Well no painting done at all since my last blog; Tummy bug knocked me out for a few days and spent a bit of time preparing for my job interview at Oxford Brookes University tomorrow. In fact I am typing this on a horrible PC at the easyinternet cafe on Tottenham Court Road, while I kill some time before I go and stay with Billy in Finsbury Parkthis evening. I came up to London early, so as I could visit Tate Britain to see the Gwen and Augustus John and The Turner Prize exhibitions. Well I went throught Turner Prize in extra quick time (even for me). There is no point in me pretending that this stuff is interesting to me; the Turner prize has become a curator’s infliction and now going through the spaces I am reminded of academic and scholarly research, dispassionate and without any soul. I remember a few years ago when I worked at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, the head of research was very pleased with me as I was toying with abandoning painting to work on an animated project on the computer. She kept telling me that it was ‘so much more exciting than making yet more paintings, anyone can make paintings…’. This comment has eaten away inside me for years, and yes, for a while I dabbled with the possibilities of digital work, but it came nowhere near the raw experience of exposing one’s vision through marks with pencils and paint. I am now wholly committed to paint in my own particular way and shuffling through the Turner Prize as I have just done only confirms this to me.
I was delighted to visit the comprehensive show of Gwen and Augustus John’s work. However, it really did highlight just how much more sophisticated and charged Gwen’s work is in comparison to her more showy brother. Her brooding portraits resonating through understated tone and dabbled paint. And her drawing is exquisit…. a real tonic to see. Oh, and they even has on display the Gwen John which I have seen for years at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Like bumping into an old friend.
There was also a nice showcase of Paula Rego’s work on and an exhibition of drawing selected from the Tate’s collection.
I love the Tate Britain (The Old Tate Gallery). Its salons are so well proportioned and you can just drift into a room full of William Blakes or Stanley Spencers on your way out (as I did today). Wonderful.
Well off to Oxford tomorrow for the interview. Wish me luck as I think this does sound like the job for me at the moment.