Tilt shift: When what you see isn’t what you get

Doesn’t tilt shift photography (or the fake photoshop version) look good? Having seen some of these shots it’s hard not to look at the world in a slightly different way.

Reminds me of Patrick Heron’s claim that art doesn’t reflect what we see but rather dictates what we see. In the case of tilt shift, we thought model villages and railways looked that way because they were models and not the real thing. Tilt shift shows something different is happening: we can now make the real thing look just like a model if we wish.

“I have always claimed that painting’s prime function is to dictate what the world looks like … What we imagine to be the ‘objective’ look of everything and anything is largely a complex, a weave of textures, forms and colours which we have learned, more or less unconsciously, from painting, and have superimposed upon external reality. The actual ‘objective’ appearance of things (of anything and everything) is something that does not exist…”
Patrick Heron, 1996 “Solid Space in Cézanne”, Modern Painters Vol 9 (1).

There’s more at Smashing Magazine.

Can Wikipedia entries on artists be improved?

Jonathan Jones has been complaining about the banal way in which Wikipedia covers art and artists. He cites the entry for Goya as an example.

Drawing Space in Colour

I thought I’d test this by checking out the entry on Patrick Heron, an artist I’d like to think I know a little bit about. Here’s what I found…

Plenty of summary background information, but almost nothing about the art itself.

This can be repaired by pointing towards Andrew Wilson’s excellent essay, Drawing Space in Colour, for the 2008 Heron exhibition at the San Francisco Hackett-Freedman Gallery – the first American exhibition since Heron’s death in 1999.


The problem with amateurs is that they’re (we’re) amateurs. They have the time, but not necessarily the depth. Meanwhile the experts currently have the depth but not the time. Is it a public service to improve Wikipedia entries, or is it just an opportunistic means of getting  content for free?

Post-Secular Artist? Nine Reflections on the Art of Patrick Heron

The last few years have seen a deep questioning of the central tenets of the theory of secularisation. Far from growing less religious, as the prophets of the post-war period supposed to be our destiny, the world has become more infused with religious attitudes than ever. It is now intellectually respectable, if not yet fully intelligible,  to talk and write about a ‘post-secular’ age. At the same time it is possible to re-examine the high points of the supposedly nonreligious era we have now passed beyond, and see it anew as the site and source of an intense and distinctive spirituality.  It is strange for an art collection like the Methodist Church’s Collection of Modern Christian Art to have almost no abstract works in the collection, as though properly religious art could only ever be representational. Yet until recently abstract art was regarded by many religious people as at the vanguard of a world without form, without meaning, and  – ultimately – without God. If non-representational art was somehow non-traditional then it was also, so it was feared, non-religious. It is possible now, however to reappraise this view.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Patrick Heron produced a large number of canvases and silkscreen prints on paper, based on bright, interlocking abstract shapes. As though to forestall the possibility of overlooking the artist’s obsession with colour, they had titles such as ‘Blue and deep violet with orange brown and green’.
The following reflections were inspired by a screenprint of Patrick Heron’s at the Tate, which is typical of his work at that time. Perhaps to emphasise its abstract qualities it is titled January 1973:14.

Patrick Heron, ‘January 1973: 14’ 1973

Continue reading “Post-Secular Artist? Nine Reflections on the Art of Patrick Heron”