Open Studio
12 Aug 20 by justatest
Usually mindful to maintain quiet isolation when working in the studio, I decided to challenge that habit and directly paint the walls of this art center gallery during it´s opening hours whilst the public chatted and walked around me in the space.

Side wall

In those days I never photographed the work I did, so these images are taken from a few snaps someone gave me after the show.

Side wall

I showed up with a big box of oil paints, brushes, turpentine, linseed oil, lots of rags, and various ancillary items.
The gallery was rectangular with a bank of windows overlooking the street at ground level. The main wall at the back was where I was concentrated for the bulk of the four weeks there. Two smaller walls at the sides completed the room.
An odd feature of the space was the presence of multiple scaffolding poles which had been spaced around the room to support the aged ceiling.

work in progress main wall

work in progress main wall
work in progress on main wall

After taping up a 10m x 2m area, and having no preconceived idea to begin with, the work on the main wall began. At first I was a little anxious about the visitors passing through the gallery but quickly learned to pay no attention to their presence as the work pulled me in.

work in progress on main wall (detail)

At particularly difficult passages or if time was pressing, I´d request the keys to the gallery to paint alone and undisturbed through the night.

work in progress on main wall (detail)

Looking back at these photos I see a work made with the assurance of youth. I wonder if I´d be able to do such a thing now? I think I´d probably lack the self-confidence.
Anyway, I remember hoping something might come out of the show such as a request for a mural somewhere but there was nothing. I wasn´t even paid for the month I spent there. The administrator cleverly knew a young painter would jump at the opportunity just to have the gallery to himself.
I also found it odd that the gallery administrator had no photos taken of the work (neither in progress nor finished state), not even for archival purposes.

Oil on main wall, 2m X 10m (view from right)

Instead of an exhibition opening, at the end of the month a celebratory closing event was held. The next day the walls were scraped and repainted white.

Oil on main wall, 2m X 10m (view from left)

Many years later I submitted a proposal for a show in the same gallery but it was met with a blank refusal.
Disappointed but undaunted, I decided to place the main piece of the rejected proposal in public view outside my own studio [LINK].