Westbourne Grove: a Portrait of Everyday

The artist talking about her work……

I was very excited to see a display of my friend Gillian Holding’s work in prime position in the front window of Debut Contemporary gallery in Westbourne Grove, London on Saturday afternoon.

Entitled Westbourne Grove: a Portrait of Everyday, it is a dyptych, made up of a digital painting printed on vinyl of images of the length of Westbourne Grove.  Images of people, strangers and passersby who make up the local community, or who were making their first and only visit to the area and who just happened to walk past when Gillian was collecting images for the piece, are arrayed in top of images of the length of the street, a two mile stretch of urban west London.

It’s a busy image, filled with the sorts of things we all see every day when we walk down the road, and it reminded me of that miscellany of pictures and half imagined stories that I collect whenever I sit in one place for a while and people watch, and it reminded me of that especial enjoyment of noticing some new detail in a very familiar landscape. Because I’ve that kind of mind, I also tried to place each of the building I could see in the piece with what I could see through the shop window of the gallery, but it was wondering about the people, seeing the detail in each of them, that was the most enjoyable aspect of it.

Gillian explained that she had used a collage technique for the work and had taken many photographs, blindly, without checking what she was capturing as she went along, and then later, painting with the computer, she improved each of the images, redressing the figures, altering ordinary coats into fanciful flowery fabrics and re-tinting the sky and buildings.

We did wonder what would happen if someone walked by the gallery and spotted themselves in the work.  So far, I don’t think it’s happened, but I would hope they would feel flattered.

Knowing that Gillian wanted to document the first day of the show, I sent her the couple of photos I had taken as I was leaving, expressing some disappointment with the  effect of the red line which is painted on the gallery’s window, bisecting  the picture.  Her response was that she liked the red line as it created a perfect Golden Section, so I am both gratified and educated, always a happy combination!  I like that it is possible to see a reflection of some of the building across the street in the gallery window.

The work is on display all week  and Gillian will be at the Other Art Fair in London from 22-25 November.

Leave a comment


  1. I like the red line too, and is that a dry cleaners across the road? Reflections are texts in themselves, I guess. I love your friend’s work, I’ve looked at her site before when you’ve posted about her.

    • Thanks. I love a reflection too. You know I hadn’t really noticed what was across the street, but I think there’s a bookshop…..


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