As newspapers are consulted increasingly on screen, and newsprint is all set to become a thing of the past, artists are turning their attention to this endangered medium. The Irish Expressionist painter Michael Kane (born 1935) has produced a provocative series of 100 paintings in ink, acrylic paint and collage, done on newsprint magazine pages taken mostly from the Irish Times (see above).
The results are witty and moving, powerful comments on the age-old imperatives of humanity, acted out against the media stories and features of yesterday. Kane responds to the pictures and headlines he’s painting over, either as shapes or narratives, juxtaposing and repositioning to good effect. Man and the city is his great theme.
Meanwhile in England, newspaper has become the preferred surface on which the abstract painter Frank Beanland (born 1936) makes his colourful and emotive shape-music. His banded images, like disjunctive xylophones or a lattice of vigorously angled stripes to summon the effect of pear blossom against the sky, are painted on double-page spreads of the Daily Telegraph or Independent. Sometimes Beanland joins sheets to make a larger painting, like long vertical scrolls which he sees as banners waving in the wind.
Both artists are using newsprint in different and inventive ways; both recycle the ephemeral to make something more lasting. Kane is represented by the Rubicon Gallery in Dublin, and Frank Beanland shows with Belgrave Gallery, St Ives.