Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My brother, the painter …

… The Artist I Grew Up With by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

They were paintings of suburban London. It was a world John and I had shared in our teens: the terraced streets and windy intersections of Crouch End and Muswell Hill, Willesden and Brixton, places I supposed he despised. In paint, however, he had transformed them into landscapes of longing, spaces at once absolutely authentic in their clutter and decay, yet at the same time infinitely desirable—to the point of seeming unavailable. It was odd. On the one hand you had the impression of realism, but it was a realism lavished on such quiet and unassuming scenes—park benches and flower beds, trains rattling by sagging fences, pedestrians escaping from red buses—that you felt there was something absurd or even magical about it. The paintings were nostalgic and funny.

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