PERHAPS the hunter-gatherer instinct is satisfied when we get into popular Art shows, with others, standing in line, after wondering whether the berries have all been picked.
Whatever the sensation, seeing the Turner Prize on its second to last day, in Gateshead last week, and the totally oversubscribed Leonardo da Vinci at the National, just before Christmas, I was totally thrilled to be so lucky. Between them there is more intertextuality, than, you could shake a brush at, in an Art-packed dream.
Martin Boyce, the Turner winner, happened to be at the Baltic, in person. My charmingly professional friend, Sarah Gilligan, stopped me from rushing over when we spotted him at a table in the restaurant with his family. It was after half a bottle of Voignier, but she must have been rather appalled, for more than one reason, when she saw me clutch for my paperback and start rummaging for a pen. We did chat to him later.
George Shaw’s paintings are of Tile Hill, the postwar council estate outside Coventry where he grew up and has been painting for 15 years. He has crafted each view, about 18inches across and 10 inches down, in Humbrol enamel, paint usually reserved for scratches on motor bikes or model soldiers. He describes his painting table as looking like something out of ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’. This somehow brings me back to the Leonardo. He did paint the ‘Last Supper’, didn’t he?
However in the postmodern world, in which we live in, there is another stranger connection. One or two of the Leonardo portraits, whether preserved or creatively restored, look as if their make-overs are from the palette of Rimmel, especially applied, to give them the London look. There is one particularly creamy lipped Pontiff from Milan worth a second glance!