Yesterday was quite a day. After all the months of thinking about the exhibition, and actually doing some paintings, all the works – 26 paintings, 9 mini-sculptures and sundry postcards – were somehow carefully packed as one load into the car and driven to Halesworth Gallery. With the help of the volunteer (but professional) exhibition curator, Alan Bennett, – help which was available and utilised throughout the hanging – all 35 items were safely taken up to the first floor of the Gallery, unpacked and laid out around Room 2 (Rooms 1 and 3 on either side contain displays by two other artists, all three being linked by the exhibition title of ‘Viewing Change’ which we concocted between us back in March).
The actual hanging, that is deciding which pictures should go where so that the whole room becomes a visual experience for visitors, proved, shall we say, to be a creatively-charged process in which brave and unexpected decisions were made and voices were raised as two experienced, sensitive and forceful artists – Cilla Boniface and Anna Badar – gave me the benefit of their advice. Who was the lucky man, then? – well, me obviously, and although the final hang was quite different from what I had in mind at the start, what we achieved between us in the end is an exhibition which probably makes my pictures look rather better than some of them are. The photographs below were taken when we had finished but before Alan had adjusted the lighting to accommodate our arrangement.
The next photograph is from the passage from Room 1 into Room 2 diagonally across to where this first photo was taken from, in front of another chimney breast which is also visually incorporated into the exhibition:
The next photograph shows the south wall viewed from the doorway on the far left of the first photograph above:
Prominent in the centre are two relatively early paintings from the time when I was much taken with the artistic potential of non-art- supports: on the left is ‘Black rice, irrigated fields’ (with real rice grains though not real fields) while on the right is ‘The soils in Oliver’s garden’ consisting of precisely those four different soils (sandy at the top and, three layers down, humic and dark brown) which I sampled from a test pit at the edge of the vegetable plot. The garden, incidentally, is in sub-Alpine France so perhaps I should have acquired a permit to bring the painting back to England. One would certainly have to think seriously about that now.
All of which doubtless reads as of puny achievement to people who do real work, but I nevertheless arrived back home knackered and slept for 12 hours. I just hope that Room 2 looks as on these photographs when we return for the Private View this evening. What if some paintings have fallen off the walls? – I imagine other painters too have nightmares about this sort of thing and wonder whether all the hassle of an exhibition is worthwhile.