6th July – 12th August 2023
Anna Schwartz Gallery
These 84 watercolours, entitled Bloom, were conceptualised as a counterpoint to introspection by embracing the methodology of James Joyce in his novel Ulysses, utilising multiple perspectives, social observation, inner dialogue and allusions and references to literature, music, art, mythology, and history.
In keeping with this ethos, more than one Bloom fed the imagination. Alongside Leopold, there was the brilliant and flawed curmudgeon Harold Bloom, the “One hundred flowers bloom” policy of Mao Zedong used to flush out and punish dissent under the guise of free and open dialogue, and Bialystock and Bloom, fictional characters that embody the comedic sensibilities of “Borscht Belt” humour. Adjacent to the high art imagery, prosaic foodstuffs: meat pies, Coca-Cola, chicken parmigiana and bread and butter co-exist with Haute Cuisine.
All the Blooms are now deeply out of favour, some more so than others, and this is reflected in many of the themes and subject matters used here, once staples of Western art, now disparaged, ignored, unwanted, and unloved. And it is precisely this condition, this “irrelevance,” that I find empowering, a source of succour and nourishment.
Bloom is simultaneously a requiem and a path to renewal.
Stieg Persson, 2023