Tuesday, May 1, 2012

'Samuel Spencer', (Stanley Spencer's Beaufort war hospital work 'Washing Lockers' revisited)

Original work by Stanley Spencer, 'Washing Lockers', currently at Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire.
Following text sourced from the Tate archives and The Spencer family correspondence in the Berkshire Record Office. This text is the starting point of my paintings. "As a small child Stanley suffered frightening nightmares. In the morning he would wake to find himself removed into his parents' bed, lying between their - to him - huge and comforting bodies. He has carried the association - protectiveness - into the actions of the orderly scrubbing the floor. There, ensconced between the massive shapes of the baths, he can find momentary peace." In this text Stanley is reffering to the Baths at the Beaufort war hospital where he served as an orderly. My first response to the painting and the text is below in 'Spencer Bathtubs 1'
After reading the biography on Stanley Spencer by Kenneth Pople, I have attempted to analyse 'Washing lockers' through painting again, and the result is the following work 'Samuel Spencer'. Oil on Paper laminated to plywood with binder medium.
A bit I wrote about the current work. ‘Samuel Spencer’ is a painting commenting on English artist Stanley Spencer’s work “Washing lockers” created from his experiences as an orderly at the Beaufort war hospital, as well as an interpretation of the following passage of text from Kenneth Pople’s biography on Stanley Spencer which talks about the Washing lockers: “Between the bath’s, his back to us another orderly scrubs the floor. ‘Again it is Stanley, once more able to catch hold of a little bit of spiritual life’: the piece of sacking on which he kneels is a prayer mat’.” “He is between the baths. Their shapes loom over him protectively, close him in, provide a security.” In my work ‘Samuel Spencer’ I have placed myself in the same position as Stanley, looking between a bath of significance in my own life (which has been mirrored to create a space for myself to enter, in the same way Stanley is entering Washtubs at Beaufort). My work is a platform that acts as a transitional space between Stanley’s and my own memories.

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