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A touch of the hem? Haunting Vibrancy

October 27, 2012

Walking around leicester today… …it’s been a while. People; characters, so many different lives, weaving the mesh that is….

I can’t find words… my routine day to day life hides me from the vibrancy of people! I guess I’m naive and fail to see outside of my habits and duties.

‘Iguanagone’ by Frank Bowling OBE, RA.
Leicester New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

We came across this painting ‘Iguanagone’ in Leicester’s New Walk Gallery – Iguanagone (The Council’s photograph does an injustice) I find it hauntingly vibrant, deeply resonant, why?  I’m not familiar with Bowling or any issues he’s exploring.  Is that ok?  What can we take from viewing this artwork?  Is it like hearing a song in another language?  Is it like entertaining a stranger?

August Sander, Farming Family 1912
© SK Stiftung Kultur, Bonn/All Rights Reserved DACS 2011

Also on display at New Walk is a collection of photography by August Sander.  Again, some of these images, especially as a collective, are intriguing. Images of characters, people, from the early part of the last century.  Strangers again, but strangely, hauntingly familiar?

Thoughts come back to ‘people’, so different… yet supposedly essentially the same?

Am I just naively seeing the wrappers, the book jackets, the brandings, the tribal clichés?

At a quick glance the rich tapestry of the initial experience is vibrant, but the resonance is deeper (or closer?) than that. The essential character is hauntingly present.

I don’t know what, and it might only be a touch of the hem of truth, but…
I know something about Frank’s ‘Iguanagone’. I know something about August’s ‘Farming Family’.
I know something about the tattooed girl in the coffee queue, the man up the ladder, the youths bunched around a secret, the mother fraught with baggage, the uniformed assistant, the proud bus driver, the dedicated follower of fashion, the struggling student, the carefree young man, the obsessed teen, the wizened ladies, the brillcreamed old soldier, the businessman, the lost girl, the tourist, the thief, the addict, the artist, and even myself…

I know something about them, but probably only just a glimpse of something true.

JPR Harrowgate Flower Show 2012

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