“My life may be miserable but I am not.”
There’s a delightful exhibition on currently at the October Gallery in Old Gloucester Street, London. I’d never even heard of Gerald Wilde (who died in 1986) before but there are some paintings (in fact mainly pastels and gouache) on show which would have been sorely tempting if only I’d had the wall space. Boxers, for example, with a few, spare strokes, captures the whole feel of the movement, dance, and power of the boxing ring, while Rum For Daphne has a fluidity and an element of fun about it, but also a surrealistic, slightly unsettling aspect….. intriguing and contradictory. Wilde’s work is brilliantly summed up by David Sylvester who commented, “his work has the exhilaration of a disaster just averted”.
Wilde’s teachers were Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore – and it’s the influence of the latter which is seen most clearly in another dream-like image which I really liked, Circus Clown.
It reminded me of a magical visit to Giffords Circus in the summer. This traditional, family circus had pitched its big top in Marlborough when I went to see it. Talk about making your dreams come true, this village green circus company was founded by Nell Gifford who, on leaving Oxford, remembered magical childhood evenings watching acrobats and animals, and determined to elegantly recreate the experience. No wonder that, in 2010, the Groucho Club awarded her their Maverick Award. The concept for last summer’s show was developed by Cal McCrystal and focused bizarrely on a trip to the moon.
Afterwards we ate at Circus Sauce, a travelling restaurant housed in two showmen’s wagons hung with colourful embroideries and tapestries where food is served at communal oak tables, lit by huge candelabra.
This is a version of the pork pie which we wolfed down post show– it was sparked alive by lashings of colourful piccalilli and washed down with some robust red wine.
Giffords Circus’ show for 2016 is The Painted Wagon.
From the Abyss is on at the October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, WC1 until 30 January 2016.
Apologies – we are currently improving this recipe – it will be reposted soon.
An excerpt from Giffords Circus, Moon Songs