In the middle of the small Spanish town of Órgiva, at the back of small ceramics studio, deep underground is a collection of small canvases hung on a whitewashed wall, a gathering of spectres. Miniature fragments of a colourful memory; time drawn out across linen squares. Flickers of moments, restored. Gareth Lister’s latest exhibition is, as always, beautifully curated and he once again takes us on a magical journey.
The moment begins as soon as you abandon the scorching heat outside by crossing the galleries threshold, where one is almost instantly faced with a cool, descending stone staircase which itself seems to cut through the strata of time. As the wide, temple-like staircase ends you are greeted with a white space, where, decorating a corner like amulets in the recesses of a contemporary tomb, are these precious little paintings.
For me, they have everything about them of the souvenir. They are cherished and loved, and possibly in places have even been mended as one would a favourite garment or a broken plate and, just like a souvenir, there is something about them seems out of place. A distance, possibly of place as well as time.
Lister paints from the soul and masterfully shows us how by being so focused on the now and what we desire or want to experience that we might be at risk of disregarding the splintered inheritance of our existence. Memory and the past, although it cannot be physically touched, is a very real thing and is to be cherished. Memory prepares us for the present and makes it alive, like the galleries door, it is a threshold – the living connection between what has been and what is yet to pass. With this series of tiny paintings, Lister very cleverly shows us how our past experiences fragment and can be mended or even rewritten by us. It seems things are not lost, they just become miniature and distant.
Review by Jessica Shepherd
The Opening Night of this show was Friday the 7th June.
We were tempted by the handmade chocolate created by Xocolates Marjari and serenaded by the exquisite music of Etienne Bartholomew playing his sitar.
It was a magical evening all round.
The exhibition finishes on the 18th of July, so there is still time for you to catch this amazing little show.
Garcia Moreno. 9. Órgiva.