The whole point of a blog I suppose is that one should post something on a fairly regular basis. I can give all sorts of excuses as to why I haven’t posted anything recently (in fact the last one was in May) I have been very busy and my sister was getting married and I had relatives home from abroad and because I have often not been at home I have been out of broadband coverage (believe it or not in 2010) I think the real reason was that I thought no one was reading the blog. Well how wrong I was!! At a post wedding get together recently a niece of mine asked why I wasn’t blogging anymore. It never occurred to me that she would be bothered reading them (but glad you were Myra!) Inspired by this and encouragement from others as well, I am restarting as of today.
The painting I want to share my thoughts on is a painting by the artist Martin Gale who although born in England, moved to Ireland at an early age. The painting is called Bachelor and is of a house in a rural landscape.
The house looks as if it is no one lives there, glass in one of the windows appears to be broken and the grass around the house is uncut. The title suggests that someone does live here, a bachelor, probably living alone. To me, this is an image of loneliness and even without the title, I think the painting depicts this very well . It is very interesting that Gale has chosen to paint a house while referring to a person and I think this is what makes this work so disquieting. Had he painted an image of a man, the impact of what he is saying could well be lost. Houses such as this one dot rural Ireland, inhabited by men who never married and who stayed on small holdings, often only barely making a living.
Gale paints in a photo-realist or hyper-realist style and much of Gale’s work deals with images of the Irish landscape, (although townscapes feature as well) and all of them seem to have this disquieting element. They provide a commentary on rural life in a modern Ireland, which has rapidly changed over the past two decades. These are not the pretty postcard image of the Irish landscape, so beloved of photographers. They suggest isolation, uncertainty and unease in a time of great change.