Stop Making Sense…

David Manley Avatar
Better Days #14, mixed media on paper, 86 x 60 cms. April 2022

early in the new year I began making this series of paper works, studies of a kind for what will be a group of canvases (I’ve made a couple of these so far). The title was chosen in a sense of optimism – we seemed to be emerging from the Pandemic and the new year with its direction of travel away from the winter towards the light gave some cause to be hopeful. But the madness in the Ukraine coupled with the seeming collapse of common decency in our own faux ‘democracy’ suggest it may have been misplaced. I’ve long since given up trying to make any sense of it all – although I hate the idea of falling into indifference and contempt for political participation that Arendt – rightly I think – suggested was the root cause and road to totalitarianism.

Kitchen Wall, spruced up for the Spring

Nonetheless we are still some way off that here (though clearly its happening in many places to one degree or another) and alongside the painting practice we’ve been indulging in a little redecorating! For no reason we could think of my wife and I decided to give the kitchen a French style makeover. As part of this it gave me the opportunity to rummage in my Plan Chests for a rough and ready transcription that I made just ahead of my sixteenth birthday of the famous Lautrec poster. Although I’ve had it stored away for fifty four years it has scrubbed up well, given a ‘distressed’ frame (by our local framers – one of whom happens to be our excellent local Labour Councillor). I made a host of these copies between 15 & 17 spurred on by my wonderful Art Teacher – Peter Thursby who suggested that it was a good way of studying what had gone on before us and understanding it in a way than no amount of reading could do. I came across the practice again a decade or so back on the rather excellent Fine Art Painting & Drawing degree at the University of Northampton where I was the External Examiner for both it and the generic Fine Art degree. Digging out work from that far back makes little sense but then so much of what is happening out in the world doesn’t either !

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