As I was viewing the well-curated art work at Ye Olde Rose And Crown, the idea of the Art Trail as both an inner and outer journey was formed in my mind. From Harriet Smith's visual elegy to well-known locations in Walthamstow and beyond, to Jim Jack's imaginative wooden sculptures, there are a wealth of journeys existing within and without the art. As one travels from the main entrance of the public bar, through towards the rear and into the Red Room, it is almost akin to on-the-ground turbulence, so vast an array of different media and subject matter there is to enter one's viewing field. The inductive leap from Simona Pesce's expressionist landscapes summoning up a different era whilst remaining utterly contemporary to Emma Cooper's bald and concrete outporings of overt sexuality in acrylic is one which jars, which lurches and prods the mind into a range of responses. Positive, life-affirming responses, however differing and ones which sit alongside David Elms high resolution images of nature as a celebration of not just Walthamstow, but of life itself.
At the entrance Red Room, with his Rushmore-epic line drawings of iconic figures such as Johnny Cash, Nolan summons up the ghost of many a barroom troubador and paves the way for the heady onrush of the art within. Jessica Hudgely and Lorraine Huddle's multi and mixed-media pieces are playful, inventive and alive with colour. Hudgely's psychedelic palette within weathered frames are an antique meets ultra-vivid clash that is both beautiful and original. Huddle's mixed-media creations suggest adult versions of childhood literature and are intricately constucted and contain both humour and macabre meditations of female archetypes. Jim Jack's wooden sculptures are mandala-like; hypnotic pieces that hint at a cycle of life, death and re-birth in the whorls of the wood. Roger Huddle's 'Time Travelling' series of photographs play with notions of the absence of the photographer being a type of portrait in itself while capturing key moments in time. His mingling and merging of disparate geographical locations delightfully confuse.
I journeyed back to The Rose And Crown myself, owing it a second glance, as my weary eyes didn't quite get to grips, nor my brain adequately process the sheer panoply of art work on display. This second take was a more considered and meditative process and I left feeling energised, having ridden a bicycle for the first time in three years. This time it was my limbs and not my over-exposed brain that ached. It's no secret that Ye Olde Rose And Crown is my chosen local and has been the scene of many a pivotal event in my recent life. From being my first port of call when I first arrived in Walthamstow, to Stowathon, to the Art Trail. It is a journey of love, music, animated conversation, with friendships formed and alliances forged. This exhibition of art has reflected that with its hymning of life in all its vagaries, glorious flaws and essence. It's more than just a metaphor in more than just a pub.