Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leonora Carrington

It's suddenly gone colder and wintery, dark early and the office feels more industrious... perhaps I feel extra shut into it somehow.

I'm going to see an exhibition this weekend of some Leonora Carrington drawings. She died this year in May aged 94.  I saw the Serpentine retrospective in 1991 and had never felt quite that passionate before about paintings. I bought the poster, which has now lived with me in 7 different homes, getting steadily tattier but much loved:

Portrait of the Late Mrs Partridge 1947
I remember my mum thought Surrealism was a bit of a teenage phase, and it's true I grew out of liking the others, but not Leonora. Although it is also true that I no longer paint homages to her which include self-portraits. I remember a giant oil painting I began in my bedroom which featured me as a Leonora-esque wraith wafting around my grandparent's lawn (can't remember what the symbolism was supposed to be)... it was utterly meaningless and I was SO keen on it. I remember feeling certain that when people saw it, it would blow their minds. "This was painted by Tor?" "But she's only a a teenager! She's a genius! etc" I never finished it, and the wet oil paint got covered in grime and dust. Which also reminds me of a painting I did when I was obsessed with fairies and folklore - it was of wood nymphs wrapped around trees. My mum told me years later that it was literally the most phallic thing she'd ever seen, and I cringed for a while thinking how proudly I'd displayed it in the art room. Ho ho!

I really recommend Leonora Carrington's funny, strange books, The Hearing Trumpet and The Seventh Horse and Other Tales, if they are still in print.

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