Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year

Just in the remaining embers of 2015, I thought I'd write a few lines about what has been an extraordinary year.

My uncle once said to me that as you get older, time passes more quickly.  Which is very often true.  However, there have been so many amazing things this year, that time has, in fact, elongated and curled and bitten its own tail, and generally done some very unusual timey-wimey things.

For a start, I've been to an awful lot of places, from side to side and up and down the country from Northern Ireland to Cornwall, to take photos for my shows

Lands End

to France

and Italy

Cerasi Chapel, S Maria del Popolo, Rome

and across the east coast of America.  Sometimes seemingly all in the same day (starting in Florida, and via New York, ending up in a hot tub in Connecticut, for example).  I saw an awful lot of the New Jersey Turnpike this summer.

I've also been to an awful lot of art exhibitions.  As well as standards such as the Royal Academy Summer Show, Barbara Hepworth's studio in St Ives and museum in Wakefield, and visits to the major galleries in New York, Paris and Rome, there's been 

Lee Miller and Picasso in Edinburgh (all about Picasso - no sense of Miller)
William Morris, Anarchy and Beauty at the National Portrait Gallery (not much about Morris)
Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery (stunningly informative exhibition, you can read both parts of my blog here and here)
Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain (curated by the man himself, and all the stronger for that)
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World at Tate Britain (disappointing)
Sonia Delauney at the Tate Modern (interesting and worthy)
Peter Lanyon at the Courthauld Institute (small, perfectly curated and inspirational)
Julia Margaret Cameron at the V&A (very interesting modern approach to the possibilities of the medium, allowing herself to be open to the blurred, the out-of-focus, the accidental, the shouldn't-be-there, the cracked plate, the collaged image and the experimental, letting the medium dictate the image.  However, the woman herself came across as rather overbearing)
Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy (blown away by the man)
Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the RA (insular and bonkers)
Lee Miller at the Imperial War Museum (if there was nothing of Miller herself in Edinburgh, it's all painfully here at the IWM)
Bill Viola at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and St Paul's Cathedral (both incredible.  Normally it's £18 to get into St Pauls, but if you go along at either 11.30am or  2.15pm Mon-Fri and say you're there to see Bill Viola's Martyrs, you can get in for free.  The artwork is down at the end on the right hand aisle.)
Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy (not as inspirational as I felt it should have been)

Then there's been an awful lot of concerts.  Australian Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Focus,  The Enid, Public Service Broadcasting, Grant Lee Phillips, Richard Thompson, Death Cab for Cutie, Simple Minds, Archive (twice), King Crimson (twice),  Steven Wilson (three times)

Steven Wilson, Royal Albert Hall (second night) - listen to the track that was playing to these images here

Steve Hackett (four times)

Shepherd's Bush Empire - I was in the front row.  It was so close I could see Steve's long fingernails.

and of course Yes (four times) 

 The setlist from Foxwoods, Connecticut

Billy Sherwood at NJPAC, Newark

Jon Davison at the Borgata, Atlantic City

Steve Howe playing in Brooklyn

In amongst all this, were exhibitions in London, Glasgow, Suffolk and Perthshire, and a full programme of preparing for and painting the work.  Plus Real Life as well.  Sadly, not everyone that we started the year with has ended the year with us. 

It does actually seem unbelievable that it all took place in only a year.

So, all in all, it's been the most amazing year.  Its been brilliant and beautiful and epic and life-affirming, and full of all the light and dark and colour and surprise that you could ever hope for.

So thank you to everyone.  You know who you are.  

And here's to next year.