Friday, May 30, 2014

Window Work


Having crashed through April and May without producing any finished work (though plenty of Works In Progress*), this month’s image is that reliable stand-by, Window Work. I quite like the one of the girl walking the dog.

The body of the post, though, is me reflecting on my recent – my first - solo exhibition. Now, at the time of writing, it’s almost two months since the show at the Union Gallery closed, and I’m becoming normal again, thank heavens, and far enough away to see just how abnormal that whole experience was. 

The most obvious thing that I can see now is just how tense I had become. There were enough paintings ready that I didn’t have to worry, and I was able to function perfectly well with the gallery – doing my bit with the images, information, and my end of the publicity. However, away from those tasks, there was an imperceptibly slow but steady increase in tension that probably really got going in December, and just got tighter and tighter approaching the opening. Latterly – in February – I found that my shoulders snarled up and became rock solid at the smallest thing, and I was uncharacteristically irritated and aggressive. On at least two occasions I used the most unforgiveable language at people for not shutting café doors. Etc. It was extraordinarily unpleasant behaviour. That tension dropped off rapidly during the show, then simply disappeared, which was a great relief.

In the final approach to the show, the gallery kindly flagged up a couple of things about how I, a very inexperienced exhibitor, might be affected by the exhibition.

Firstly - seeing the show hung on the walls can be a bit traumatic. For me, it was not so much an emotional response as a confirmation that they looked good together, and only found myself a little affected later at home. 

Secondly – after a show there is often a feeling of anticlimax and deflation. Madam and I cunningly sidestepped this by jetting out for three days in Amsterdam the day after the exhibition closed. Actually I was quite relieved that the whole thing was over, and I don’t think that I’ve suffered overmuch from anticlimax at all.

The most unforeseen thing that happened was my sudden bout of profound and visceral sadness – a short physical grief – just before we left to go to the Preview. I can best describe it as a Gethsemane moment – an intense episode of dread, doubt, and loss. I’m not at all sure what that was about, but it was as shocking as it was surprising. Well, I’m not naturally gregarious, but I did manage to gather myself, and went, and all I can remember is my glass of orange juice and that I had scores of fractured conversations. It took me two days to recover enough to come out the house.

As the show progressed, more and more red ‘sold’ stickers appeared, and again I had quite some strange reactions. I might have been expected to show some enthusiasm for sales, but actually I felt quite melancholy at being separated from my lovely paintings. Happily, some have gone to where I know for certain that they will be appreciated and looked after, and I have a chance to see them again. Some, though, have departed into alien orbits, and I am quite sad at the thought of never seeing them again.

Anyway, it’s an important thing to have done, and no doubt I will be able to handle any similar future occasions better, but I am glad it’s over. I’m happy to have returned to my usual routine (which may or may not be affected by the World Cup), now have a large re-supply of paint, and will soon be adapting to my new easel.

Oh, and the Numbers? Out the twenty-four pieces hung, thirteen were sold, and the show was considered by all as a Great Success.

Which is nice…

*Works In Progress - the same link as in the ‘Links’ column on the right near the top – I’m just making it easier for you. (It’s actually quite interesting)