“Still”, an altar piece by Alison Watt.

This morning I went to see Alison Watt’s installation of four paintings, “Still”, an altar piece in the chapel of remembrance of Old St Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Old Town of Edinburgh.

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.

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Alison Watt is represented by the Ingleby Gallery.


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