"Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars." - Oscar Wilde
The window is one of the unsung heroes of lockdown. When Covid-19 forced our collective retreat and stay-at-home days stretched ahead elastic and without end, it was the window that offered particular solace.
Looking out became one of the few ways to connect to the world outside. People started “window swapping” their views all over the world on social media. The Facebook group “View from My Window” quickly amassed 2.5 million members. The views are as diverse and unique as the people who shared them. What unites them is that, no matter how glamorous or mundane, in every window view, a human presence is implicit and a collective experience is shared.
Maybe the window also gave us the opportunity for freedom - metaphorical only, obviously. While confined indoors the act of gazing out offered some mental escape and space to think, to daydream, reflect and to remember.
The window view has distracted me and inspired my art for a long time, and this has been no less true during lockdown. The window pane itself, marked by changes in the light and weather is my picture surface. The subject allows me to explore the mechanics of painting, attending to colour, abstraction and detail, while registering human experience.
Nostalgic views of once vibrant London, largely empty in lockdown, are made opaque by the reflection of light on condensation, the doodled smiley face offers a hopeful human presence.
- Lucy du Sautoy