Re collection and Recollections with some Reflections. Unless people sign the Visitors’ Book there is no way of knowing how many attend exhibitions such as mine – which has just ended. Of course The Plough Arts Centre, being a charity with free admission and staffed mainly by volunteers, has no way of recording visitor numbers. So from my point of view it’s a great shame if people visit and don’t record the fact because that’s the only way I can judge success or otherwise. We never expected to sell much - I was under no illusion that these paintings were commercial, and so I’m extraordinarily grateful for any sales which did accrue.
That these works were not commercial will surprise no-one who knows them and me. They were not exhibited as a business venture but as a genuine attempt to reflect my view (and only my view) of the glories of the modern(ish) self-made woman, and the visual impact of their efforts as presented to other women and of course the humble male. This much is pretty obvious to any reflective person, and I always hope that the reflective person who is also appreciative of painting will see beyond the surface and notice much else besides, as indeed Isabella said in The Book. [I’ll reproduce all comments later.]
I’ve always maintained that the subject matter of a figurative painting is mainly a hook on which to hang the painting (verb & noun). I used to think this was obvious, but have come to know better and realise that most people only glance at a painting, deciding instantly whether they like the ‘thing’ depicted. If not, they move swiftly on without a second thought. (Please click 'Read more' below)
No matter (as we’ll say when the universe implodes), when you hang your vision on a wall, opening up your heart and exposing an innermost psyche, you must expect to be pointed at and judged, and I’ve always welcomed criticism; if genuine and sincere it does not even need to be ‘constructive’! If it connects or resonates with anyone else, in any way, isn't that what art is supposed to do?
Sure enough, in The Book there were two or three entries (unsigned) which did not like the show and pulled no punches saying so. A shame they did not feel able, or confident enough, to enter into a dialogue – I would have enjoyed that and found it useful I’m sure. The majority of entries were favourable, but I wonder about the reactions of those who did not record their visit, and contemplate even more those who never came at all. If any of those who disliked the paintings would care to explain their impressions here, I’d be very grateful.
Board of direction for those bored of the paintings
Some of those who didn’t or couldn’t visit know my work quite well but what I regret is their missing seeing a collection of 45 paintings all together in a beautiful space. Because it won’t happen again, of that I’m quite sure..!
Amanda in front of two paintings of her putting on and/or removing make-up.
I’d like massively to thank all those who came and took the trouble to record their visit. Some travelled quite long distances, like Sam who sauntered down from Hampshire, Marnie who arrived from Cheltenham, stayed for the weekend and modelled delightfully (a painting might ensue), Linda Slade http://www.lindaslade.com a fine painter from St Ives and her husband Ron who drove up from St Ives in far West Cornwall, Lyn Duverge, a greatly loved friend from my wildlife days who came up from Exeter after work, and the classical guitarist and lutanist Brian Wright with his wife the painter Valerie - who I've known for even longer. They stayed over and we talked about Agnolo Bronzino and Venice. One bonus for me was enjoying good food and wine at the C16 Black Horse www.blackhorsedevon.co.uk. Thanks to the great studio potter Paul Jackson http://www.paul-jackson.co.uk/index.html for gracing my paintings with his fine work. Most of all, thanks to Mij, Josie and Pippa for helping so much organising the event, making sure that nothing was left to chance and helping collecting the exhibition afterwards - much less horrible experience than it might otherwise be.