I have been a couple of times before, and I always find it a very moving experience. This time, I was prompted by a recent programme on BBC1 Scotland about Watt’s current exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
“Still” is set in a side chapel; it is barely lit by a window to its right, and a small candle flickering directly below the painting. The left wall is a war memorial, a list of names of those who died – presumably parishioners – in the first and second world wars.
The painting is of hanging cloth, I suppose, and the luxuriant folds suggest loss and absence.
The combination of the painting the long list of names is deeply moving. The whole really is still; I had to sit a while, just looking. The light, the painting and the names are very affecting.
It is very, very beautiful.
Alison Watt is represented by the Ingleby Gallery.