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.
Alison Watt is represented by the Ingleby Gallery.