I was reminded recently that I have a blog. A new friend of mine mentioned finding it and discovering a mutual interest we did not yet know we shared. I stared in confusion till remembering that, yes, I did (do?) have a blog.

Today I accidentally attended a talk given by Mick Jones. It was only towards the end of this talk that I realized, ‘ah, Mick Jones must be famous.’ And indeed, he appears to be so. After listening to Mr. Jones talk about his years in The Clash and the music scene and such in London back in those days, I wondered upstairs to have a look at some of the work by Joseph Mallard William Turner (who is also famous) held by the Tate Britain.

Over here, Renee Bolinger (who is not yet as famous as she should be), recently brought Turner to my attention, and so his work has been on my mind as of late, and it seemed only appropriate to go visit his galleries, being but a short flight of stairs away. I have never understood Turner. At times I would say I did not like him, at times I would be simply… unstated.

As R. Bolinger points out, Turner makes use of both broad swaths of colour and minute details. Some of his work leaves you with the impression of pained arthritic detail, yet on the whole my feeling is that his works should all have ‘unfinished’ tacked to the end of their titles.

While moving about in the gallery, I happened upon a useful little plaque (of the type I usually studiously avoid), explaining about ‘varnishing days’ wherein artists would bring their work to the gallery to finish the painting in the location it was to be seen. A quite reasonable practice. Turner, it is known, had a habit of leaving quite a bit till the last moment — allowing the piece to come to life in response to the room and other pieces (by other artists) being displayed along side. In effect, much of Turner’s work was final detail given on the spot atop basic colour motifs.  Detail that was designed not for the canvas as much for the entire context of the exhibition.

And hence that feeling of incompleteness about so many of his great masterpieces.


~ by jeorgesmith on 9 April 2010.

One Response to “Turnering”

  1. Thanks for answering the question as to who is Mick Jones. Thanks also for writing in your blog. I enjoy seeing what you’re thinking.

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