Friday, 1 June 2012

Sleeping Under the Stars

Hello everyone,

In the last blog, we had a look at a particularly special painting by Jenny Matthews in our current exhibition.  This time we are having a look at UG's 'curators choice' from Janet Melrose RSW's side of the show, and I have to say that I am slightly nervous about doing so - I am not sure I will have the right words to do the work justice.  What I am confident about, however, is that Janet's work will speak for itself and will easily hold its own.  I will take a leaf out of Janet Melrose's book and take a 'less is more' approach to discussing her work - of which these are a master class:

'Meeting of Ideas', mixed media, by Janet Melrose RSW.
What I will say is that as a general rule with paintings, the more perfect and effortless they appear, the more difficult and demanding they were to arrive at.  In Janet's canvasses in particular there is evidence, or rather clues, as to the history of the painting.  There are signs of the layers of history or story-telling that lie behind the paintings, which enhances their overall beauty.

To be honest, there is not a single painting in Janet's new body of work that I wouldn't love to have on my wall, but here is my curators choice:

'Sleeping Under the Stars', mixed media, by Janet Melrose.
I will confess that, on viewing 'Sleeping Under the Stars' for the first time, I shed a little tear.  Recently, I lost my best and irreplaceable friend, UG hound Tommy:

I guess my heart was feeling rather heavy at the time, and that in part explains why I had such an emotional response to this painting.  Janet's paintings have the enviable ability to touch your heart, to create strong emotional responses.  It has been fascinating over the last month to witness people's joy firstly at seeing the work, and then at the appreciation of the talent needed to paint with such subtlety.  This painting, and indeed the exhibition as a whole, has certainly helped lift my spirits and those of many visitors to the gallery - I will be very sorry to see it end on Monday.

I have always admired Janet's brave approach to painting.  It takes real guts and conviction to pare everything right back to the bare flesh and bones of what makes a great painting - colour, composition, application of paint and, in this body of work, a subtle and sensitive narrative that is meaningful and appeals on so many different levels.

Thank you to artists Jenny Matthews and Janet Melrose RSW for creating a truly sublime exhibition, which you can still be moved by until Monday 4th June.

Speak soon.

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