Last week I went to see an exhibit by Christopher French at the Copley Society called ' Carscapes '. I'm sure the Blowhards would approve of his paintings: it's not so much that they are literal representations, which they are, as they look exactly the way the street he has painted feels. I get the same feeling looking at his paintings that I get when I read an old blog post of mine, written about some harmless thing that I did on such and such a day, at such and such a time. It just reminds me, you know? And I love to be reminded.
But, I have to say, even more than the paintings (which I loved), I have a perfect image of a Saturday night on Newbury St, early in the evening, 7 or 8 o'clock, with the sky dark and bright lights strung on leaveless trees, the best kind of glittering Christmassy city lights. I met J at a reception that took place at the Copley Society and mingled a bit, looking at the artwork in the small gallery before heading to the back room, where Christopher's paintings hung. There were other pathologists there that I knew (Christopher French is a pathologist as well as an artist) and lots of people that I didn't.
The room is oblong and has white walls; you climb up a few stairs at the front to reach it. The walls are covered with paintings, most small in size, a few collages, one funny bunch of black roses in a cluster, perfectly preserved, set on the wall between square-framed paintings. J liked a minature landscape, painted in oils I think, with a square brown frame almost larger than the tiny painting itself. I liked the collages of course, and a framed brown-and-white photo of a jazz singer, whose name I can't remember. I liked it for it's slight blurriness and sense of life - you could just imagine the room that he was in and the smell of the smoke and the sound of the music. I like artwork - music, books, paintings - with 'spaces' so that you can imagine for yourself what to fill in. I like a little mystery. I met a wonderful couple while mingling at the reception, a doctor (so many doctors are artists! Or try to be, given the constraints) and a third grade teacher. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to call. We all remarked on how hard it can be to make friends in Boston. Everyone is so busy and, every so slightly, reserved.
I left a little early, telling J I had a headache, but mostly, I wanted to walk outside in the fresh air. And, I wanted to be silent. Which is why I haven't written much lately, I think. I am so quiet these days.....anyway, I walked past the subway stop, marveling at the tiny, precise, white lights shining from tiny, precise white light bulbs, hanging in the trees that line Newbury at regular intervals, and gazing at the clothes in the windows. I stopped in Benetton - just ducked in and ran up the white stairs to the upper floor. "You look like you have a question," one of the salespeople says to me, and I answer, with my nose wrinkling, "Are people wearing coats that short?" I swear, some of the blazers looked like they had been chopped in half. I can't imagine any woman under 6 feet tall and over 100 pounds who could carry off those jackets....and then I walked back out, without trying anything on (I did price a quilted down coat for the winter, though), and ran for the subway.
Rambling I know, but it's my mood these days. And how does Christopher French find the time and the space to create such beautiful things? He's talented, that's how.