Well, the opening evening of ‘We are not in the least afraid of ruins’ is over, and seemed to go nicely, and big thanks to anyone reading this who attended. It was a good evening, many visitors that I’ve not seen before and some good feedback. I’m now into the second week of the exhibition, and have received a small but steady stream of visitors, many compliments, and more importantly, the satisfaction of observing peoples reactions to my work, and discussing with them the stories behind the paintings. This last remains the single most significant element of an exhibition for me. I paint as a form of communication, and define the success of a painting by the extent to which viewers are able to read it, and the closeness of their reading to the substance of my communication. It’s been a real buzz to find that visitors to ‘Ruins’ have largely got what I am trying to say, and to discover the resonance that the work has had with its audience.
The exhibition has also been successful in a more prosaic manner, and this Wednesday I said goodbye to the first of the nine paintings that I have sold through ‘Ruins’, and a big ‘Cheers’ to everyone who has shown their faith and enjoyment in my work through buying pieces. I let ‘Out with the Old’ go early as it was needed for a gallery opening by the collector/dealer who brought it. ‘Out with the old’ has always been popular with audiences, and was one of the pieces that inspired ‘Ruins’, so in some ways I was sad to see it go, and am conscious that it will leave a gap in the exhibition as a whole that will need addressing.
This leads to an interesting dichotomy, the conflict between painting as communication expressed through an exhibition built around a concept, and the need to sell to keep on painting. The exhibition comprises 33 paintings that represent 15 months work, and contains both new works, and some from my last exhibition, ‘Industrial’. It is built around a core of twenty works, and of these, five have sold. In order to take the exhibition on, I will need to replace these five in particular, though obviously not with the same image or even style. However, it is important that the ideas these five paintings express remain as the exhibition itself develops.
My studio is bare, as for the first time, all 42 of the works I’m prepared to show are out. This has allowed me the time to consider plans for next year. Prime among these is is to try and get exhibition space for ‘Ruins’, or at least its core works, in other cities. I am aiming at Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle and Aberdeen, as the work has an obvious resonance within the old industrial cities of the UK. I am looking forward to the challenge of maintaining and developing the exhibition alongside the development of my painting, should I be successful in convincing other galleries to accommodate it.
‘We are not in the least afraid of ruins’ enters its final day tomorrow, so if you fancy seeing the work in the flesh, it’s at:
gage gallery, KIAC, Unit 28b, Lion Works, 40 Ball Street, Sheffield S3 8DB from 10am-4pm.