“Nothing that lives is rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent…to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyse vitality.” John Ruskin
I’ve been thinking a lot about imperfection lately – surely a subject pertinent for any painter.
Louise Bourgeois believed that an artist should never throw any of their work away because contained in the imperfect work was the nub of new, more successful pieces. In the sumptuously produced Imperfect Home by Mark and Sally Bailey (rylandpeters.com, £25.00) the philosophy of imperfect is applied to home decor by looking at the creased, scuffed, shaded, crafted and gathered. A middle class luxury, perhaps, as my mothers’ memories of unmatched crockery and no pillowcases carry with them shame rather than abundance because they were circumstances of necessity rather than choice.
For me one of my most utilitarian yet treasured pieces of furniture is a recycled bookcase made by my father from an old futon bed base: there is an energy about it bound up with the hands that made it and the sleep that it witnessed. I always think it looks best when the books are raggedy and jumbled…
I love the fact that there are still books left over from when my son was young, along with some of his university acquisitions. These nestle in perfectly with my ever growing art book collection which seems increasingly to be muscling the fiction and therapy collections aside!