March's Artwork of the Month has been chosen by Anne Rothenstein RWA. She has picked The Sad Time by Carel Weight from the RWA Permanent Collection. Anne writes:
Carel Weight is a wonderful, mysterious painter. I’m reluctant to use the word ‘dreamlike’ about his work - his subjects seem so completely engaged with life - nevertheless the air of otherworldliness is indisputable. There is mystery involved, often combined with an element of urgency. There seems to be something happening which we don’t know about; just out of the frame, on the edge.
Weight was born in Paddington where I have lived for thirty years and many of his paintings of the city streets and dirty bricks of walls and houses are still familiar despite much gentrification. Familiar too are the hurrying people caught up in the ordinary business of everyday life. Except in Weight’s paintings nothing is ever ordinary. Something else is afoot.
And here we are with these towering trees, in themselves a fine painting, but the two small figures beneath transform into something quite other; shot through with anxiety, alive with a story. Are they quarrelling? Have they just heard some terrible news? Are they parting? The title tells us only that nothing good can be happening. The tree on the right appears to be leaning in towards them, wanting to know more, as the viewer wants to know more. Or wanting to enclose them in its branches and bring them back together again.
So many questions. Any painting worth its salt raises questions. It’s the questions that engage us and make us look. The answers seem of little importance. Weight’s paintings are seductive yet raw and completely involving. I don’t know if I saw reproductions of his work when I was a child, possibly the paintings themselves, my father was a contemporary of his and huge admirer; whichever it is I seem to have known his paintings all my life, many of them fixed indelibly in my mind’s eye.
Carel Weight's painting will be on display on our upstairs landing throughout the month of March.