Dear Jordan

Dear Jordan

This letter is by way of a thank you. Last night in the cinema auditorium of Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Mary-Ann Constantine and I had a ‘conversation’ about Dark Movements in front of an audience. We sat on the stage in comfortable armchairs, a table between us laid with glasses and water-jug and a multi-directional microphone that allowed us to speak conversationally, and yet be heard by everyone. Peter and I know Mary-Ann and her family quite well now. We live about a twenty-minute drive from each other, and we have all become friends, spending time in each others company. She is insightful, eloquent, sometimes enigmatic, and occasionally challenging. It is her way. Mary-Ann has the capacity to come at you with a razor-sharp intellect that takes no hostages, and when she casts those blue eyes questioningly in your direction, you’d better have a good answer. But she’s also very funny, and has a way with a put-down that can make me bark out loud with shock and pleasure. Mary-Ann has had much to do with this exhibition. She wrote the preview of it for Planet Magazine, and she was one of the readers in the gallery poetry event on June 13th. So it was her I asked to be my interrogator in the cinema auditorium, and she agreed. Moreover, I advised her not to tell me anything of what she planned by way of questions in advance, so that my answers would be fresh.

She was brilliant last night. She set the context of my work so cleverly… and so thoroughly… that for a while there I though I might not have to say anything, but just smile benignly and nod. But when her questions came, I was off like a rocket, because she’d so cleverly opened the door for me to pass through. Moreover she handled the audience skilfully, and when the time came for questions toward the end, there were none of those embarrassingly long silences that can make such occasions rather unnerving. (I’ve attended many a question-and-answer where the participants on-stage have been reduced to begging their audience for questions!) Mary-Ann coaxed them masterfully, and the hands began to go up.

She spoke of you, as did I. I tried to describe the way we started working together on the later-to-be-cancelled Barcelona exhibition. How I sent you a script that I suggested you ‘enact’ for the camera, and how you’d returned photographs, not just of your responses to the script, but unexpected images posed as ‘twisters’, re-workings of shapes you’d seen in the Mari Lwyd drawings in the book I’d sent you.

Last night, as giant images of you from the completed Dark Movements paintings were projected onto the cinema-screen behind us, they combined in memory with my recollections of how we originally responded to each other (when was that now? I can’t recall) leading to friendship, trust and creativity. I realised that in some way this version of you… blue, naked, armoured, tulip-emblazoned and comet-tailed with hair, floating spectre-like over the event, intriguing all onlookers, simultaneously geographically distant and yet dynamically present… this ‘gallery’ Jordan is less the version that is significant to me, than the man behind it, who’s funny, mischievous, practical, supportive and emotionally generous.

Jordan, I wish you could have been there. I imagined you, sitting in the front row with John, your faces alight with the spectacle of what was unfolding on the screen:

Jordan as disarticulating maquette…

Jordan as silver-armoured centaur/knight…

Jordan as horseman of the apocalypse…

Mari-wrangler…

 revenant…

 and Muse!

Sending love to you and John from Wales,

Clive xxx

8 thoughts on “Dear Jordan

  1. Wish I’d been there.
    Wait a minute…I just have been.
    Ta everso for ‘the visit’ which has filled my ‘minds eye’ and warmed my heart.
    Love (50 and counting!)
    B xxx

  2. It’s lovely to read about the real relationship that has informed the artist/muse one we have witnessed blooming (literally!) throughout ‘Dark Movements’.

    To quote Humphrey Bogart at the end of ‘Casablanca’: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” (-:

  3. Some speck has gotten into my eye, and my nose has gone all runny !
    It could not be the “Dear Jordan”, Could it ?
    Nah ! Must be some summer allergy or something!

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