I've been away but things have continued to develop. Margaret Mytton has been busy helping Derek Smith find solutions for a number of issues surrounding the film that the Trust has commissioned. One thing has been to work on the script - getting things factually correct, for example. An associated issue is finding an independent and critical voice to comment on Dave's work and even his place in 20th century British painting.
We've plenty of informed comment from friends and colleagues, but it will give the film more weight and a sense of perspective if we can find a knowledgeable and independent voice. Of course this is very difficult - because Dave was almost unknown it's inevitable that we will need to introduce his work to any critic, probably for the first time. This itself leads to additional problems - although Dave left an enormous amount of work his really major pieces are large and can't be seen properly, certainly not within the tight confines of the restored studio. In particular the Byzantium series, the work that Dave considered his major achievement, is currently impossible to study.
In order to find a solution to this Margaret is looking at the possibility of showing a selection of these pieces, perhaps at Easter, in a gallery large enough to hang them properly - possibly the Holden Gallery at Manchester Metropolitan University where they were originally show in the 1990s. To help this process on Margaret spent Sunday with Chris Pearson recording the paintings he has in store in his house in Haslingden.