Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Mustard Man

The current exhibition, 'Being Human', is now in its final week and, as usual when an exhibition draws to a close, I am experiencing higher than normal levels of anxiety.  I haven't had it this bad since Derek McGuire's solo exhibition, 'Ella Novo Loco'.  Such is the intensity of the work on display that I know I am going to feel quite flat when it is gone.
I thought it would be nice to take a closer look at, and celebrate all that is good and great about, a few of the paintings on display.

We have to start here:

'Man Standing with Yellow Background', oil on canvas, Audrey Grant, 2010
Gosh.  I confess that I struggle to find the words to explain the emotional connection that I, and many others, have made with this painting.  To put it plainly, something about this painting 'got me' as soon as I saw it, and it has conitinued to have an effect on me ever since.  Perhaps the strength of this painting is largely summed up by a note left by an admirer in Audrey Grant's vistors book:
'Audrey, you restore one's faith in painting'. 
I can't help but feel a great deal of affection for, and fascination with, 'Mustard Man' as I have knicknamed him, and I feel that a large part of that is fueled by some of the subtle details that make him so connected to the subject of 'Being Human'.

This perfect little finger is one of them.....

I have mentioned before that Audrey is a 'physical' painter: she fights with her materials to achieve her distinctive and powerful images.  Yet, in that intense and prolonged battle (Audrey's paintings are months in the making), you catch glimpses of real tenderness and a deeply humane attention to detail:

'Mustard Man' may well be a little lost, fragile, even 'up against it' in the world he inhabits, but looking at his perfectly and lovingly painted ear set against a yellow glow, it's clear that his maker was determined to send him out looking his best.  He will stand the test of time.

Finally, a big thank you to the kind soul who left us this beautiful orchid:

He explained that he wanted to give it to the gallery as he felt that we and our visitors would genuinely appreciate its beauty.  We most certainly do!  I have positioned it next to:

'Standing Figure', oil on canvas, Audrey Grant 2010.
Affectionately known as 'Socks', I thought that the flower complimented his colouring rather well.

Hurry back soon to discover some more about ECA student, Martyn McKenzie's work.  As someone has written in his visitors book:
'Your work is very special - you are very special!'
Couldn't agree more.....

Speak soon.

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