Quentin Blake: Large as Life
The crooked outlines of a world illustrated by Quentin Blake are both comforting and familiar.
Probably with this in mind, public and private hospitals, domestic and over-seas, sought Blake out to produce illustrations for hospital environments through the Nightingale Project.
The scheme – a project run by the NHS to get art and music into hospitals – has turned to Blake for a series of commissions in recent years.
Now the works have been brought together for exhibition Quentin Blake: As Large as Life, which will be shown at Newcastle’s Laing Gallery next month.
More than 50 works will be shown, addressing themes including mental health and eating disorders.
Among those on display will be Mothers and Babies Underwater, a commission for a hospital project in Agers, France, and Welcome to Planet Zog, which was produced for the Alexandra Avenue Health and Social Care Centre, South Harrow, which provides healthcare for young people.
For Ordinary Life in Vincent Square, Blake visited the Vincent Square Eating Disorder Clinic, London, which was to host his work.
Speaking with young service users he discussed ideas, and looked to be celebratory in a series of works which variously depict characters feeding birds, walking a dog and painting a self–portrait.
Blake says, ‘I think the very presence of pictures helps to make being in or visiting a hospital a more normal, less alienating experience.
‘What I have tried to include is a certain amount of detail, some interesting activities, and some suggestions of the little drama of relationships, so that the viewers – especially any who have to wait – may feel the desire to go on looking and perhaps even to speculate about the stories happening in front of them.’
Quentin Blake: Large As life, is on at the Laing Art Gallery from 7 July - 14 October at the Laing Art Gallery on New Bridge Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8AG.