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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings

The Chapel

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The Chapel 2000
thechapel2.jpg
Acrylic on wooden block 10 x 10 cm

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About the Picture

When I was a child I stayed in London with my Great Aunt Mavis. I was 7 or 8 at the time and had a fantastic time visiting museums, wondering at dinosaur bones, exploring the Tower of London, and all those other tourist clichés. But what I remember most was a trip to Westminster Abbey. We looked at the stained glass window, and I was mesmerised by the colour and light. My Aunt being a patron of the arts (she volunteered at the Victoria and Albert Museum for much of her life) was surprised at my aesthetic sensibility; quite precocious for a child. I never thought of it this way; my memory is of something beautiful and nothing more, but from this early memory something has grown into my adult life as a love of colour in art. This tiny painting, which in actual fact is closer to a small painting tile, a fetish or amulet, is about the darkness of church light. Something strange but cold: the stone walls, the Alter; the dread of the sacred that fills such spaces. The phrase for me that describes this painting is: life lights up death. So, whilst this painting was not made for such Mavis as such, since her death this summer, I have revised its meaning for me, and found a little place of remembrance here: I'll think of her showing me London that summer all those years ago for the rest of my life.

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