Nobody is more boring than an old codger who insists on explaining to the current generation that he can remember when there were no telephones and people had to shout loudly to each other from the tops of small hills. But I can't help being amazed that within my own lifetime we have come to the point where images can be electronically transmitted with all their colours true. When I was first a student in the late fifties, and just beginning to get interested in art, the publishing house called Skira was bringing out some of the first art books with their colour plates printed directly on the page, instead of being tipped in. There had been reasonably faithful colour reproductions of paintings since before World War I, but it wasn't until after World War II that they could be run through the press along with the book's text, and that was regarded, correctly, as a thing for wonder. And now look at us: or, rather, look at what we can look at. And it's all just a few clicks away.
This Painting department opened in October 2005 with just one artist to show, for although Olly & Suzi walk the earth in two different (very different) pairs of hiking boots, they have become famous as a single artistic personality. Even while I was in the process of buying one of their pictures I was scheming of ways to transfer their unique imagery to a website that was so far only a set of diagrams in a notebook. My gratitude for their willingness to be guinea pigs (definitely not the most ferocious creature they have ever faced) is endless. In January 2006, Claerwen James was the second painter to arrive, and since then there have been others, listed on the right in the order of their joining. Younger painters will forgive me for saying that I look on John Olsen's agreement to participate as a great day in my life, but really every new artist takes over my mind as they all take over their allotted space. The thrill I get as each arrival's paintings are displayed gives me some idea of what a terrestrial gallery owner must live for, but without the anguish of eventually seeing the pictures getting wrapped up in bubble paper and taken away by the private buyer. It's much more, in other words, like running a municipal gallery: just that there's no building. Or there is, but it's made of pictures.