Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective at London’s Nunnery Gallery. They look wonderful, the light, the atmospheres, the empty streets so full of life…

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Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective at Nunnery Gallery, London E3, January 2019

Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective at Nunnery Gallery, London E3 – They look wonderful, the light, the atmospheres, the empty streets so full of life, the café fronts, the shops, the light under the bridges, the bus stops, that one painting of a bus stop in the twilight especially (that light in the window, that pavement), had to go back to that bus stop several times. I don’t know much about Doreen Fletcher, I know a little bit more now than I did a couple of days ago, I know she’s been painting the streets of east London since the early 80’s, that her many drawings and paintings are compelling, evocative, that there’s a passion here, a connection the artist clearly has to these places – these are places that matter to her, places and people she clear cares about. These aren’t radical pieces of art, they’re not particularly challenging in terms of confronting the viewer or questioning the nature of art, they’re not going to cause great debate or argument, they’re just wonderful. The buildings are wonderful, the bricks are wonderful, the light, the emotion invested in those streets, the paint, the colour, the places, the changing spaces – these are wonderful paintings and drawings (very easy to overlook the drawings), exquisite pieces, and although there aren’t too many actually people in the many paintings these are very much about the real people, about the real places where real people live and work and walk to and from, the places where people eat or wash their clothes or repair their cars or catch their tube trains late at night. These are the real things, the smoke from the chimneys, the murky east London skies, the light that sometimes makes the ugly so so beautiful. These are paintings that pull you in and demand you look a little closer into that shop window, or that light reflecting on the pavement or that brickwork or the need to try and look around that corner, of her wall so rigorously painted, these are paintings that demand far more than just a passing glance.

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Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective at Nunnery Gallery, London E3, January 2019

“For twenty years Doreen Fletcher painted the streets of east London until discouraged by lack of recognition, she gave up in 2004. Only a chance meeting with The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life brought her painting to public attention in 2015. For the first time, this retrospective reveals the full breadth of Doreen Fletcher’s achievement between 1983 and 2004, showing the largest selection of her paintings together, and including many previously unseen pictures from private collections”

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Doreen Fletcher – Going Home – A Retrospective at Nunnery Gallery, London E3, January 2019

Sometimes art doesn’t need to be radical, it doesn’t always need to be a debate or an argument, it doesn’t need to challenge or question or provoke, these paintings of Doreen Fletcher are simply wonderful, they’re so full of so so much, they capture an absolute truth. Anyone can go paint the light of the South of France on a beautiful day, to capture the light of east London like this is something to really celebrate. There’s something special captured here, that quiet calm time of almost neglect, that space between the end of the war and the start of gentrification, something that deserved to be painted and painted so well. Edward Hopper was about people, about loneliness, Doreen Fletcher’s paintings are about a sense of place, about a time, about humanity – there;a love for every brick, a kind of warmth (London bricks are not dull things, they’re handmade, from the earth, there;s a weight of human warmth in every single one of them). There’s layer upon layer of human life in these paintings, something that could so easily be taken for granted, there’s a modesty to these paintings that has a real power, powerful paintings that are never about judgement. And importantly, the most recent of the work the newest of the paintings, I think it was called Going Home, really does capture London right now, about working long hours, about the quiet of the streets when the toil is over, it makes us excited about her next piece, her next show, this is a wonderful show, it might be a retrospective but this is a show that also looks forward, a show that promises more. This is a wonderful show, The Gentle Author deserves massive praise, and if you do have the time (you really should make the time), it really really is worth going to see these drawings and paintings all together in one space in the flesh on the wall living and breathing, it was a privilege to see them last night, can’t wait to go back… (SW) .

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Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective at Nunnery Gallery, London E3, January 2019

Doreen Fletcher – A Retrospective is at Nunnery Gallery, London E3
The show runs from January 25, 2019 to Sunday, March 24, 2019
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm, Tues – Sun
Address: Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ

Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show

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