‘What matters is not the absolute truth but the sentiment that surrounded what happened.’
In the libidinal abstract hopscotch of painting, reminiscence, memory and time are overvaulted. 'The metaphorical traveller stands between the threshold of their inner and outer worlds’. So it is with David Webb’s work in Tourist Smoking Room; paintings transcend their abstractions to ooze and spill their guts of emotional intentions. Webb uses the stories told to him by his grandmother about her time in Tanzania as the trigger for making symbolic reminiscences of an East African other time. These stories become metaphors of passage and longing – a migration via Suez on the SS Uganda, where the patterned tabletops of the floating nursery are conflated with Parcheesi boards seen in a museum in Nova Scotia, or the blurred shape of a blobby, grey toy, prompt Webb to acknowledge that ‘it feels like a good time to both explore and reflect’. These are not mere postcards from either someone else’s misery, or narcissistic family history but something else entirely; they are the schematic manifestation of both conceptual and perceptual space; planes of remembrance or ‘emotion conveyed through colour and shape’. Webb was surprised to discover that the chairs in the tourist smoking room of the Uganda, which he knew from his grandmother’s black and white postcards, were in fact a brilliant blue. Here the dark hearts of continents, internal and geographical, become a transitional place where paint, form and memory collide.
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