'Shoulder To Shoulder' oil on canvas, 100 x 150cms, 2014-15
I’ve found it hard to get much done in the studio in January, which has been a source of frustration, but I have repainted this painting, which I originally posted in October, over a few sessions. I felt like there was something too ‘clean’ about it somehow, and so have thrown a lot more paint at it in an attempt to mess around with it and open it up. I applied a lot of the paint with a rag which seemed a good way of painting the stacks of pallets, which is what they are if you weren’t sure, in a more interesting way. I’m a bit happier with it now.
It’s the only painting recently I’ve been able to think of a title. It’s called ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ in reference not to the pallets all leaning against each other, stacked high and close, but to something one of the characters said in ‘Pride’, the film last year about the time in the Eighties in which the Gay and Lesbian Movement stood up and raised valuable money and support for the Miner’s Strike. He said about the need for people to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in solidarity against Thatcher and the Tories as their policies wreaked destruction on working class community after working class community across the country.
So, the battered pallets are a metaphor, and nostalgic, for a time when people did stand together and those values of solidarity and collectivism counted. Still, with what has happened in Greece in January, maybe there is still hope; it certainly proves that there is the will, that those values can find a place again….