It’s been a really special week or so for acquiring some terrific pictures. Take this gorgeous little panel by my dear friend Sue Disley. I’m jealous of her talent as not only is she a terrific painter but also one of the best ceramicists in the country. I’ll come back to this one in a few moments but first onto another of the new works. When I saw this little canvas by Stephanie Bates in the degree show at Bishop Grosseteste I knew immediately where it would hang if I could get my hands on it. The corner of our bedroom where the spiral staircase takes me up to the study area above…already has a wonderful piece by Lauri Hopkins and adjacent to that my truly marvellous Terry Greene painting. So now as I ascend the stairs to where these rambling are written you see Steph’s canvas next…
And once I’m sitting at my mac I have Stephen MacInnis’ work from his ‘Long Series’ to oversee my deliberations…so put them together and it doesn’t get better than that.
Not strictly a new acquisition but my current boss and good friend John Rimmer restored his ‘In My Room’ canvas from 2003 to our care this week. John has been mainly working with video over the past 7/8 years and though the work was really fascinating (in brief he explored notions of abstraction in painting through collaged film clips put through extraordinary digital convulsions) I’d love to see him get back to painting directly. John has been consistently inventive in his painting over the years (recognised by two inclusions in the prestigious John Moores).
The work has all the hallmarks of John’s interest in the fractured and disjointed figurative image, in this case wallpaper pattern, put through some considerable painterly intelligence. I’d have made an effort to take a better snap but really you need to get up close and personal to see the variety of media and mark making displayed to great effect.
Another acquisition from the show on the course that John leads at BGU and that I occasionally teach into is this lovely little picture by Jordon Lawrenson. Jordon is the source of the quote that heads this column…by Henry David Thoreau and used it in talking about her work for the degree.
The greatest pleasure in teaching is seeing students make real progress. Jordon worked hard in the final months synthesising her own ideas and images with those of her two year old son. Picasso said memorably “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” and I feel that Jordon has in a modest way latched on to that idea here. Anyway I love it!
For me looking at work that’s around me and that I liked enough to purchase, swap or blag out of people makes me hungry to do better myself. And these pictures all come into that category. Sue’s small panel is a case in point. As it happens I know the very spot that image is synthesised from…so maybe it actually matters greatly what you look at…and what you see.