Art Interpretations – My response to “No Love No Hate” an Exhibition by Mike Marshall

February 19, 2009

Having recently been to see a lovely exhibition “No Love No Hate” by Mike Marshall at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston, it set me thinking, and inspired me to chitter chatter for a while. Maybe tittle tattle for a bit, even.

I do enjoy hearing an artist talk about their work, as it does offer insights into different ways of interpreting and understanding the piece which is presented to a recipient in a gallery setting.  Sometimes it can add, sometimes take away, sometimes enhance and sometimes ruin… but it always brings something previously unthought of, for consideration.

The photographic image “Flood Plain” shows some pot plants standing on an expanse of cracked earth. Though differing from the blurb, and most probably from the artist’s own purpose, in this, I saw not a vain attempt to bring life into an environment which offered no hope of survival, but a sweet, symbolic act. Who is to say that the plants in pots would be left unattended to die? Despite the apparently endless situation, they were, after all, in their pots. Isolated from their original context of a garden centre, and radiating colour and intricate plant forms at the centre of the image, it was, to me, an image of strength and success – their placement centrally there in no way gave a sense of them being overcome or weaker in some way than their surroundings.  How different from the blurb “With no expectation of survival they will wilt, die and eventually be swept away in an inevitable flood”.

Does this difference matter?  No, not at all.  For the beauty of visual art, more so even than poetry, is the vastness of possiblilities open to anyone who LETS themselves respond in their own particular way. Does an artist seek to impress their own purposes onto others, or are they happy for what they do to be received in whatever way?  Most, I would hope, grant their fellow mortals release from their creative intentions, however interesting and valid they may be.

I enjoyed the exhibition very much.  In “Volume and Frequency” I particularly enjoyed the visual relationship between the two sections involving interplays of light and air on the leaves of trees and the sparkles of light from the movement of waves. Differences in movement, point of view, and subject matter, and just the simple links which ones mind automatically seeks to make when presented with two different visions made it most stimulating. I would have preferred to watch it in silence, and I could have also had much longer timespans for each part, but it opened my eyes to a type of art form I have not previously had much interest in at all, which is why I decided to go to the exhibition in the first place.

The piece entitled “No Love No Hate” really grew on me, and I think I could watch it for at least half a day! Won’t go on about that, but definately worth going to see!   Even better, of course, would to be in the exact location, in the flesh!     Never mind.

Being a great believer in the value of a contemplative approach to life, I found Mike Marshall’s  art resonated very well with me.


Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is  ( replaces the older now deceased website

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at or through the contact form at for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.

 It is also quick and easy to license an image for use through DACS.  Please note: Permission must be sought in advance if you wish to use images by Jenny Meehan. In the first instance, please contact Jenny Meehan. Copyright for all works of art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. 

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 


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