Colin Self Launches his first book - 'Art in the Nuclear Age' in Norwich August 23 2008 - Photo Artshot Int

Colin Self Launches his first book - 'Art in the Nuclear Age' in Norwich August 23 2008 - Photo Artshot Int


Colin Self launches an important new book

'Colin Self - Art in the Nuclear Age'

The first book was presented and signed to

Zacron. friend and fellow artist, in Norwich

on August 23rd 2008.


I first encountered the work of Colin Self at the Picadilly Gallery in Cork Street

London during the 1960's.  Amongst so many paintings it was unusual to see

drawings that held their own as radical images.  It was refreshing to experience

Self's work; it was not trying to be fashionable yet curiousely it created its own

sense of intimate chic that displayed isolated figures against segments of Art Deco

Odeon architecture.  Here was a dramatic contrast in scale and contrast between

highly finished tonal drawing and sharp, almost diagramatic, linear images; a graphic

theatre ahead of its time.


Self's divisions in the visual language have a parallel in Japanese printmaking. There

is a delightfully odd fusion between the early boyish Peter Blake, George Grosz and

Max Ernst, as faces evolve out of dreamlike tracts of paint to express a banal, awkward

femIninity, ill at ease in a constricting artificial modern world.


The artist makes a compelling sophistication from the transItory, even the banal, but it

is this very combination that delivers the gloriousely indigestible, the isolated suspension

of the human psyche, the incongruity of birth, our detatchment from atrocity.

These elements are made more compelling by the fetishist attention to detail in the

surface of objects in contrast to a latex anatomy held by charred-black edges that is

as incongruous as 'Come Dancing'.


'A Boy Eating a Hamburger' by Peter Blake, and 'Psychotic Boy' by Ron B. Kitaj, filter

into my mind.  Kitaj's paring down of the face into wiped marks that dissolve the

literal, beat a path to Colin Self who is graphically more crisp - Munch's 'Scream' with

the addition of real noise!  Self's art has the power to fruitfully offend, shock and

impress the eye, agitate involuntry laughter, raise both eyebrows, vex and puzzle,

but it can't be ignored.  He embraces 'idea-art', the tactics of shock, the whimsical,

the culturally indigestible, the posture of outrage, and delights in the drama with

mischievious excitment.


Self holds his own place amongst a plethora of international artists and he made his

mark very early in the break-away revolution of the sixties.  He has earned his place

and is all the more potent for not living within the promotional hub of London.

He takes and gives something raw and vital that comes from beyond

the comfort of the Mecca.


Colin Self is essentially English, hoarding and collecting and documenting anything that

is creatively nutricious.  His landscapes reveal his link with a romantic tradition, and an

earthiness.  Within the grand performance there is always detail that invites you to

look closer, to engage and contemplate your reaction.



Colin Self: Art in a Nuclear Age - is authored by Simon Martin with writing by Marco

Livingstone, and is available for purchase (£19.95) Published in 2008 by Palant

House Gallery in association with AVA Publishing SA.  ISBN 978 2 940411 02 3



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