Made a journey to Manchester Art Gallery to see Stanley Spencer: Heaven in Hell and also The Sensory War.
At The Tate, I now always go to the 1910 gallery as my favourite paintings are on display there. Spencer’s Resurrection, Cookham is fascinating to see as there is always something new to spot and the scale of the piece is vast that it can be difficult to know where to start looking at this. There is a seat opposite and it is worth taking time out just to let your eye wander through the scene.
At Mancester, I actually made a mistake in viewing Spencer after the Sensory War and the experience felt ‘flat’ – no pun intended. However, as he concentrated on the domestic nature of his war, you could see why these large scale canvases so suited the chapel from which they have come. This one that begins the narrative was the one I found the most interesting. The convoy of wounded soldiers is forcing its way through the bushes to arrive at the gates. The figure that appears to be hanging on the gates was interesting – was he trying to stop the gates or helping to open them? As the hospital catered for both physical injury and mental incapacity, I did wonder if this was linked at all. The rest of the panels explored different aspects of life at the hospital and the experiences Spencer had in Salonika during the war.
I do like his style – especially looking for the allegory within his work so I am certainly interested enough to consider a trip to Cookham to visit the gallery and to see the influence that Cookham had on Spencer.