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I’ve been to see Jim Moir’s ‘Hot Buttered Mattress’

Jim Moir (‘aka Vic Reeves’ as the catalogue has it) isn’t best-known for his painting, despite clearly possessing a lot of talent. I popped along to The Biscuit Factory to see his exhibition ‘Hot Buttered Mattress.’

It wasn’t really up my street. Moir is a brilliant representational painter, and also has an interest in ornithology. A lot of this exhibition is paintings of birds, mostly in very literal form, like the Bird Colour Wheel above. I’m not all that interested in birds.

Some of his work is a bit more abstract, like this Mandarin Duck over a Football Pitch, but it didn’t strike me as having anything particularly interesting to say, and it didn’t draw me in.

There are some more comic pieces—see Totally Topless Open Plan Office Environment 1987—but these didn’t do much for me either, seeming rather one-note.

My favourite of his works is the one at the top of this post, Curlews Over Lindisfarne, though I think I’d prefer it without the curlews. With them, it seems literal and representative—without them, I’m left to fill in the gaps much more.

There was a passage in Adam Gopnik’s latest book which was resonated with me:

In our age, the difference between entertainment and art is that in entertainment we expect to do all the work for the audience, while in art we expect the audience to do all the work for us.

I suppose I felt that Moir did too much of the work for me… though this is only my preference. I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of producing anything even remotely as good as anything in this exhibition, given my profound lack of artistic ability.

However, there was much more by other artists within The Biscuit Factory’s walls which I loved, so allow me to show you four pieces that I think deserve attention.

Angelo Murphy’s New Teapot with Flowers is representative still life, but blooming heck, look at how good it is—it’s like a modern Heda. This might be a type of art that’s not usually up my street, but this is genius.

John Brenton’s The Colours of Dusk is a stunning contribution to his collection of coastal artworks that immediately drew me in. It is rich and deep and beguiling.

All of Laura Pedley’s pieces were fantastic, but I pondered Setting Out Again the longest. It seems to me that it represents profound hope and profound despair, capturing both brilliantly and simultaneously. I love it.


Jim Moir’s Hot Buttered Mattress continues at The Biscuit Factory until 2 April.

This post was filed under: Art, Post-a-day 2023, , , , , , .

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