Writer, journalist and poet Rachel Spence discusses Charlotte Verity's paintings and prints in this lyrical essay with accompanying haiku.
It is brave in 2021 to wager your painting practice on the flowers in your garden. It was even braver back in 1977 when Charlotte Verity graduated from the Slade. A time when painting was derided as old-fashioned, traditional, patriarchal and conservative. When flowers were for chocolate boxes and gardens considered less poetic than building sites.
Today, the art world is looser. From performance to photography, sculpture and sound, anything goes. Painting too is welcome again. Yet Verity’s practice remains rare. While other fine contemporary artists employ the medium to bear witness to contemporary politics, or to illuminate figures erased from art history, or to explore abstract, interior monologues, Verity’s fidelity to the plants and flowers – weeping birch, languid fuchsia, a spillage of plumbago – of her South London Arcadia sets her apart.