Falling for an artist: William Scott
William William Scott (1913-1989) was a leading British artist from the 1950’s onwards, he became well known for works that rested beautifully between abstract and figurative.
It was a typical damp, bone cold winter’s morning back in 1996 when I was waiting for a connection at Southampton. I had enrolled in a yearlong course in multimedia to try to catch up on technology, and what was still termed at the time ‘the information superhighway’. Like every morning I had a punishing 40 minute wait to die through before my connection would trundle in late, if it even bothered at all.
On this day I took a walk, and I think it must have been at the library that I stumbled upon an exhibition. I grin thinking back about how surprised I was on entering what was little more than an entrance to a grey public building, on a cold and grey winter’s day. I had found myself surrounded by Matisse’s, Miros and Picasso’s among other artists I can no longer recall, lining the walls before and beside me. I looked around at people coming and going and wondering if I was the only one who could see what I was seeing. In hindsight it was a formative moment but at the time, it was a really pleasant surprise. Years later, I saw a television prank played on commuters that asked musicians who normally could fill concert halls, to disguise themselves as buskers and see the public reaction. Occasionally a passing commuter would walk past and freeze to the spot completely taken by their situation, not unlike, how I felt that morning.
Frying pans, Eggs, cups and round objects, all very flat and all very beautifully 2 dimensional art. I could not tell why I preferred Scott’s works more than the others that day, but, they made a mark and also made me miss a train that would I am sure, would never have turned up if I were there, not that I cared.
As is normally the case in these situations, I found I had to know as much as I could about this artist who transformed this drab of days into something resembling joyful. It is telling how we do not care if the sun does not shine when we are happy, but, it can change the world when we are not.