An exhibition of recent work by Doreen Fletcher 14th November – 20th December 2020
It is four years since ‘Lost Time’, that first exhibition here of Doreen Fletcher’s earlier paintings of the East End. In that time there has been much wider recognition of her work: a monograph published by Spitalfields Life Books after that first discovery recounted in the Gentle Author’s blog, a retrospective of her work at Bow Arts and features on radio, television and in numerous publications. Doreen’s work caught the public imagination, capturing the cultural memory of an East End at the moment it was disappearing.
Much has changed in Doreen’s life since those early days. She stopped painting in 2003 moved to Forest Gate and started painting again ten years later. Her work is now of an extended East End, but her inspiration is still largely dependent on the routes she takes and what she sees as she travels by public transport or by car.
The East End has of course changed too since those paintings of the 80s and 90s, and so Still Standing, the title of this 2020 exhibition, might seem a contradiction. It was a landscape at the point then of overwhelming change and many of the buildings in Doreen’s early work are long gone. Not all however, and the title conveys something about Doreen’s focus: it is the importance in her work of the passage of time. Buildings are monumental, they are built to last and although they may crumble, fade and eventually disappear, they endure. The contrast with the ephemeral marks we leave on these buildings whether graffiti, lettering or even notes is a source of constant interest to her in her work.
As this exhibition is likely to be very popular it will be necessary to book to visit the gallery during the show – please contact us to reserve a slot. These will be in half hour blocks for a total of ten people in the gallery, with a maximum of two people per booking.
A new enlarged edition of Lost Time, incorporating Doreen’s new work on show here, will be published to accompany the exhibition and will also be available to order online from early November.
At the beginning of this year, which seems a lifetime ago, I asked for submissions to an Open exhibition which I was planning to hold in the gallery this summer – then everything came to a halt. So I’m pleased to say that the exhibition is finally opening on Saturday 12thSeptember and will run until Sunday 25thOctober. In the event of a further lockdown that prevents physical opening of the shop, the paintings and artist statements will all be on the website on the homepage and on the events page, and a video of the exhibition will be posted on YouTube.
Organising this has not been like any other exhibition at Town House. In the early days of lockdown the submissions started to arrive and because the theme for the exhibition was the East End I found many of them very moving. For all of us involved the exhibition became something special; certainly a light at the end of the tunnel and something to look forward to, but also a chance to relate to something in lockdown that clearly means a lot to many people. The exhibition took on a sense of community, even though all of this was being conducted by email, and it is something you can feel as you read the artists’ statements now.
There is a wide range of styles and subjects. There are many local landmarks and favourites of course: Arnold Circus, Leila’s shop, Fournier St, stations, pubs, the docks and the river (the East End theme acquired a certain elasticity as time went on and I became keen to include everyone who had submitted). Many of the paintings inevitably look at the heritage of the East End and the issues facing it today, but they use interesting and sometimes humorous ways to do so. One artist has been locked out of his studio since the beginning of lockdown and re-submitted with an entry that reflects his original focus on domestic isolation, but now with added layers referencing his own mental state, the effect of lockdown and the perceived threat outside the safety of the home. By chance the threat he has used, fire, was also what led to the naming of Brick Lane with the demand for bricks in the aftermath of the Fire of London, so I decided it has an East End theme.
Some of the artists are well known and some less, and I’m delighted to welcome back previous exhibitors here Doreen Fletcher, Eleanor Crow, Marc Gooderham, Nicholas Borden, Peta Bridle and Louise Burston and to meet the new ones. These are tough times for artists, please support them and that doesn’t have to be by buying: visiting the exhibition, commenting on social media or following them there will all help to show support and convince them it’s worth carrying on. I think all of us have doubted the future course of exhibitions, painting and art in general over the past few months.
Above all enjoy the exhibition, I’m really looking forward to seeing all these hung together in the gallery here and to welcoming you here.
Just to re-assure you there is a foot operated hand sanitiser on entry to the shop and another in the gallery, all staff will be wearing visors and although the coffee shop will be open again and ready to serve cake, in accordance with the guidelines there will be no access to the kitchen itself for the time being.
Submissions date extended to April 30th!
Town House is having an Open exhibition this summer! The aim is to encourage as many artists as possible to submit as I want to have a wide range of artists’ work here over the summer, with many different interpretations of the East End theme. So please tell anyone you know about it who might be interested
It is open to residents of the UK who wish to submit an original painting in oil, acrylic or watercolour up to A1 in size or an original (portable) sculpture. Submissions end on 5th April and for more details and the submission form see
I’m delighted to announce a selling exhibition of the East End paintings by Peri Parkes – the latest in a series of exhibitions here showcasing East End artists from the later 20th century. Peri was living and working in Bow from the late 1970s to the early 1990s and, having trained at the Slade when William Coldstream was still its head, Peri’s work is very much of the ‘through the window’ Euston Road School. The early series of the backs of houses in Conder Street are meticulously recorded with luminous washes of paint, before he moves on to a series of paintings of city skylines and some familiar local landmarks prior to his departure for Cornwall in 1993.
The exhibition runs from 22nd November – 8thDecember and please get in touch if you’d like any further information
An exhibition to accompany publication of the book of the same name featuring over eighty of Eleanor’s watercolours from the book, including some new ones
At a time of momentous change in the high street, Eleanor’s witty and fascinating personal survey champions the enduring culture of Britain’s small neighbourhood shops. Eleanor’s collection includes eighty of her watercolours of the capital’s bakers, cafés, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, chemists, launderettes, hardware stores, eel & pie shops, bookshops and stationers. Her pictures are accompanied in the book by the stories of the shops, their history and their shopkeepers – stretching from Chelsea in the west to Bethnal Green and Walthamstow in the east.
The watercolours are £150 framed (A5) and larger ones are £210 framed.