"At the still point of the turning world... at the still point, there the dance is”
Millennium presents 'The Still Point' an exhibition of new paintings by Joy Wolfenden Brown opening on the 20th July.
This exhibition in particular connects the artist to what she describes as "a need to slow down and be still as the world appears to be overtaking and speeding by". She cites in particular in conversation the hearing of a prayer; 'God of Snails and Tortoises' (listed at the end of this introduction) - as having a profound effect on her one which helped her to realise a way forwards.
Joy Wolfenden Brown’s paintings possess immense raw emotional honesty and as such feel hauntingly familiar. She captures fragments of experiences and moments in time where the inherent vulnerability of the figures depicted , often a lone figure, is palpable. These are beautifully yet spontaneously executed reflections on the human condition, which have an unnervingly yet comforting unmasked quality.
So much contemporary figurative painting makes cultural references, analysing the society that we live in, often taking an external vantage point or ‘third person’ perspective. What is rarer is to see work that talks so truthfully, of what lies within in such an unguarded way, and the integrity of the work seems to break down the adult constructed emotional barriers that we all put up. As Joseph Clarke the Director at Millennium says, ‘The German expressionist Kathe Kollwitz once urged us to ‘look at life with the eyes of a child’. For me the power of Wolfenden Brown’s painting is to remind us of the child, with joy and vulnerability, who lurks within all of us.’
God of snails and tortoises and of those things that move slowly in the world,
give us courage
to slow down,
to be still,
to inhabit each moment more fully.
Help us to know when to travel slowly,
so that others may overtake us,
going at their speed, not ours. God of the seasons,
unhurried in their rhythm of change and renewal,
retune our pulse to your beating heart that we might know ourselves fully alive
in your unchanging love. Amen.
When I start to paint, time as I know it outside of my studio ceases to exist. My studio is my safe home and in its stillness the ‘truths’, the ‘memories’, the essence of what already exists within, are stirred up.
T.S.Elliot said “At the still point of the turning world... at the still point, there the dance is”. I am learning to tune and retune myself to the rhythm of this dance. At times it can take courage to slow down and be still when the world appears to be overtaking and speeding by.
I return to painting day after day because I want to be there to record the moments when truth breaks through.
JOY WOLFENDEN BROWN. 2012
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