We have included this painting in 'Emergence & Transformation' embodies both themes, and the current state of the human race in the light of the many challenges it faces, from Covid-19 to climate change to worrying political upheavals. It is a very moving painting by Chris Gollon, with the figures so physically and emotionally interdependent, which seems to show our current human predicament, perhaps through the eyes of an otherworldly witness, or simply an aerial perspective. Let us hope the ace of hearts brings us luck, and that our human spirit and interdependence help us through....
In 2015, Chris Gollon was experimenting with his own form of grisaille (an almost monochrome technique). He had always enjoyed Breughel's use of grisaille in the late paintings such as 'Death of the Virgin', where black, white, and brown or ochre were used. Gollon started to develop his own form of grisaille in acrylic, using just black, white and burnt sienna. In this painting (originally entitled 'The Loved One') this strict use of just three colours gives a quietness and timelessness. As he began his artistic boundary crossing with Eleanor McEvoy, Gollon rethought and retitled this work after Eleanor's song 'Heaven Help Us'.
The artistic collaboration began after Eleanor McEvoy bought a painting by Chris Gollon entitled 'Champagne Sheila', a middle-aged female nude, pouring one too many glasses of champagne. It led her to the concept of her next album, NAKED MUSIC (pictured with this work), for which she tentatively asked Chris Gollon to paint an image for the cover. However, Gollon was so taken with the music and how the lyrics allowed him, as a man, into areas of feminine thought and desire, he produced a series of 24 paintings, four of which were used on the album sleeve. In January 2016, a NAKED MUSIC exhibition was held in central London, curated by IAP Fine Art at Gallery Different, at which Eleanor McEvoy performed and launched the album. Later the same year, 'NAKED MUSIC The Songbook' was published (Hot Press Books, Dublin), which included the songs and the paintings, as well as interviews with Gollon and McEvoy about their collaboration.
“For this NAKED MUSIC marriage of Eleanor McEvoy’s music and Chris Gollon’s paintings [...] they have each worked individually, while also accepting the risk and challenge of incompatibility. At first glance, Gollon’s startling and provocative figures may seem to have little in common with McEvoy’s classically sculpted tunes and lyrics, but there’s a defiant edge to her work that encourages it to lean out over the parapet and embrace Gollon’s almost anti-classical approach. [...] just as Gollon’s images have been praised for their “stark visual simplicity and the absence of background detail”, so McEvoy’s performances on the fourteen songs on NAKED MUSIC are pared back to their most naked forms, bearing only the most essential elements. So an apparent incompatibility becomes part of what links these two fine artists together, and the juxtaposition of their work in NAKED MUSIC encourages the fan to look again and listen one more time." Excerpt from 'NAKED MUSIC: The Risk and Challenge of Incompatibility', an essay by music journalist and author Jackie Hayden, in 'NAKED MUSIC: The Songbook', published by Hot Press Books, Dublin (2016).
Courtesy IAP Fine Art and artist's estate. First shown in 'NAKED MUSIC' exhibition and album launch at Gallery Different, London, curated by IAP Fine Art. Loaned to the 2019-2020 museum retrospective of Chris Gollon's music-related works 'CHRIS GOLLON: Beyond the Horizon', at the Huddersfield Art Gallery.
2016, NAKED MUSIC, London 2019-2020 museum retrospective of Chris Gollon's music-related works 'CHRIS GOLLON: Beyond the Horizon', at the Huddersfield Art Gallery Emergence & Transformation, on-line exhibition, IAP Fine Art (2020)