yet to come across an artist who articulates this as well as Spare. Earlier in this thread I instanced 'Background of Prescience', but there are many more. My contention is not that Spare is the greatest artist that the world has ever known, but that the work of no other artist that I have come across moves me in the way his work does. That may be a "slightly crude analysis" as far as you are concerned, but it will do for me. I

Spare used to be one of my favourite artists, but that was when my visual experience and knowledge of art was rather limited. There are other artists who I have found far more effective - and far less literal - at expressing some of the qualities that I originally found in the work of Spare. Sadly, I have found a good many people just stick to one thing - both in music and as well as in art - rather than risk being exposed to something that could be rather more demanding of them.

There is also the question of a common language. Many years ago I gave a short talk on Crowley, in the course of which I said that in my opinion works such as The Book of Lies and Liber Aleph were saturated with the insights of eastern mysticism as reflected by currents such as Taoism, Cha'an Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, etc. This view was challenged by a member of the audience, who said that she could detect no such current in the two works. Having no interest in eastern mysticism, it was hardly surprising that the resonances in the two works by Crowley had passed her by. Similarly, I have many times picked up a book and seen things there that simply weren't apparent the last time I read it.

I don't doubt that the perception of literature and other artworks change; and that these changes can be dependant upon the experience, and state of mind of the viewer etc...


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Spare used to be one of my favourite artists, but that was when my visual experience and knowledge of art was rather limited. There are other artists who I have found far more effective - and far less literal - at expressing some of the qualities that I originally found in the work of Spare. Sadly, I have found a good many people just stick to one thing - both in music and as well as in art - rather than risk being exposed to something that could be rather more demanding of them.

And I think the same may be said of opinions...

There is just one thing I think that needs to be cleared up here, as it seems a common misconception: Spare is highly respected by cognoscenti in the art world, both as a technician and a visionary, and always has been. Fellows artists, critics, dealers and curators continue to hold his work in extremely high regard, and even a short list of these is fairly impressive: P.G. Konody, Christopher Frayling, Brian Sewell and Gerald Reitlinger, to name a few. Spare is also represented in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Imperial War Museum, Wellcome Trust, Ashmolean, etc, etc.

I must say, I find the dismissal of Spare's work as 'literal' and 'illustrative' quite ironic given he was advocating experiencing 'art as sensation' nearly 25 years before Picasso produced 'Weeping Woman'... which I must say, as a theme is a pretty big target to hit. Show me a work by Picasso that communicates that fleeting and creeping sense of otherness born of a darkened corner and we can compare notes...

bazelek


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michaelclarke18
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And I think the same may be said of opinions...

It all depends on the logic that exists behind the opinion.

There is just one thing I think that needs to be cleared up here, as it seems a common misconception: Spare is highly respected by cognoscenti in the art world, both as a technician and a visionary, and always has been.

I regret that this has not been my experience.

I must say, I find the dismissal of Spare's work as 'literal' and 'illustrative' quite ironic given he was advocating experiencing 'art as sensation' nearly 25 years before Picasso produced 'Weeping Woman'...

In my view, Spare chose visual devices which weren't that compaitable with his goal.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
In my view, Spare chose visual devices which weren't that compaitable with his goal.

Just out of interest, where did you obtain your Masters?


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 Anonymous
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In my view, Spare chose visual devices which weren't that compaitable with his goal.

I think it's become clear that one of the great strengths of Spare's work (both during his life and during his death) is that it draws out people's prejudices like a magic magnet and exposes them to view.

The mirror metaphor of A Book of Satyrs seems quite as apposite now as it was in 1907.

😆
o


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michaelclarke18
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Just out of interest, where did you obtain your Masters?

My MA was from a London college, but to be honest, I don't really feel that this is relevant to this discussion.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
This isn't about my work, this is about the works of Austin Osman Spare

So coy. Come on Michael - show us yours! 😉

... people are attracted to things for all sorts of different reasons - and some are far better at articluating & explaining ''why'' than offering a slightly crude analysis like ''taste''.

Well, if they will insist on making aesthetic decisions (that's what 'taste' is) - or indeed any other kind - for anything other than purely subjective reasons, then they simply haven't enough dandyism in their makeup. And what sort of magicians would people like that make?

We will pray for their souls.

Best offer.

o


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 Anonymous
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I can understand if some find Spare's work difficult to "access". If however they then conclude that their inability to access it invalidates it in some way, one might refer them to the simple fact that they, by their own admission of inability to appreciate it, have disqualified their own judgement upon it, and should perhaps talk about something else.

As an artist (mostly until about fifteen years ago when I focussed on music, am swinging back slowly...) myself, I was always stunned by his glorious technique and searing vision, his bewitching lines and contours, and his utterly transcendent sense of colour.

That's just the art. Then you get the depth: his peculiar and unique brand of magic - something I, too, have had to wade into slowly and am still nowhere near as well-versed as I feel I ought to be or would like to be.

Thanks entirely to Kenneth Grant's writings on Spare I am beginning to feel gradually less "at a loss" with that side of his work - but my admiration for his searing talent as an artist alone, and as an Hermit of epic dimensions, knows no bounds. And that despite having myself an academic degree in fine art which deplored and devalued traditional skills and media such as those employed by Spare for his art.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
In my view, Spare chose visual devices which weren't that compaitable with his goal.

I am sure that were he with us in flesh today, he would appreciate your help in correcting these terrible mistakes, as you clearly know his goal as well as he did, and are better equipped to select the visual devices which he should use to achieve them.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
My MA was from a London college, but to be honest, I don't really feel that this is relevant to this discussion.

Oh really, so why did you mention it? 😉

Anyway, if you want to engage in a proper discussion about Spare's 'visual devices' and his 'goals' then I am up for that, but so far it seems that you've said nothing that can't be parsed from Wikipedia...


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michaelclarke18
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Oh really, so why did you mention it?

An earlier poster implied that I should admire Spare for no other reason than because Spare had a skill when it comes to art practice. I merely wished to demonstrate that I was acquainted with the study and practice of art in some small way.

Anyway, if you want to engage in a proper discussion about Spare's 'visual devices' and his 'goals' then I am up for that, but so far it seems that you've said nothing that can't be parsed from Wikipedia...

I don't actually look at Wikipedia, so I don't know what's there. I have just given a number of examples that I felt were relevant to the debate.

By the way, if anyone is interested, I would highly recommend the Gauguin exhibition, which is on at Tate Modern at the moment. Gauguin had a very special significance for Crowley - particularly during the Cefalu period - especially with regards to the use of colour and surface, though Crowley's work isn't as flat and makes greater use of perspective.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
An earlier poster implied that I should admire Spare for no other reason than because Spare had a skill when it comes to art practice. I merely wished to demonstrate that I was acquainted with the study and practice of art in some small way.

Well, I can confirm you've demonstrated you are acquainted with the study and practice of art in a small way... 😉

Seriously though Michael, you must appreciate your argument as presented is broad, cliched and lacks detail? Given your qualifications, I would have expected more I guess, but my offer of a proper debate still stands...

bazelek


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michaelclarke18
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Well, I can confirm you've demonstrated you are acquainted with the study and practice of art in a small way...

Seriously though Michael, you must appreciate your argument as presented is broad, cliched and lacks detail? Given your qualifications, I would have expected more I guess, but my offer of a proper debate still stands...

Thanks for the reply. But I feel I have made myself quite unpopular enough as it is, and have absolutely no intention of adding to that unpopularity. I think I have said quite enough, any additional energy, I think I will reserve for my own work.

My best,

Michael


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 Anonymous
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I went to the exhibition and enjoyed it very much.

[Sentence deleted by Moderator]


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Michael Staley
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"Fo-Hi" wrote:
I went to the exhibition and enjoyed it very much. [Sentence deleted by Moderator]

Which picture are you referring to, Fo-Hi?

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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[Post deleted by moderator.]


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
But I feel I have made myself quite unpopular enough as it is, and have absolutely no intention of adding to that unpopularity.

I'm all for espousing unpopular opinions : I also highly prize the unpopular opinions of others in themselves (it's one reason I enjoy Crowley so much 🙂 ) , for precisely the fact that they are unpopular, and therefore, rare. Thus they can often be a means to an improved and enriched perspective. So michaelclarke18, don't worry about that side of it, says I. Perhaps a little more patience - five years is, after all, not a very long period in which to study anything, let alone art, not with epochs of human art-making to assimilate - and certainly not esoteric art!

"oneiros" wrote:
Well, if they will insist on making aesthetic decisions (that's what 'taste' is) - or indeed any other kind - for anything other than purely subjective reasons, then they simply haven't enough dandyism in their makeup. And what sort of magicians would people like that make?

We will pray for their souls.

Sublimely said, sir! 8)


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Michael Staley
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Just a reminder that the next talk in the series at the Cuming Museum, running alongside their Spare exhibition, is this coming Saturday, 30th October, at 2pm. Robert Ansell will be speaking: “Betwixt Southwark and Mayfair: creativity and tension in the life and work of Austin Osman Spare”.

A reminder of the remaining talks scheduled, together with price and booking information, can be found at http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Article1397.phtm l"> http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Article1397.phtml

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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As it's the final week of this exhibition I see that the Cuming Museum is open late (till 8pm) this evening and on Sunday 10am - 5pm. 😛


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James
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Visited again this afternoon, packed! The power of eight minutes of TV time. IT'S STILL GREAT THOUGH

J.


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Michael Staley
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I was at the exhibition again on Tuesday afternoon, and was surprised at how many people were there. Talking last night to the exhibition organisers, they confirmed that since the BBC2 programme there has been a considerable upsurge in visitors.

Also last night I saw a copy of Jerusalem Press's A Cockney Visionary, which is beautifully produced. Great to have such fine reproductions of gems like Theurgy. Congratulations to Stephen Pochin on a fine job.

This coming Sunday will be the last day of the exhibition.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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christibrany
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The Jerusalem Press site still says taking pre orders. does that mean the website is old and the books done? I should order one soon maybe...i need funds...anyone? 😀


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Michael Staley
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I believe that this was an advance copy. The UK launch is in December, and it may be that distribution will not be until after that.

I'm sure the website will be updated soon.

MS


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christibrany
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danke schoen herr staley 🙂 just in time for a slight post christmas gift. to MYSELF 🙂 no one i know has the depth to like his work. *haughty sniffle*


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Karlir_Johanarnt
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I haven't seen 'Theurgy' and 'Background of Prescience', a shame they aren't digitized.
Hopefully the exhibition comes to Oslo soon ;=)


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Michael Staley
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Both 'Theurgy' and 'Background of Prescience' are included - amongst a whole host of delectable pictures in A Cockney Visionary, very shortly to be available from Jerusalem Press. 'Theurgy' was previously published in Gavin Semple's Zos Kia.

The last day of the exhibition is tomorrow, after which it closes. There are no plans for it to go to Oslo so far as I am aware; perhaps you could organise one over there. I don't know how many pictures by Spare there are in Norway, nor whether the level of interest in Norway would be enough - it takes a great deal of time, effort and money to mount an exhibition such as the London one.


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 Anonymous
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They had copies for sale yesterday at the Cuming Museum so presume it is now officially published. The quality of production looks high from the brief chance I had to persuse the copy there. As per Michael I would encourage any one who can to try and make the exhibition before it closes tomorrow; you won't regret it. It was very crowded yesterday when I popped in early afternoon so I don't think Tuesday was a once-off.

The Imperial War Museum are also displaying 4 large pictures to tie in with the Cuming Museum and the Atlantis Bookshop mini exhibition is also well worth a look.


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Michael Staley
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We went to see the AOS Exhibition for the last time this afternoon. Afterwards we went to the Imperial War Museum, where four of Spare's War Artist pictures are currently on display. One of them I was familiar with from the 1987 Morley Gallery exhibition, but the other three I had not seen before. All four are extremely good - well worth a visit. One of them, a scene at Ypres, is by far the largest AOS picture I've seen.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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lashtal
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I have just today received my copy of Cockney Visionary and will write more about it elsewhere on this site.

However, I just had to mention that it's a stunning production, a fitting tribute to the great Spare himself.

I understand that some copies may still be available and I'd urge Spare's admirers to get one before they're gone!

Simply beautiful…

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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michaelclarke18
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I wasn't really that much of a fan of the exhibition. I was amazed how badly hung it was, many works crammed into a small space. I actually missed a few paintings during my first visit, because they were hung about 7/8 feet off the ground, well above eye level. I think a bigger space would really have helped. As it was, I was reminded of an end of year school display.


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lashtal
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Yes, we know: you called it "banal" a few posts ago.

I can't comment on the exhibition itself, not having visited it, but I can confirm that the book and accompanying DVD do Spare proud.

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Michael Staley
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I wasn't really that much of a fan of the exhibition. I was amazed how badly hung it was, many works crammed into a small space. I actually missed a few paintings during my first visit, because they were hung about 7/8 feet off the ground, well above eye level. I think a bigger space would really have helped. As it was, I was reminded of an end of year school display.

Doubtless a better space would have helped; however, it wasn't available. I would have preferred to have seen more pictures, but again the space wasn't on offer. I thought that bearing in mind what WAS on offer, the exhibition was great. This was despite the limitations you mention, and I was extremely sorry that it had to come to an end.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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