Today is cold. Only just about freezing point actually, but it feels bitter. I am coming out of my winter hibernation, so I was up early, for a long walk in the icy air, with the promise of excellent coffee in what turned out to be a pleasantly empty café. I picked up another Chaplin on the way – close by the first one, (Charlie Chaplin at Brunel,
in the Odd Interesting Things
portfolio) and the same stencil, but I had not seen this one before.
I have spent the last three or four months, artistically speaking, ‘thinking’. I have been reading, attending exhibitions – from ‘The Pre-Raphaelites'
at The Tate, always a joy, to the 'Roger Mayne – Aspects of a Great Photographer'
- exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.
Thinking about that, you couldn’t get a greater contrast. From idealized, realistic painting of mythical and historical events in vibrant colours, to 1950’s black and white fine art photographic pictures of London streets destined for demolition or bombed out during the War, populated by grubby little urchins with wonderful faces. As for the Pre-Raphaelites, I notice that, after the last exhibition they are once again taking a bit of a knocking in the ’artistic’ press as Victorian kitsch, too populist, too pretty, etc. The critics have obviously not seen enough Pre-Raphaelite Art, is all I can say. Approached without preconceptions, it is stunning stuff, and I am not easily impressed. I was impressed though with the Roger Mayne exhibition; his eye for the shot, the superbly printed images, and the feeling of intimacy he has engendered in some apparently very unpromising areas. Most enjoyable, and further food for thought.
I have also made various explorations of London on foot, and I am now ready to process a large number of images, with something approaching a Plan. Looking forward to an April Expedition to the Architecture of Soho, which has grabbed my imagination.
Still fascinated too by windows and doors
And so this will also be a theme, and maybe a Soho sub-theme. There is something magical and mysterious about an isolated window or door - a promise or a threat? In or out? Freedom or trap? – to be pretentious for a second, an allegory of life. No, not really, just windows and doors. Effective images though. So, over the coming months I will be developing some themes that I have been working on for a while now, and introducing some new Portfolios to the Gallery.
Despite everyone else’s moans, despite the low, grey featureless skies we’ve had for ages, I am enjoying the crisp cold; Spring has been paused. So, life is good, and apart from mid-lane cruisers on the motorways, no-one has annoyed me – much – in a very long time. Probably won’t last long.