Hiding is difficult and running away is impossible but sometimes one can change up a gear and cruise away, the ghosts that always travel with you slip down between the seats or get trapped under the luggage. So I make no apologies for this, had a brilliant weekend in Paris. A vide-grenier in a couple of streets off the Canal St. Martin, the Rue Marie-et-Louise was the principal drag, at its centre is Le Bistro des Oies. Great food, huge quantities of wine, family, good company, all garnished with the most wonderful music provided by a local legend.
Lachlan Goudie came into view recently, mine and several million others. There is a lot to admire, talent, passion, intellect, rigour, practice. Some of the outcomes might not be your cup of tea but you cannot fault the honesty, intent and practice. Those sketchbooks are the real deal, that’s BG and BC, brilliant. He really does get it, I always think of Nicholson, that’s William, stunning still lifes and bags of style, a real dandy. I knew Lachlan as a young painter, he lived in Montmartre for a while and attended life classes at the Beaux Arts. I know, he really did, you would give your eye teeth to stick that on your CV. It was probably rubbish but, Beaux Arts, Academie Julian, read Rothenstein, lick the walls. He has cameras and snappy phones but he also has a pencil and a pen and a desire to communicate honestly and skilfully through his craft. Well, there's a whole lot of shitty words crammed into one paragraph, talent, passion, rigour, honesty, skill, craft, pencil, brilliant.
Thanks in part to Lachlan another Scot has rattled my chains. William Gear was Head of Fine Art at Birmingham back in my day, a really nice man and very encouraging. I remember the morning I saw my first Gear. I walked into the foyer, crossing to descend to the sculpture studio and there it was, Black Armature with Yellow, an absolute stonker, whip your breath away. Go and find a Gear, he was the real deal, played in the premier league, how does such an exciting and innovative painter get shut in the closet.
I am constantly surprised by the tenuous and yet tangible points of connection that occur in the map of our lives. William Gear, who I had known and admired in my eager twenties entered my daughter's life in her eager twenties. My daughter had become friends with Stephen Gilbert in Paris and was involved in researching his story and his art. Gilbert and Gear met in Paris in 1947, and for further amusement, Gear took a studio at 13 Quai des Grands Augustins. My eldest daughter Hannah had her first Paris apartment on the Grand Augustin. Enough.
I recall a magic afternoon visiting his small sculpture studio tucked away in a quiet courtyard, sheltering only metres away from the Paris din. Dogged hand tools, small sculptures, models, maquettes, all lying where he had left them on his last visit. No
technicians, technology, overdrafts, grants oozing from the extractor system; barely any electricity or running water, bloody heroic, overwhelmed with privilege.
AGED AND AWKWARD