Twenty two thousand Miles
Hovering behind and beyond this exhibition was the unsettling sense of an additional presence to collaborating artists Steve Dixon and Tim Sutton. It was not the robust character of veteran tap dancer, and minstrel Charles who features so prominently in the film and photographs, and lends the exhibition its name for his incredible feats of walking. Rather it was a more shadowy cast member; a future self, hauled in front of us, called to account, confronted, questioned, examined, and after defending itself with dignity, and a sad grace, wandering off and leaving us with the taste of stupidly wasted youth, or middle age still in our mouths. Wistful, knowing and made wise by long experience, this self haunts and carries our understanding for a show as tender as it is painfully honest.
It is hard to decide whether to be charmed by the incandescence of Steve Dixon’s drawings or sorrowful at the ravages they uncover, to be beguiled by the hypnotic quality of Tim Sutton’s loving portraits of the last minstrel, or broken by the knowledge of time and old glories passed.
If you look, you will recognise; it’s whether you choose to look. I’m glad I did, and I will again.