Saturday, November 3, 2007


Regarding John Hubbard (in Dorset)

from the Journal[English], Journey 07
Tuesday, 9th October (...) Abed,11-05pm. Nothing much doing in Dorchester -- For a start the spitting rain of Weymouth had become heavy downpour in Dorchester --no chance, therefore, of following the stream into the countryside abutting the town but hidden from it (in the sense of this countryside surprising one when one comes upon it so close to the town centre) -- We visited the Museum wch. was showing paintings by John Hubbard but the thought of 6 Pounds entry x 2 for an exhibition of aerial views of Dorset several of which we could see through the entrance of the gallery room put Naad [Bernard Hemensley] off & therefore me too -- But cards & catalogue of earlier show were inviting --
At Library later on I researched [Googled] John Hubbard and was happy to find his story : from Connecticut, came to UK in 1961. . .He's in his late 60s [70s actually]. . .When I saw Naad again I told him JH was one of ours. . .references to Peter Lanyon, Mark Tobey, Maurice Graves, Zen & Taoism, Chinese poetry. . .Mentioned in dispatches by Peter Fuller. Say no more. The unexpected gift of this Journey. I have his e/mail and will probably follow up.

from little jottings notebook, at the Blue Raddle, Dorchester
Wednesday, 10th October. As luck wd have it (luck? --this is synchronicity, non?) I met the artist, John Hubbard, and only could have done so had we not attended the show y'day and only didnt because we thought entry was 6 Pounds and the view from the doorway was of aerial views which we thought would amount to a couple of paintings on each wall of a type that might not not detain us --
Spoke to JH
tall man, green jumper, runners, corduroys, angular face, distant american tinge to accent -- I'd been aware of him & a woman he'd greeted with hug & kiss -- That's not Dorchester, I thought : he might be the artist! -- When they came alongside (I was riveted by a charcoal of Dartmoor, intrigued by sub-title "The Inland Sea") I listened a while to their conversation then when he caught my eye (and the term "psychogeography" ascribed to Iain Sinclair tickles me again --that intersection of energies wch. can be mapped, wch. actualises what we call synchronicity --& how appealing is that?!)(and isnt that already available --the principle established by Konrad Bayer "map of his head"?) I smiled & sd I apologised for "eavesdropping his conversation" (he was telling his friend that the small oils on paper were done in Sutherland --in Scotland? or did he say that friends of his or children had become fascinated by Sutherland wch. I took to be Graham Sutherland), and sd how much I liked the charcoal -- He said it was alright to eavesdrop : he was "talking for me as well" -- It's always nice to meet new people, he said --I said I'd looked him up on the internet, loved the Rubens detail wch. I'd magnified to the maximum --loved the shape & flow of the tree in the foreground -- Also said I'd picked up on a reviewer's ref. to Peter Lanyon --he was a friend of mine, he said -- With that ref. in mind I'd wondered if I was looking at aerial views? -- He said people often sd. that but he "most strenuously rejected [he] was doing that" -- "Mine arent aerial --they're from the ground up!" -- I told him I was from Oz -- He said he had a picture in Australia -- in Ballarat? I asked [according to internet] -- He thought about it -- yes, there, he said, but s/where else, at the gallery in Melbourne -- I said I'd look out for it -- I congratulated him on his show, left him to his principal admirer and said to a woman who'd approached him same time as I did : sorry for stealing your conversation! Not at all, she laughed, I can talk to him now! -- Sense then of a local art scene --

from the Journal
Thursday, 11-10-07, in the conservatory, 5pm (...) Re- John Hubbard -- It was flicking thru catalogue of charcoal drawings in the Museum foyer that caught me -- Naad thought we'd seen his work years ago -- and knew s/thing of him, e.g. Abbotsbury Gardens, designing a garden -- And when I looked him up on the internet I had all the confirmation I needed. It's always been an imperative to connect with &/or contact the local [Dorset] scene -- [Jack] Clemo back in '87 or '90, the Powys family, the Portland gallery/Margaret Somerville, Anne Axenskold, the Canadian painter [Marie Laywine Cooper, in Abbotsbury] et al -- John Hubbard is part of that home-making for me and by extension for Naad also -- I found an e/ contact for him on his web-site wch. decided the issue : I now had to see the latest show, aerial views or not!
Couldnt believe that the show was free entry --what a faux-pas previous day -- And then deducing the older, tall, grey-haired chap in green jumper & runners was him --darting around the gallery, greeting a woman admirer & guiding her from one painting to the next -- Had to be him! --
A chap in waistcoat over white shirt, a moustachio Bootsy & Snudge character, was the first to introduce himself --a fan evidently who referred to previous [of JH's] shows -- And so when JH & woman friend came alongside I just had to say s/thing!--
I like the Dartmoor charcoal very much, I said, and also the 4 small works adjacent -- "From memory" or "from my head" he'd told his friend -- & "Sutherland" wch. cd have been the region of Scotland or the esteemed painter!
I mentioned the ref. to P. Lanyon in review on internet --wondered if I was looking at aerial views? Lanyon a great friend but no, he "strenuously" denied that his pictures are aerial -- my look up not down! he said -- For example, the large cliff & sea & sky painting I heard him describing to his friend -- I mentioned Lanyon's Mullion Bay in Melbourne --he seemed to know it and agreed people looking at Lanyon could interpret his own work in similar fashion --
I told him how taken I'd been by the Rubens (detail) on the internet --the sensuous foreground tree -- I'm sure we'll talk anon. . .

Sunday, 21-10-07 [Melbourne] (...) I've enjoyed reading & re-reading John Hubbard's catalogue note for his Spanish paintings & drawings (Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster) earlier this year. I'm particularly touched by the reference to Dorset & Cornish locations juxtaposed with the 20thCentury painting references one accepts as the major tradition & also those refs. to the Ancient Chinese & the Tao --for example, on the subject of the artificiality of horizons, "While I have only been to Tresco [Scilly Isles] twice (and you can't see the horizon within that garden), I have known both Porthmeor & Chesil for over 40 years. I used to divide my paintings into introspective (woodlands) & extrovert (open landscapes) but for some years that has ceased to apply. There is the endless fascination of water, its movement & shifting light is the essence of life itself, as the Chinese realised long ago. it is an important part of the Tao."

November 3rd, 2007, Melbourne

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