‘Between the lines’ by Julian


He started always with blue.
A solid background, his trademark colour. It is winter always in his paintings, and winter uses
every shade of blue there is.
The paint builds up, layer upon layer – a blue barricade –
a self-contained universe carved from sky.
The paint moves independent of the canvas, free from the varnish, faithless to its description.
Faithful only to her; the brushstrokes familiar with her outline,
muscle memory recalls the curve of her jaw and the curl of her hair.
Around her the universe is created.

Time contracts like a flexing muscle, spilling colours across the stone floor the way a wound weeps,
running down the wall – bleeding out into the world. A crashing tidal wave of cobalt reaches its apex and
is drawn back into itself – a threshing circle.
Art is all veiled confessional. Blue is shorthand for grief but
when caught in the right light
the distance between the width and the length
becomes the distance between Vitebsk and Paris
becomes the 365 days wrapped up in the year unfolding
All the revelations of the name
all neatly summarised on a white museum plaque.

65.4 x 54 cm
The paint never dries, never holds them down for long; the dead that don’t yet know that they are dead.
They bubble beneath the surface of the skin, keep marching, keep moving forward through the layers of
paint, rising like smoke, like heat. They fly up through the ozone – rootless lovers all tangled in each other
over a blue city.
They swoop like song, rise and fall. Drunk on the impression of singing and washed clean by the light of
the moon. They have been living here for years within printed lines, resistant to agenda or
They are outside of time, invulnerable to the contours of canvas.

Exiles outlast their sentence but the boundaries remain. Boundaries that ebb and flow, stretch and snap back
to the dimensions of a canvas – elastic freedom in a length of rope.
The oil smears – a blur of battalions moving in. Cracking the ribs, picking at the paint scabbing under the
broken bellies of fishing boats. They take torches to the houses and the lovers, treading water so far
above, so far exiled and foreign to the floor, cannot reach out to touch it.

The grief is heavy but it will only take a single line. A blue enormity condensed into the palatable, the
consumable. Cohesive within the theme and unobtrusive,
we must account for other griefs, we must make space for other suffering. The fire burns red.
Blue is the smoke that rises up from a burning homeland.

There is a great deal left unsaid.