I first saw this building in Dagenham on the way to the hospital in Romford. I was struck by its composure and monumentality, despite being surrounded by a plethora of bins and scarred by graffiti. It was a Sunday afternoon and not a soul in sight. I discovered that during the sixties and early seventies, it had been a bowling alley that had been built opposite the formidable Ford Motor Works. I was struck by the building’s quiet dignity despite the weathered chaos that had assaulted it and I wanted to convey something of this.
The combination of monumental abstract elements along with a certain narrative aspect was to me rather appropriate given we were on our way to visit a family member in hospital at the time, and I was reminded of when I saw an exhibition of paintings by Piet Mondrian in my early twenties. I was struck by the pure intensity induced by the placement of such simple elements. Viewed as illustrations in books, his work had never interested me, but seen in actuality they were less immaculate than they had at first appeared.
Ironically, I was contacted recently by a follower who asked if I had ever painted Barking or Dagenham, the patch of London where he grew up. I sent him an image of Mountain of Fire and Miracles as a work in progress and I was delighted to be informed that he had spent time there when the building was used as the bowling alley.
Doreen Fletcher 2020
Mountain of Fire and Miracles 2020 £4,800 oil on canvas 91 x 122cm (36 x 48”) unframed
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