This month our Conservator has written the following about The Two Face Pig of Art by Stanley Lench:
I have chosen this work as it demonstrates the value of art as therapy. Drawn in black ink over a predominately blue and purple wash, it was produced in response to a perceived snub, and the indifference of his employers to the artist, who worked as an attendant in a London gallery. The bald headed, bespectacled man on the left would have been identifiable; the bare breasted, multi-eyed lady on the right less so, though there is little doubt that she represents a real person.
What makes the picture so special however, is the copious inscriptions with which the artist has covered both sides of the sheet. Whereas some people might throw eggs, kick doors, or write a letter to The Times, Stanley Lench produces a picture; one in which he not only caricatures his antagonists, but tells them exactly what he thinks of them.
A whole range of emotions are here. He rages against those who snubbed him: You pigs and you whores…you shall not beat me with your wicked wicked wicked ways. I will make you pay. He expresses disillusionment: Love art I tell you they only love there selfs (sic) money money money. And next to the multi-eyed woman he writes: Lou Tits Bits who’s big eyes do not see the pictures she claims she loves. But there is also determination and optimism: I will be free not a slave for those evil ones of art who have no meaning or feeling for art. I shall see the real world not the non-world these dogs want me to see.
Most significantly, for the artist places this near to the centre of the picture, he invites us, the viewer, to share in his aspirations that the past, with all its disappointments, should make way for a brighter future:
See the moon
hear the bird of life
not the rats of nightmares
Feelings of anger and frustration can now be laid aside. The artist, having got such negative emotions off his chest, is ready to face the future.