MALL GALLERIES, LONDON 11.3.11
One thing I have to keep in check when selecting representational work is a tendency to chose places and subjects close to my heart. If I did that the blog would be full of East Anglia. Cornwall of course. And the Greek island of Symi. But here we’ve come to Rye, a place I’ve visited and once bought a deep Belfast sink in which to plant garden flowers, but whose main associations are non-pictorial. Remember that witty son of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, E. F. Benson, who wrote the Mapp and Lucia books, immortalised on TV ? Whose mother was said to be the cleverest woman in Europe? He’s a man from Rye and was once Mayor there.
Back to the picture. I love the composition, the emptiness, the calm. Three horizontal bands of gentle colour but with a hint of unease. A solitary, silent, blind house, its warm red roof picked up by the red at the top of the pole. And look at that fence. Who or what is it keeping in or out?
There’s no one there. No children kicking a rainbow ball around, no teenagers having a quiet smoke leaning against that sharply white-painted door, no one hanging out the washing. Nothing is happening. It’s where you wait for someone or something. It’s the space between the notes of music when you wait for what you know will come next. Or think you know.
And this is Rye Harbour I. Here is a very Heath Robinson contraption, something useful strapped on to a post put there earlier for a purpose which was important at the time - and perhaps still is. It’s leaning slightly – as one would after having the sea lapping round you every hour of the day and night.
I never get tired of minimalism. You don’t have the chance to fritter your attention away on this or that. All you see is the brilliance and warmth of that sky and a human gesture erected by an unknown person wanting to make the world a safer or more intelligible place.