Book Review: Well I Just Kind of Like It – Edited by Wendy Erskine


Posted 4 weeks ago in Book Review

Well I Just Kind of Like It, edited by Wendy Erskine, is a playful, evocative collection of essays, reflections, and conversations on art in the home and the home as art. Erskine peppers images in between these pieces, forming its thematic spine; an illumination of the ordinary in the domestic sphere. The collection comprises sixteen written responses with many contributors offering a portal into their own personal gallery: the home. This concept rejigs the perception of art and what elements of daily life can provide an artistic context. It is endearing to read about objects in dwelling spaces that are typically unrecognised as art like ‘those rumpled white sheets in the wash-basket, a thing of wonder’.

In the opening piece, ‘Garret’, Darran Anderson poignantly recalls art in his childhood abode through a new-found observation as an adult. He refers to his parents as ‘the most unlikely of curators’ and compares his home to ‘the most unlikely of galleries’, which encapsulates what the collection probes — is everyone a curator for their own personal space? Each colour, painting, and piece of furniture is chosen by someone based on their own aesthetic preference, subconsciously or not.

“Undoubtedly a vibrant tapestry of work, Erskine masterfully concocts a visual feast in Well I Just Kind of Like It.”

Many of the responses shine a spotlight on how art in the home has the potential to conjure a narrative. Rossa Coyle’s ‘Two Scrolls: Good Luck and Love’ is an anecdote about buying, with her partner in Beijing, overpriced scrolls that now proudly hang in their home, simultaneously preserving a moment and a story, serving as some sort of time capsule. David Hayden’s piece ‘Always Approaching’ lets art in the home produce a narrative, but in a melancholic way: ‘there were no paintings or posters or photographs or ornaments. No mirrors. No made form or image, no thing that could be…mistaken as coming from life’. Thus, the stark absence of art reveals a despondent emptiness in a home without it.

Seeing as the home can create a narrative, it thereby has the power to preserve history. Latifa Akay’s ‘The Rug on The Wall’ chronicles a decades-old rug from her family home that sparks her curiosity about the women who made it. With the help of her father, she discovers that the knot in her handmade rug signifies when the women might ‘have paused for a break or a chat’ while making it. Similarly, in Joseph Scott’s ‘The Lady in My Living Room’, he refers to a piece of art that triumphantly remains hanging on the wall, not for its artistic quality but for what it represents. He later realises that the unmoved painting is perhaps symbolic of his courageous mother, which captures a multitude of emotions and memories for them both.

In the closing piece ‘Spent Light’, Lara Pawson cements the collection’s motif as she refers to how ‘a building is a spirit.’ This proclamation feels incredibly true after reading such an array of genuine, thought-provoking responses to art in the home. Undoubtedly a vibrant tapestry of work, Erskine masterfully concocts a visual feast in Well I Just Kind of Like It.

Words: Aisling Arundel

Well I Just Kind of Like It

Edited by Wendy Eskrine

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