MY WIFE SEES IT, I SEE IT, WE SEE IT. After securing respite from rain and riot in a crowded café, our rioters wrestle with hot chocolate from adult mugs. A painting; a snow-scape. Nothing extraordinary beyond weight and symmetry of composition, and the tête-à-tête between off-centre this and that. But a backward step from perceived clichés tells us something different. A foregrounded fence, a somewhat silly retention, real or imagined, challenges first impressions beyond and before the pale: the painter that painted it, the covert context that cradles it, us as observers coveting it, and the price tag 85 tethered to it. (FYI: the image does not wrap around the edges as café paintings seldom don’t.) Phew! What painter hurdles a timber fence to take a photograph from such a sheepish sentiment in the brrr of winter... and then commit it to paint, to public scrutiny, to time? Not a friend; no a stranger, penned in before a paradise, or an image of a paradise chosen because it is exactly what it’s not, what it can’t ever be. Even if the painter didn’t hurdle; even if the painter chanced upon this scene in the snow or upon some cosy kitchen table, this painted image of something lost and out of reach is paradise found, painting figured. Sure. Another detached painter living off flat images of flat images with deep, liquid intentions—abjection comes in white too, as absence, as possibility. Pew! But how deep a thread of canvas can be if a painter is not so... so-so. “There There.” Here the details are entrenched. Here—there—where the fence meets the painter’s lovingly gabled initials, MM (Like Lolita’s HH); where the pure shadows thrust against the lying snow; where the evergreens pose a problem; where the Y-fronts trail comes skidding from the house—exit and entrance, a past and a present as arbitrary and innocent as brown fingerprints that decorate two white mugs.