Insanely it’s now a week since I helped hang my show in the One Hundred Years Gallery. My head has only just stopped spinning. I got up early last Wednesday to punt in a run and got to my studio early where the previous night I’d bubble wrapped and bungeed five paintings to a new, bigger collapsible trolley, aka Excelsior. Via a taxi I trundled into Cardiff Central, then wobbled onto my train to London. I had suspected beforehand that I wouldn’t be able to get the paintings into the luggage rack and so I spent the journey in the corridor with a watchful eye on the paintings. That watchful eye saw a kid ushered by his mum into a toilet just too late to avoid being sick. When the kid left the toilet he had the pallor of one of those fish who live on the bottom of the Ocean and never see the light.
I navigated around Paddington and onto the tube, then onto the Over ground then finally into Hoxton. Man it was a relief to get to the gallery. I shook hands with Graham the technician who I’d been having an email conversation with for the last fortnight and Monste the gallery owner. I unpacked the paintings I’d brought and thankfully bar a few scuffs they were all intact. So I set about working with Graham on putting up the paintings.
The gallery is in the basement and is a good space, unfortunately the walls are quite uneven, so it did take a bit of jiggery pockery to get the spacing right. The right side of the wall took a while to hang, but I was happy to give it all the time it needed. Slowly it came to together. The one wall informed how the other wall should look and the left side came together a lot quicker. I had a clear idea of how the paintings should alternate and relate to each other and thanks to Graham’s handy work it all came together. As soon as I saw the space three weeks ago I knew I wanted the large ‘untitled’ painting to be at the far end but we faced the problem of hanging it as Graham had told me that they’d tried to drill through the wall before with no luck. We settled on the practical solution of having the paintings on plinths. I would have preferred it to be on the wall but it still looked great on the plinths. I tied away the mountains of bubble wrap and met up with my lovely friend Bill – who was putting me up for the night – and had a pretty early night as I was exhausted.
The next day I killed some time until Sian arrived at 3pm. Went to the Tate Modern. I had really wanted to check a new gallery out, but I was a bag of nerves ahead of the Private View so I defaulted to the Tate and took in the Marlene Dumas exhibition while I was there which I loved. If it’s not too conceited a saw some similarities between our work both work on paper, both figurative painters.
Now, I had intended to do the Private View dry, but on a rainy night in Hoxton, with no one in at 6:15 and when Sian asked if I wanted a red wine I crumbled. Slowly but surely people turned up as did some sound artists led by Essien from Happenstance, I really enjoyed the sound artists. With the evening underway and with the help of a few red wines I relaxed and enjoyed yapping to anyone who would listen about the paintings. I loved it, I really loved it, looking around the room the paintings made sense all together and indeed it was the first time they had been all in the same room. I'd managed to get everything up to the gallery and framed in the space of three weeks which I’m more than a little amazed at. It was of course all helped by the wonderful Anastasia from Happenstance who not only offered me the chance to exhibit in the first place, but also did such a brilliant job framing the large painting and even arranging to get it delivered to the gallery. Later on I saw some pictures of musicians improvising around my work, would have loved to have been there for that, but hey you can’t have everything.
I want more of this.