Eden Waugh & How To Know You Want a Work of Art

After a day of rigorous installation for Borderlife (see previous self-promotional post) I hardly felt like attending a Tuesday night exhibition opening. (Well actually a closing, but all the same really.) But I dragged my sorry self over to Craft ACT Craft and Design Centre for drinks to celebrate the exhibition Epidemic – containing the work of recent graduates, as selected by Craft ACT staff.

Half an hour and one beer later I dragged myself out again, a hell of a lot poorer for having purchased a painting. (A painting? from a craft and design gallery? Yeah, I know, but we live in strange times).

In my fragile state I had been completely ambushed by a cracking series of paintings by one Eden Waugh. I hadn’t heard of Eden previously, but am now positive that I will be hearing about him in the future. This is some seriously good painting. Naive yet cutting, with lashings of colour and passion, these works are what you would get if Matisse and Bonnard spent a drunken night with Basquiat in a primary school art room. That said, they are incredibly intense, with a twisted beauty and an undeniable strangeness.

So I bought one, entitled Waiting For Her To Call. I can’t say it was an easy decision (mostly due to the price) – I spent the entire time I was there in uncomfortable deliberation. Ultimately, I knew I had to have it. Here are the major signs that you won’t be leaving the gallery without making a purchase:

  • You rationalise the price by thinking of all the finances that may come your way later in the year. For example ‘I could use my birthday money’ when your birthday isn’t for another five months, and no one was planning to give you money anyway.
  • You have visions of your future. It’s 2027, you’re in your beautiful house in the country, sitting in front of an open fire, above which hang THE ARTWORK. sigh.
  • You nervously start to scan the other gallery visitors, looking for signs of people who are either rich, or also enjoying the artworks enough to possibly buy them.
  • You stand fixed to the ground in front of the artwork, elbows out, doing everything in your power to obstruct the view for fear somebody far more decisive will beat you to it.

But oh the sweet relief when that little red dot gets stuck to the wall. And the even sweeter relief when I discovered that Craft ACT do layby. Bless them.

And if you come to visit at my house in the country in 2027, there it will be, hanging above the fire: Waiting For Her To Call by Eden Waugh.

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