“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” W.B. Yeats
As adults, so many of us forget to live in the moment, too busy thinking about what’s gone before or what’s coming next, while as children we are immersed in being. We are living now. Early experiences, which were so heightened by simply just ‘being’ are hard to repeat, yet we remain influenced by and sometimes nostalgic for our vision of these times. It is this that our two painters, Emily Ball and Julian Brown explore and seek to reveal in all their colourful, beautifully constructed and energetic work. We Live Now is a show that re-kindles this feeling and touches on the sheer joy, movement and presence of childhood.
Julian Brown is an artist who creates visual kaleidoscopes in an array of colourful patterns, grids and curves. His playful, folk art inspired work draws upon his childhood visions with a poignant awareness of his Polish heritage and a particular love for the wonder of the paper cut-out craft of Wycinakni, introduced to him by his mother. His adult self ponders, deliberates and considers this time. When he paints it is like a fleeting moment for the child to surface and the process of painting intuitively evolves, live and fluid. Brown indicates that this work is also about the relationship of colour and breaking down systems where he might teeter on the edge of success or failure. His work has a certain daring as he experiments and pushes boundaries, sometimes working canvases with layer upon layer of gesso until the surface is almost a mirror to then daringly sweep paths of colour on top, every move risking ruin of the perfection he has achieved, somehow so reminiscent of a child trying to perfect a new skill. Much like the imaginations of a childhood game, the work has many possibilities and could lead to any number of endings.
Emily Ball is a free and expressive painter who’s every line, colour, texture and shape is a response to what she sees, hears and touches. Ball is all about now. She is not sentimental in her work but instead brings a vitality and energy that is almost infectious. Her series of Swimming Pool Paintings were created as she watched her children learn to swim and captures the joy, pleasure and frustration they experience. Bold and big, with electric colours that abound on her large canvases and show an artist open and prepared to play with her art and work the paint to see what she can coax from it. She welcomes the viewer into her world, where we, and she, watch her children growing up and, in many respects she can express, in paint, the child within and without.