This large painting features a crowd of people doing things outside on the street. Borrowing from the conventions of cartoons, the artist has given several of the people speech and thought bubbles, which emerge, empty, from their heads. Speech is white and thought is blue, but neither is actually put into words. Perhaps verbal expression has given way to a different form of expression - that of painting itself. At first glance, the picture looks unfinished. Only one part of the painting is 'properly' worked up. Yet it is finished, and the rhythms that play across its surface are tightly controlled.
As we investigate the picture closely, enjoying its stories, all the present participles of its title begin to refer back to painting - as an activity to be pursued, a mode of thought and a method of speech. This work is about the real world and the possibilities for engagement with it as a painter - the use of the habit of painting to explore its potential for communication.
- Artwork Details: 193 x 305cm
- Material description: oil and acrylic on canvas
- Credit line: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Lisa Milroy
- Theme: People
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC47/2000