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"Bowie Spewing"
1990, Oil on canvas 51 x 41 cm

Artwork by Sir Paul McCartney

"Although entitled "Bowie spewing", this small painting was not planned as a portrait. As so often the case with McCartney, the subject emerged during the painting process. Experimental painting with no other motive than "just to let the paint lead the way" (McCartney) results in a physiognomy which reminds the artist of David Bowie at an early stage in his career, the time of his "Ziggy Stardust" album. This second level of consciousness causes him to include a frame in the composition of the picture, which he then decorates with mystic symbols. Using a picture within a picture, McCartney reflects here on painting as a medium. The paint running down the canvas breaks up the narrative illusion, connects the levels and draws attention to the material nature of painting. Here too McCartney makes use of his mental store of images as he is reminded of a motif similar to "Bowie spewing" on a Polaroid photo which Linda McCartney made of Bowie." - Critical commentary

In a joking riposte published in the Belgian magazine "Humo", David Bowie said "Paul sent me a picture of the painting, together with the question if I would mind the title of it. I answered 'Of course not, but what a coincidence, I am currently working on a song that's called "McCartney Shits".

The February 2002 edition of Q magazine had review of Rock Star Art, by author and "TV art pundit" Matthew Collings. In the feature, entitled 'Sheer Art Attack', Matthew looked at the work of Jerry Garcia, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Graham Coxon, John Cougar Mellencamp, Captain Beefheart, Ronnie Wood, Micky Dolenz, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan and Tico Torres. Here's what he had to say about Paul McCartney's Bowie Spewing:

"Bowie Spewing"
It does what it says - see wonky eye for proof.
"The energetic mark making is a good thing, but everything else about it is bad. The horrible colours, the drawing, the banal arrangement, the half-arsed surreal eye in the middle with a load of messy blobs coming off it... all empty attitude, like any one of these bullshit curly marks. I think they're just posing. And as for Bowie Spewing... that's just stupid. It looks like it's from 1980, and gives the impression of someone trying hard to seem like an artist, which is as embarrassing as someone trying to be like a rocker."
Musical equivalent: "Something really bad by Wings. I respect Paul, but I'm going to have to give this the thumbs down."

---This page last modified: 06 Jul 2002---