La Maison Hauntee / Ty Screch / The Haunted House
Keith Bayliss & William Brown, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea 2006
I miss the seemingly haphazard, anarchic and wonderfully creative phone call conversations with my friend the artist William Brown. William, by his immense enthusiasm to make and exhibit and to be as inclusive as possible, made him a dynamic presence in Wales and abroad.
The Haunted House show held at the Dylan Thomas Centre happened in this way:
Imagine an early evening phone call between William and myself. You will have to imagine a conversation, at least from Williams’s side spoken in English, French and Welsh. William prided himself in knowing, to some degree, all three. Of course my version is shorter and less convoluted!
William: How about a show about still –life? I’ve been looking at Chardin.
Me: Will, I don’t really do still-life?
William: Dim poeni (no worry) you can do still life!
Me: O.K. Will, I will think about it.
An hour or so later, another phone call (possibly after a glass of wine or two):
William How about La Maison Hantee?
William: The Haunted House, Ty Screch! A show about a haunted house?
Me: What? I thought it was Still-Life? Do you mean ghosts?
William: Think about it.
An Hour or so later, another phone call (possibly after a glass of wine or two):
William: How about a show about the haunted house with still life. We’ll have some poets involved. Get in touch with Woolley (David Wooley of the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea)
Me: Err…? Fine I’ll get in touch with David.
I contacted David and eventually the show happened. For me it was important. I had made small constructions, in tissue and wood, for my own interest, but I chose to make Still-Life, apples on tables. But my still life apples had leaves that became wings, everything painted white and were the Souls of Fruit.
We had Readings and poetry on the walLs from David Wooley, David Greenslade, Malcolm Parr and a poem and photo-montage by David Thomas.
Thank you William, for pushing me in this odd and inimitable William fashion into unknowingly making a wonderfully expressive addition to my visual vocabulary.