I couldn’t wait to see this exhibition, so we drove up for it’s second day. I’m very familiar with the artist’s winning entry to the JM24, but had seen no other paintings in the flesh.
Before Vermeer’s Clouds in The Walker, with original frame restored.
Fortuitously we had chosen the same day that the artist was giving a talk about his work - surreptitiously advertised only by sticky address labels which had been placed over the posters in town. We had a few minutes of viewing time before this began, just long enough to be highly impressed - though the strong sunlight an reflections made viewing a little difficult.
Accompanied by a slideshow of his output from student work to the present, we were guided through his early paintings, the advice from his tutors, to the development of the symbols and themes which run through his work. This was enriched by the personal nature of many of the works and the stories, ideas, events and sometimes dreams that influenced them.
I couldn’t have hoped to see so much, learn so much and gain an insight into the personal and professional development that makes such great paintings, so I was pretty damn thrilled throughout. Even better was the fact that the particular influences and the statements of intent, the descriptions of losing a painting as it was developing and adapting imagery to prevailing situations I found I could identify with easily, even if my own painting is still hunting for it’s lost vocabulary.
The talk lasted two hours (with twenty slides removed - sadly - time constraints I imagine), giving us some time to review the paintings on show once more before we headed home. Just past four, the strong light had dropped a bit so everything was far easier to see - especially the drawing’s for ‘National Park’.
Had a brief discussion about websites with another artist called Maggie Berkowitz, who’s site has some fine examples of her ceramic work on display.