Thursday, 11 October 2012

Words & Pictures

"Words & Pictures: the Art of Illustration" is the title of the new exhibition at the Gardens Gallery, which I visited yesterday afternoon. The layout of the Literature Festival's Montpellier campus seems rather more friendly to this useful gallery this year. Something that's borne out in visitor numbers, I gather - and I hope sales too.

For Niki Whitfield has assembled a most colourful collection of exhibits: four quite different - but all vibrant - takes on the art of illustration, in the form of cards, books, framed/mounted prints and water colours. And as with all Niki's shows, it's immaculately curated. You can catch it till Tuesday evening next.

Having viewed the pictures, I went on to listen to the words - in this instance of Anglican priest, Lucy Winkett. Not that she was advocating too many of them: "the power of silence," was her theme, and indeed she "led us into" silence very effectively at the end of her hour. "Imagine," she urged us, "that you are sitting on a lovely river bank, and placing all the noises you hear into an endless procession of little boats, which float off downstream."

This was a beautifully reflective talk from someone who's surely made to be one of the first women bishops. But how did she she manage to suppress any mention of the word "prayer"? And a friend pointed out afterwards two other omissions: the silence from which a perhaps-depressed person has to be helped to escape; and the value of the mantra as a means of sustaining an individual's period of silence. But then an hour was too short.

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