Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Exhibition Going Well At Home

http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the exhibition A Graceful Death now showing
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me for details of the exhibition venue and any other
comments you may wish to make



Exhibition Going Well At Home




Here is a taste of the paintings. This is a "Loneliness Triptych or Where Did You Go."




I shows how I felt the total absence of Steve, who has simply gone. All I had left were objects that were his and had no life, and yet were still here. His slippers feature in a few of the paintings; they were a symbol of his being here and comfortable with me.




Now. The exhibition is set up in my sitting room and hallway, which have been transformed into a Homes and Gardens Gallery with Lillies In Vases by Maddy and her husband Alan (we both have an Alan. One each ladies, there is enough to go around) and Maddy's two younger children. They came on Sunday and washed my house. They washed the walls, the ceilings, the doors, the floors. They removed every item of furniture and put them under the stairs, in the kitchen, in the sitting room and on the landing. Maddy's son locked himself in the downstairs loo and washed and prepared it as if it were a finalist in the Ideal Homes Exhibition. It is so shiny and perfect and tastefully decorated I thought I may guide visitors to it to just have a look when they needed the loo, and tell them they could have gone here but it is only for looking at, it is too perfect to wee in and then take them upstairs to the family bathroom. Upstairs in the family bathroom, if only my visitors knew, if Maddy hadn't mended it they would have had to remove the cistern lid and put their hands into the water to find the gadget to pull so that the loo would flush. We all took it in our stride and said Oh Well, Mustn't Grumble every time we went to the loo. Maddy came and said Bloody Hell and phoned for a plumber. See how we need her?

There was a huge turn out for the Opening Night Party on Monday. I was very happy. Alan's dear son was with me to help and we had wine and nibbles ready, the house turned into a gallery, fancy flowers and fairy lights everywhere and the paintings glowing in the scented candle light. Furniture piled into every other space with a door to close on it and hide it, including the kitchen. Within an hour, I noticed that most of the fancy and up-market guests had followed 16 Year Old Son into the kitchen and were sitting around the kitchen table with pots of tea and spotty tea mugs and the Goodies Baskets from on top of the fridge on the table where they were tucking into crisps and chocolates and biscuits. It was a sophisticated affair till you got to the kitchen door through which were sounds of clinking crockery and cheerful jolly banter. It was like the Staff Were Having A Party while the posh evening was going on outside. It was true to form that most of us ended up amongst the piled up furniture, around the kitchen table, drinking strong tea from endless teapots, and laughing and chatting over mountains of crisp and Cadbury's Fruit and Nut wrappers. We are, it seems, sophisticated and deeply intellectual, but only up to a point.




Yesterday I had some serious people come to see the paintings. Dear little 13 Year Old Son is off school with a bad cough and cold, and is upstairs in bed. At certain points during the day, as I showed my visitors around the exhibition and talked of Death, Dying and Reincarnation, we could hear a soft flop flop flop sound coming towards us. Through the door comes 13 Year Old Son in his bare feet, long, white bare feet like a Hobbit, and his tiny Harry Potter pyjamas I bought when he was about 8 years old, and his red dressing gown with a hood pulled up over his head. In silence he plods across the exhibition and out through the french windows into the wild Outside and disappears. My guests don't know he has just popped over to the heated studio in the garden to use the computer. They don't know that he has very little idea of how to dress and also that he is deaf in one hear and misses quite a few Audible Clues around him. They don't know that he doesn't feel the cold and never wears slippers or shoes if he can. They see the Mad Boy I Keep Upstairs come down and make his way, like a mystery, throught the house and back into the garden, where he probably will spend the night in his wild nest under a hedge. It is even more dramatic when the darkness has fallen and I am talking in the exhibition room with my erudite guests when the french doors open and a creature of the night, in a red dressing gown with the hood up (it is raining) and bare feet (he is just like this) and tiny Harry Potter pyjamas comes into the room and neither looking left nor right plods across the room and disappears into the House. We all stop and watch him and I say Oh That is Just My Son. He is Not Well, But He Is Normal. And we continue the guided tour of the paintings.

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