One of the side effects of all this doing has been that I've never quite married time with inclination to talk about exhibitions and the like. Well, there is now an easing off of pressure, and a slight feeling that I might at last be catching up with myself. However, I can't do that all in one shot! I'll go by location.
First, and far too late, a couple of long-finished Bath exhibitions. The Bath Society of Artists' Annual show closed more than three weeks ago, now. I declare an interest - I had a print in the exhibition, and it's still a thrill to see my work on a gallery wall - but I really enjoy open exhibitions. I know a lot of people object to so much stuffed in, everything hugger-mugger with scarcely room to breathe, but I like it. It's bright, cheerful, the viewer has no idea what will be next. There again, I like bunting, and my christmas tree is bazaar-like, not themed.
My parents saw the show before I did and delivered their (different) verdicts, one of which was that it wasn't as good as last year. Perhaps inevitably, therefore, I entered expecting less, which (just as inevitably) it delivered. Except it didn't really. The more I looked, the more I saw, the more I liked (to my taste, obviously, not necessarily to my parents'), so why that initial impression? I wondered if it was lack of big works, that draw the eye in, and decided it was, before realising that actually there were big works. So I don't know what the first impressions were all about, except that they were unfair, and in fact on a return visit my parents decided the show was far better than they had thought on their initial trip, so it wasn't all down to a difference in artistic tastes.
I'm always drawn to original prints - though not exclusively - and was almost bound to like a collagraph by Amanda Ralfe, whose work I already admire enormously. She manages to translate the essence of the Wiltshire downs into deceptively simple landscapes, and I love them. Taking photos at open shows, however, is rather a nightmare - my arms aren't long enough for the high work, and at the best of times all my photos are on the skew, so please don't look for a quality picture!
I thought I was going to see etchings or drypoints, but in fact the works by Fiona Robinson are created from, for instance, charcoal, graphite, chalk and wax. Her mark making is in response to musical pieces, very cool and controlled, evoking perhaps a private performance to a small audience as much as the music itself. All classical, I seem to remember, and you'd think I might have noted down a piece or two. In fact, I thought I had, but no. All I have is a collection of extremely scrappy notes on the back of the flyer, and the flyer itself is only of partial help - it names other artists in the show, including Nicola Tassie (elegant ceramics), but not others whose work was there. I would like to name them myself, but the notes I made are truly poor, so that I can no longer link artist with art. You know, if I'm going to talk about exhibitions, I shall have to do better than this! My only excuse, such as it is, is that I didn't expect to leave such a lengthy gap between then and now. Anyway, here's the flyer, with a detail from one of Fiona Robinson's pieces, 'Partita 3, Bach'.
And that's enough of Bath. If nothing else, I've had a valuable lesson in just how quickly the detail of memory blurs with time, and how important it is to remember that before the weeks go by.