This morning I got a phone call from Karl telling me that Zest, the company with whom we’ve booked Bletchley Park as the venue for our civil partnership blessing/ wedding, (delete according to language you prefer), have gone into administration. Seeing as we had not got around to getting wedding insurance sorted and the transaction was too long ago to be recovered under the consumer credit act we appear to have lost our deposit. In terms of the venue booking we are waiting on Bletchley Park getting back to us again to let us know what’s happening – it appears they were taken as much by surprise as we were when Zest went into administration. It has to be said they were very good at responding to our initial enquiry, even if it was to tell us they didn’t have a definitive answer to give yet.
So that was the beginning of the day – and I have to admit I did find myself getting somewhat caught up in my own negativity. However, as I ventured outside for a meeting things began to change. It appeared spring had properly sprung today.
Wandering along the Redways to the town centre I was struck by the beauty and vibrancy of the colours in the nature around me. After the meeting and a quick trip to Sainsbury’s I happened to venture into the cafe in the University Centre for a quick drink. Not a coffee shop I’d actually been in before and more importantly not a gallery I’d properly explored before. I found myself accidentally encountering the most wonderful exhibition.
Of the City, (which I can’t find any links to online), is the current exhibition at UCMK Galleries. It runs until 22nd March and contains a mixed media exhibition with Painting by Andrew Brown, Printmaking by Jason Duggan and Photography by Mat Cross.
The guide to the exhibition describes it as an exhibition in which these three artists from Milton Keynes explore their responses to the urban landscape.
The paintings of Andrew Brown are described by him as ones which “usually begin with a representational approach, but evolve to take on a more poetic or expressive feel.” What was so striking about Brown’s paintings was the vibrancy and contrast of colour within them and the way in which they were able, according to the subject, able to evoke either traffic speeding around the city or slowly making its way along.
My favourite works in this part of the exhibition were Embankment Night which invited me into itself, asking me to go on a journey of urban discovery and London Night. The latter made me feel as though I was walking along one of the main streets in the capital seeing the bus before me, quite amazing.
What I think would work really well with an exhibition of just Brown’s work would be a punk and post-punk soundtrack of works by groups such as The Clash, Blondie, Ramones and The Strokes. New York Lights for example set The Strokes New York City Cops playing in my head.
The photographs of Mat Cross were able to do that thing I really admire in some modern photography of taking the modern, mundane and sometimes apparently ugly and turn it into something of beauty. Say Cheese which had one photo showing a phone box with flowers in the foreground and another with a man wandering through a puddle and Window Dressing which contained a fence with graffiti on it were two examples.
The printmaking of Jason Duggan was something which fascinated me. He used two main techniques dry point and wood relief. The results were incredibly different but equally beautiful. There was one Dry point which particularly grabbed my attention and that was Parisian Waiter. This exquisite print had eyes which followed you around the room and seemed to be wanting to grab you for an intellectual conversation where this man would expound upon art or music.
The wood relief prints which included Stolen Glance, Parisian Lamplight, Parisian Girls, Message and Moulin Rouge all had a contemporary post-punk feel to them and were incredibly vibrant. They again got a sound track playing in my mind but this one was more contemporary, it was the sounds of Razorlight, the Wombats and The Futureheads my mind responded to these pictures with.
As you can tell these pictures definitely grabbed a response for me and I really loved this exhibition. It was sheer joy and whilst the space isn’t anywhere as near as vast as the Tate Modern I found the art engaging with my spirituality on some level. Wandering home in the sunshine seeing the vibrant colours within nature and reflecting on the exhibition I had just wandered around as well as the new life bursting out of the branches and bushes around me I was struck by something wonderful. Within the beauty I’d encountered in town, in the art and nature, (and within one of those people you meet and just know is a person of peace), I had, on a bit of a shit day, been able to get a glimpse of the fingerprint of God within the soul of MK. That glimpse had been significantly strong to enable me to transcend my earlier feelings.