'Brighter Days'. Although chosen before the current crisis, Luke’s title seems remarkably prescient. These images record a life at once familiar and yet suddenly, seemingly a distant memory. Now that many of us are reduced to the tyranny of life through a small screen of one description or another, our lived experience of a few short weeks ago seems somehow unreal. The daily commute through the city now curtailed to a few steps to a hastily improvised office in the spare bedroom. A planned family holiday on a beach in Cornwall, now diminished to a tent on the back lawn.
This life, that rolled on with such inevitability, at such a pace as to diminish our experience of it, has come to a juddering halt. Now that the panic of stockpiling necessities, and mothballing our workplaces has subsided, we are forced by circumstance to a moment of national reflection. Many of us are hunkering down for the next few months, necessitating hours of introspection and the rebooting of our dusty imaginations.
This collection is a timely visual shot of optimism from one of our finest British painters. These paintings show a vision of life as it was, barely a month ago, with all the certainties of our freedom to roam and the enjoyment of simple human contact. ‘A Dinner Party’ now has an unintended poignancy.
This is a visual memory bank of our collective experiences, walking in crowded streets, the buzz of pavements cafés and carefree days on sandy beaches. An anchor to some of life’s pleasures that we have temporarily lost but look forward to enjoying again soon with a renewed appreciation. Images of brighter days past but also of brighter days to come.