The art of Pat Douthwaite is at once intriguing, disturbing and thought-provoking, making you ask as many questions of yourself as you do of the artist and her work – what the blurb calls “a dangerous dialogue”. It also tells us that she was “impossible to please and made enemies of her supporters with a impunity that was at once vicious and pathetic” – and this is from the sales material!
If you thought, “I can’t be bothered”, you could be forgiven, but you should also be encouraged to make the effort and at least have a look at the work. It’s strangely compelling. Dubbed by herself as “the high priestess of the grotesque”, her figures are disturbingly distorted, yet at the same time have a grounding in reality. This is not abstraction for its own sake, but the genuine vision of what may well have been a trouble mind. Her work also seems firmly rooted in tradition and it may well be these echoes that make us come back with a sense of familiarity and understanding. I’m transfixed by Cattle Kate, with its echoes of Gustav Klimt (of all people).
This is a superb collection of some remarkable art that deserves the widest audience it can get.
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