Pictures From My Heart
photo by Damian Griffiths
24 Apr – 16 May 2010
Gallery open: Fri-Sun 12-6pm
Pictures From My Heart features a selection of extraordinary drawings made by Emma Talbot following the death of her husband, Paul. These drawings grew out of a desire not only for emotional honesty but also for a simplification of her working process.
When poet and singer Patti Smith was asked if her recent memoir about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe had laid to rest some ghosts, she replied, ‘I am not looking for closure, that’s an illusion… just like pain… like when people say time heals all wounds, it doesn’t! What time does is it helps to transfigure it, marshal it and navigate it’.
These words mirror Talbot’s own process of navigation. ‘I was deciding what I essentially needed to make work. I started with just a few watercolours and paper and just began to draw everything that was in my mind. I no longer cared what anyone thought.’ The result is a searingly honest series of what Talbot terms ‘psychological stories’. There is a lot of telling here and not all of it doleful. There are images of life and love, of coming home drunk and feeling bad, snippets of Pablo Neruda poetry and quotes from The Smiths all rendered in an elegant European script and remembrances of times past sitting in front of grandma’s fire as a little girl. In these diaristic drawings time is compacted - the now and then flow in a nonlinear stream, all executed through Talbot’s masterful knowing of her own aesthetic.
These drawings did not spring from some presumed year zero of the artist’s practice, There are nuances here and creative decisions, which Talbot has honed over the years through her paintings. Yet there is also a new fearlessness, the sense that we are looking at the work of an artist at an important pinnacle of her career – the point where the artist has become so embedded with the work – that life and art are no longer separate and in Talbot’s sophisticated and sure hand a truly unique new language emerges.
To coincide with the show Transition are publishing the second in their Tranzine series. Emma Talbot’s Between the Shadow and the Soul is produced in an edition of 100, costs £3 and is available from Transition or online
Talbot lives and works in London. Her previous Transition exhibitions include The Craft, 2007 with Cathie Pilkington and I’ll be Your Mirror, 2005 (publication available). Her recent exhibitions include Party! at New Art Gallery Walsall, Storytime with Dexter Dalwood at Gallery North, Newcastle, One should not be thwarted by antidisestablishmentarianism, Primo Alonso, London and The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009.
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