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The Exhibition is set up and the house lends warmth and empathy to the paintings. It is good that life is going on around the images, we are able to live amongst them and I am interested that people are able to talk while visiting, talk about things that are important.
The most pressing pain was not knowing where Steve had gone. Where did he go? In this triptych, I sit alone with an empty chair and Steve's slippers, then there are only two empty chairs, and then just Steve's slippers. I am looking straight ahead and my eyes are red from crying. The theme of the painting is emptiness. Loss, things Going. things Not Being There.
This is the day Steve went to another unknown unknowable place. He was beyond us, wherever that is, and I was left with his empty beautiful body. There are two inspirations for this painting, one is the wonderful Deposition paintings of Holbein, of the stark 15 and 16 century paintings of the Entombment of Christ, Christ Crucified. The power of the iimage is made more dramiatic by making it represent Jesus who is the Son of God. The second inspiration was from an artist i met called Stevan Stratford who painted a portrait of his daughter with a gold background that made such an impression on me. The gold in the background lifted the image to a higher plane. Steve here is in full glory and is where we all will be.
A view of the "Glum Angels Triptych" and "Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend"
The Glum Angels are just sad and drooping because Steve has died. "Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend" concerns a dear old family friend who died last year. He was my father and mother's close friend, and my father had spent many years teaching with him, and travelling around Europe in the 1950s. My father, despite having had a bad stroke, would come down from London to sit with Michael and this image is the last time my father saw him. We knew Michael could not last long here, and my father finally bent over to him and whispered Goodbye Michael, Goodbye Old Friend, before getting the train back to London. Michael died a few hours later.
The exbibition continues until 9pm Sunday 28 Feb.