If only a painting could talk…

Image of Mont Python's Terry Gillums's Mona Lisa moving Mouth
Terry Gilliam’s Mona Lisa

Several years ago Banx painted a very interesting piece entitled Facade.

We chatted the other day about this particular painting that was exhibited and sold in Sydney and Banx said mysteriously as he started the painting a face started to appear in the background of the canvas so he painted it in! (Maybe it was something to do with the haunted Surry Hills terrace house we were staying in at the time of the Exhibition ha! who knows!)

Anyway it sold in Sydney to a collector and a few years later out of the blue we received an email from…. someone in Italy (!!) whom we had never heard of, who tracked Banx down from Google to ask if this was his painting as they had now acquired it and loved it! We wrote back but sadly never heard from them again…

It was an exciting email to receive out of the blue as my imagination ran riot, trying to imagine the “journey” Facade and in particular the man in the painting had been on in order to arrive in Italy!

Image of the painting called Facade by Banx MC5974
Facade by Banx MC5974

Who does the man in the painting stare at now? A family? A young Italian stallion bachelor? A mature Italian business woman? He once stared at Banx and I and then a collector in Sydney… did he get into a suitcase on an aeroplane to Italy?? If only he could call us and tell us his amazing journey from the studio at New Farm (back in the day) to his new wall position in Italy! What sort of home has he ended up in?

I often think of the journeys of artworks – all over the world – but in particular closer to home and Banx’s paintings we have rented or sold over the years up to now. “Oh the places you’ll go” as the Dr Seuss children’s book so aptly says !

Banx travelled to outback Australia a few years ago on an artist’s remote camp at Ruby Gap (about 135km east of Alice Springs) and I met up with him afterwards at Uluru, for my very first trip (I’m ashamed to admit as a 5th generation Aussie) to the amazing Aussie iconic natural wonderland. He came back to Brissie afterwards and painted for The Ruby Gap under Canvas Gallery Joint Exhibition 2013

using some of the dry red earth to mix his exquisite paint colours. One such painting was Room with a View – Ruby Gap 2013, which was later requested and donated to his old boarding school in Scotland and is now part of their collection in Elgin! From dry dusty scorched earthy imaginings at Ruby Gap to freezing cold Scotland – if only that painting could talk and send us a quick text about the “readjustment”!

Room with a View - Ruby Gap 2013
Room with a View – Ruby Gap 2013

It works the other way around as well: last December we travelled to the beautiful heritage-listed town of old Hoi An in Vietnam. We love supporting local artists on our travels and we were both mesmerised by an extremely talented and humble street artist early one evening. We purchased one of his beautiful painting:

We returned the next day.. and the day after.. and the day after that.. but he never reappeared again whilst we were in Hoi An.. if only that painting could talk.

I was thinking paintings live on long after the painter and subsequent collectors pass on until I remembered Banksy self-shredded a painting as soon as the auction hammer struck the table. Maybe paintings do have a finite life after all.. they certainly rise from the almost-dead almost-lost-forever pile with the recent Klimt “Portrait of a Lady” found in its original gallery garden 23 years after it was stolen!

It seems the life and death and life again of a painting is sometimes and often as varied and interesting and mysterious as human lives… I wonder where Banx’s Facade will journey to next, or will the mysterious man in the painting live out his infinite days in Italy? Cheers and Saluti

Montemartre artist covering his face whilst sitting next to a self portrait
Montemartre artist covering his face whilst sitting next to a self portrait.