I have been to such things before, but this one was a little different. This was the first solo exhibition of my friend Morbid. You might gather from his name that he doesn't always have the sunniest outlook on life, and he himself confesses to being something of a "troubled soul". I knew these were not going to be happy smiley pictures. I was expecting dark and disturbing and there was a distinct possibility that I wouldn't "get" them. I am grateful to him for posting his own thoughts on his blog - and allaying my fears that he might be hugely offended if I didn't get it... https://theblacklightengineroom.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/flying-solo/
I can't talk about artistic style and form, I don't know enough about art to recognise influences...but I can talk about content and colour and emotion. I can talk about my response to what I can see.
I saw a series of paintings filled with darkness and chaos, images in dark greens and blood reds, and black, bright oranges, blinding yellows and light, bright greens. I saw Angels looking anything but angelic, images of hunger and pain, of fire and burning, and of hell.
I felt a sense of pain, and loss, of helplessness and fear. I felt uncomfortable and bemused. I don't think that is an unexpected or unjust reaction.
The full title of the exhibition is "the liminal crawl-space" and it is accompanied by a poem "falling" written by Morbid in 1998. You don't need to read the poem to appreciate the exhibition but it does add an extra dimension. Imagine you are an angel, falling from heaven, cast out from all that was once dear and sacred to you. This exhibition is the crawl-space between heaven and hell. It is full of doubts and fears, the memories of heaven and happiness, the anguish of loss, and the struggle to understand. It is the moment between happiness and unhappiness, as you begin to understand the enormity and the hideousness of the transformation of your world.
Morbid joked that I would only take pictures of the pretty pictures. He was almost right. I am drawn naturally to the light. I like "easily she steps through the fire garden" with its muted greens - their coolness at odds with the fire garden of the title, I liked "these words", "there are no shadows" and "the green man", This does not mean that I didn't appreciate the others, they all tell the story but it is a pretty bleak one. My soul naturally seeks out the images that harbour a sign of hope.
My response may not be what other people experience when they view this exhibition. I know a very little bit of the background of the artist. I am also an eternal optimist. No matter how dark life gets I will always see a bright spot.
One of Saturday's enduring bright spots was the sight of Morbid proudly smiling despite all his attempts to look grave and serious like an artist should.