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Lawrence Gipe, “Thames, 1946″
Oil on canvas, 48″ x 60”, 2017-2018

While it is evident that these merry souls are not practicing proper “social distancing”, they certainly do exude a familiar sense of isolation in an otherwise dark and moody time. To be more precise, Gipe’s evocative oil on canvas painting “Thames, 1946” is a depiction of London’s working class crossing the River Thames in a post war landscape.

The pearlescent blue sky is luminescent yet eerie. The smoggy orange horizon, troubling. And with a limited use of color, an evening’s light and a certain industrial haze, Gipe captures the beauty of an era full of promise yet brooding with a backstory of equal loss. The reality of things, of times, of people, when portrayed humanely, are always those that convey such complex points of view. This is such a piece.

I especially appreciated Gipe’s rendering of the human figures in the immediate foreground. Some are pure black silhouettes, faceless in a crowd of countless workers, while others emerge amongst them with hauntingly distinct facial details. I do a double take every time I look at this painting, because it is so unexpected, painfully beautiful and utterly memorable.

Rarely has London been so grand and foreboding as it is in this masterful work by Lawrence Gipe.

Paul Mahder