mjj (flemmings) wrote,

So the Guardian has an article about David Inshaw, best known perhaps for The Badminton Game, an early and recognized masterpiece.

I love that picture, in spite of its precarious balance between menace and nostalgia. Menace, obviously- the greens too green, the corners too exact, the topiary too strange, the house like a house in a child's drawing (referencing once again, Marianne Dreams.) For the last twenty-four hours I've been trying to remember when we were last talking about a lingering sense of disquiet in an artist's work. Thank heaven for tags- it was the Colville exhibit last December. But Colville's disquiet is different from this. Colville is all things as they are, in the pale and washy Maritime light. Inshaw is all high-colour surrealism, though nothing is overtly surrealistic in the paintings. No melting watches or dead gloves here; more a hyper-realism, the true reality behind what the eye sees.

And nostalgia? As someone said in the comments to the Graun article, The Badminton Game *is* 1972. The commenter was younger than I, and his associations were all summer afternoons with school term about to start. Mine were all the blue of an exceptionally cold July in England just after a university year of Old English poetry and medieval history, with Sutton Hoo and Wydsith and the Lewes chessmen fresh in my mind and, as it seemed, only the day before yesterday in terms of English times. The sun of July '72 felt like the sun that saw the blond invaders arriving and their tombs built on the downs. (Wrong period, of course, but all the radio stations were playing Immigrant Song at the time.) Insmith lives in Wiltshire where the pre-historic and Anglo-Saxon times seem to pile up so thickly, and his too green landscapes evoke that sense of far past bleeding into present quite distinctly- as though nothing had happened here between the 6th century AD and the present.
Tags: art, history, music

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