exhibition musings

exhibition at The Whitehouse Gallery Kirkcudbright (finishes this Friday, 28th February)

Lots of things happen when paintings are taken out of my studio and are shown to the world (even if it’s only a very tiny bit of it).

Most of it too has very little to do with whether they are sold or not. This is maybe surprising as there would seem to be a direct relationship and a purpose to hanging the work on a gallery wall with a price ticket on it and then someone handing over money for it.
(Though satisfying that can be)

I think it has more to do with how it makes me feel about my work and about myself as the artist.

When I am working away from day to day with familiar mess, paints, tools, boards and sketchbooks around me, the paintings are absolutely an extension of me. I strive to make my emotions, memories, thoughts and impressions visually available. It can take a long time - days, months…. Never?

Finally I seem to find some kind of resolution.
I draw breath and leave the painting to settle into itself for a few days.
Finished or not?

Time away offers a wee bit of objectivity to the view.
I can decide whether to leave it as it is or to fix a jarring stroke of paint.

Sometimes I feel like I am playing a game.
The painting is set up on the easel or the wall and I walk out of my studio.
Minutes later I will burst in the door and hope to be amazed by the work I catch sight of before me.
I am playing the part of the startled viewer, seeing an amazing painting for the first time.
(Well doesn’t everyone do this?)

But when a body of work goes out to a gallery and is hung sympathetically, this is when the big emotions are likely to surface.

There is a strange sense of being reintroduced to my months of work in an unfamiliar place.
Mine, yet unknown somehow at the same time.
It’s like seeing a completely different side to someone you know so well because the whole context of familiarity is changed.

I never remember that this is the pattern.
I don’t expect that rush of emotion.
And then it hits.
I think again that I must be mad choosing this kind of life, to open up everything about me. My work is so personal.

Then a different flash of reality strikes and I remember that abstract art isn’t usually that revealing at all.
In fact it is a rare few who might get something out of it.
But when they do...well that’s a bit special...


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