David Brayne ,
Man to the Hills, Woman to the Shore
10th September - 1st October 2022
10th September 2022
White Space Art - Totnes
72 Fore Street
About the Exhibition
I recently stumbled across Seamus Heaney’s poem, Shore Woman.A poem provoked by an old Gaelic proverb, Man to the Hills, Woman to the Shore, in which he plays with the drama and the dynamics of the sea. It’s not the drama but the calm, lyrical moments I enjoy the most.
From time to time I find particular subjects keep coming back to me and I need to do something about them. Boats, figures by the edge of the sea or standing in an open landscape often recur. The proverb carries some weight for me and offers I hope a sympathetic title for the show.
Henry Moore often focussed on recurring subjects – the mother and child or reclining figures for example. He said that there’s always so much to consider when starting something new that using a subject you know is helpful,“if you don’t do that and you let everything in you’d just burst!’’
Of course the painting of a man and his dog walking towards an orchard is a direct reference to the proverb.
Our House is Filled with Many Birds (right) is quite different from the other paintings in the show. It’s the last piece I completed and harks back to a watercolour I exhibited at the Bankside Gallery, London in 2008. This was part of an exhibition I devised and curated for the Royal Watercolour Society which explored the relationship between poetry and painting. I invited 19 painters to create new work in response to a poem of their choice. I worked with the Poetry Society and commissioned a poem from Pascale Petit. All the exhibitors were asked to create an extra painting taking Pascale’s poem as their starting point. For my main watercolour I chose a line from a Frank Black song, I Burn Today – ‘Our house is filled with many birds, she said to me I can understand their words.’ I’ll leave a copy of the catalogue in the gallery during the show so you can see if the new painting stands up to the first one.