Thursday, August 19, 2021


The collective name for my most recent protagonists is ‘Rückenfiguren’ or alternatively, ‘Journeywomen’. Ironically, since they were freed from the ties that formerly bound them, they’ve spent most of their existence under lock and key, like fairy tale princesses of old. It seems they simply cannot escape their fate, no matter how hard they try.

Throughout the history of art, most notably in the works of German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, the Rückenfigur, or back figure, has gamely turned to face an unknown destination. She invites the viewer to empathetically share her perspective and ultimately, her journey. This time it appears to be a journey back into lockdown, at least for now.

Since I wrote the above, my much-disrupted show, BACKSTORIES, has been granted yet another stay of execution, this time to September 5. For that, I thank Stephen McLaughlan from the bottom of my heart. Nobody could have done more to keep my show alive. Based on recent experience, however, Delta may have other plans. As originally rescheduled, the show should have gone ahead and run its course completely uninterrupted. A couple of days before it was due to open, however, along came the infamous furniture removalists… 

At least I had an Opening Event to remember (see HERE and HERE). I have Stephen to thank for that too, not to mention the wonderful people who came along to help me celebrate. Heartfelt thanks also to those who have acquired works from BACKSTORIES. Despite its convoluted run, the show has had an overwhelmingly positive response. All of this has meant the world. It was my decision to have the show now and I firmly believe it was the right way to go. I’ve previously outlined why, and have absolutely no regrets. 

When the current lockdown ends, hopefully BACKSTORIES will have a few more days to shine and those still keen to see it will get a chance to do so. At this point, I can’t offer any more than that, not at a time when there’s so little to be sure of, and certainly not in the face of the rampant stupidity of the relative few whose selfish actions affect so many.

Pictured top: Emergent English Rose, 2019, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, stoically waiting for lockdown to end. Photo credit: the artist.

Installation views of BACKSTORIES at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery are by Tim Gresham. Click on individual images for a clearer view.