This painting is Drift’s virtual cover. Between Walsh and Delvaux, even more than common sensitivity, there is a similar courage in confronting “the most heartrending nostalgias” (Paul Fierens, speaking of the Brussels painter in 1944). Above all, in these two oeuvres I deem with equal status, a strange paradox is being achieved : it is the form which is moving. The work is valued through the balance of its proportions, the elements composing it are just there to make a strong emotion exist, one which is almost abstract, working on an empty basis : mute, thoughtless, colourless (or with a colour without a name), occupying the background of the world, which the artist testifies about.
If there is anything hinting at Ancient Times in Drift, it is first and foremost this : beauty is equally circulating, from every point composing it. The constant break-through of biographical details, Walsh’s fits of anger, of disgust, of pity, are inscribed in this fine-knit material, equalising what has to be. As Delvaux achieves it, form and life support each other while opposing each other: the form takes away from life its obscene character ; and life saves the form from the trap of “quality”.
In L’Echo, a part of childhood and apprenticeship remains in the treatment of perspective. The wall on the left almost bears the touching style of an industrious beginner. In Drift, Atkinson’s and Walsh’s guitars have something of a “calligraphic” quality, presenting a regular pattern of down-strokes and up-strokes. They often resort to brief convolution (the guitars are entwined like the syllables of this sentence : Knowing you were loved …). In eastern musics, it is the same brief convolution which, being repeated, enables to stretch out time, to include choruses, to develop some songs.
One must not be mistaken : with Delvaux as well as with Walsh, all the seemingly naïve or clumsy elements, all that is, elsewhere, easy writing, is here to be credited to grandeur. Like stases in their work, surfaces common to all the other men are established. A part of primary expression subsists, so as to better hail the spectator or listener on his own ground.
For all these reasons, Peter Walsh is less of a romantic than he is a surrealist – in Delvaux’s or the Nits’ sense : somebody who builds up his feelings as well as others build up their thoughts. Mirroring the sleepwalking blondes, the powerful romantic feeling only accepts to deliver itself owing to diverse anomalies – in the points of view, in time, in the relationship between oneself and the other – , by sliding into them.
So as not to conclude …
For Peter Walsh, artistic creation is part of the business of living. At least, I think this is what he meant in All The Time In The World, a song from 1995, which was an address to his father, a former travelling salesman who had recently retired. To “such a good man”, who he soon gives up being compared to, the son asks : “what is it that makes of us who we are ?”.
By accepting to stay alive, he let cyclic time an opportunity to operate, bringing along with it a small batch of songs, an album every now and then, a handful of live appearances. This time has come back : in a few days, Peter Walsh will be among us : of such news we must rejoice.
Peter Walsh will play in Chinon on November 10th 2009, in Paris on the 11th, and on the 12th in Clermond-Ferrand. This event has been organised by Emmanuel Tellier of 49 Swimming Pools, who will perform as supporting act.
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