In Between, Almost Gone
January 29, 2019 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Doreen Fletcher began painting the East End of London in 1983 (her first painting was a doomed building behind a bus stop in Mile End), capturing a city that was fast being demolished and replaced, and giving colour, beauty and a quite dignity to an area often considered grey and run down.

Most of her subjects are the shops, restaurants and other doomed buildings of the East End, with occasional exceptions.

She continued to paint the area until 2004 when lack of recognition left her disheartened. In 2015 a chance encounter with the blogger The Gentle Author (of the Spitalfields Life blog) led to the rediscovery of her paintings, a number of exhibitions (the latest of which is currently on at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow), and a return to painting.

Recently, to promote the Nunnery show, the Gentle Author interviewed Doreen about her life and work.

( article with slightly bigger pictures.)

Unknown to her at the time she was painting the East End, Doreen's work followed in the footsteps of The East London Group of working class painters who captured the area during the 1920s and 1930s.
posted by Grangousier (10 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
These are really stunning. Thanks for posting.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2019

(Something I should have said, by the way, is that if you go to the blog on Doreen's site, you get a lot of her paintings with commentaries on where they were, why they were painted and so forth.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of the great largely unmet challenges of modern painting is to master the complexity of the contemporary urban landscape and deliver up its aesthetic soul. Doreen Fletcher is among those who is doing the job, along with Wayne Thiebaud and, strangely enough, some anime.
posted by Modest House at 2:53 PM on January 29, 2019

These are amazing. And her commentary is fascinating.

Thank you.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2019

The work is fantastic but a pox on the designer for disabling the back button. So frustrating.

But yeah, beautiful work. I'll revisit often.
posted by dobbs at 3:18 PM on January 29, 2019

These are so beautiful Grangousier, thank you. It's a long time since I lived there but mental images of the East End always seem framed this way - stark and specific - and they catch at my throat, like swallowing down a sharp ache. These paintings capture that feeling exactly.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:08 PM on January 29, 2019

Strong vibes of Edward Hopper here. Compare her Rene's Cafe to Hopper's Early Sunday Morning for instance.
posted by elgilito at 6:05 PM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by Middlemarch at 8:32 PM on January 29, 2019

Oh fantastic, I've recently moved to the area so I'm fascinated by its past and changes to present.

From clicking on from this post, there's an art book of the East London Group and one for Doreen Fletcher too.
posted by JonB at 6:05 AM on January 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
posted by YoungStencil at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2019

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