Thursday, 24 November 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different

Scenes from the Passion:  The Fall  by George Shaw  1999  courtesy Wilkinson Gallery London

Was it Spike Milligan or  Monty Python 
who coined the title's catch phrase?

Whichever it was was on to a winner
because that's just how life is.

From minute to minute something new.
Each moment offering challenge or relief.
Light or shade.

Somebody once commented that the constant element
in each of my paintings was that 
counterpoint between light and dark.

She obviously saw something I wasn't aware of 
because for me I had always thought it was as simple as 
the need for tonal contrast,
whether the work is abstract or representational.

As in art, in life though,
as has been said so many times.
Without the dark passages we could hardly appreciate
or fully experience
the joy of the light.

Which brings me on to the painting at the head of the blog.

Couple of days ago I left hubby to his own devices
with a promise from him that he would behave
and not do more than the prescribed stuff for his stage of recovery. 

Reassured, I went off to meet a friend for coffee,
and then on to view the most wonderful exhibition
of George Shaw paintings.

You may not know his work, 
or that he was born here in Coventry,
and that his work is shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

The exhibition consists of work done 
both before and after his formal art education,
and they are all depictions, in Humbrol enamel paint, 
(the sort you use to paint model aircraft and suchlike),
 of the estate he was brought up on.

The work is full of that edgy, gritty, atmosphere 
that still pervades that particular area today,
and even where some of the buildings have been replaced
you can recognise where the vantage point for the painting was.

I could go on and on about the technical elements of the work,
but it is the portrayal of light which is so superb.

Sometimes the light broods, and hovers ominously,
and you know you are between lights.

Is it dawn, or dusk?
Is there a storm still brewing, or just gone?

At other times as in this work called
"Scenes from the Passion:  The Fall", 
a scene of almost unremitting grimness is lifted by
the glorious luminosity of the light.
Alas this this little JPEG can't do it justice.

Somehow for me,
(and you would expect me to say this wouldn't you?),
his work portrays not just 
the light that sometimes hides from us 
in the grind of life and living;
but also
the numinous;
that sense of the divine that
hovers and broods over us,
and waits with us,
and for us,
and in us.

As with any true artist he opens our eyes, 
and passing through our familiar places
we will never see them quite the same again.  


If you ever get a chance to see his work" in the flesh", do go!

In the mean time if you want to see a small sample of the other work in the exhibition, you can click on
But be patient 'cos it takes a while to load, 
and be aware that one of the works was painted in the bedroom he shared with his brother when he was still at school.

God Bless

I do thank those of you who sent your comments on the last piece, which I didn't publish because of their personal nature, but WERE appreciated. 
I do treasure you taking the time to get back to me.
If you would like to open out a discussion on this, or any of the other pages, please do. 
Any and all of your comments are more than welcome.

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