The Piano Player signed 'Colin M' and with monogram (lower left) oil on panel 91.5 x 76.2 cm. (36 x 30 in.) Please note that this work is doublesided.
Although this work does not pertain as such to the 'Wilderness' series, it does however, bear many of the hallmarks of the corresponding period, which spans the years from 1972 to the late 1970s. The choice of bright, contrasting colours, impossible perspective and the presence of a 'black hole' as well as the combination of flat surfaces and delicately curved figures floated on a quasi-monotone background are the basic characteristics of the majority of Middleton's work from this period.
It is reminiscent of The Wilderness of Eddy Merckx, The Wilderness of Banto Patterson and The Wilderness of Salvador Allende, to name but three. A dreamlike quality pervades these paintings through the inclusion of the wheel, the flowers, the candle, the waxing moon and the swirling lines from flame and hair to sheet music, latching once again onto the woman's thigh: These have belonged to Middleton's symbolic devices almost right from the beginning of his career as do the death mask faces of the figures in both of these works. Similar faces predominate The Refugee (1944) and The Ventriloquist (1947).
The reverse of the main work is an unfinished panel dating from the late 1950s to early 1960s when the artist was engaged in designing and executing mural projects in North Antrim. As a result of this experience Middleton went on to produce a series of abstract geometrical works in which, once again, the female form becomes all important.
We are grateful to Jane Middleton Giddens for compiling this catalogue entry.