Sue Hubbard on Diane Arbus…

The New Statesman web site is carrying a fascinating review by Sue Hubbard on the Diane Arbus exhibition that is currently at London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery (until 27th June).

“‘I really believe there are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them.” Diane Arbus’s photographs of people, many of whom were on the margins of life, were rooted in an understanding of the relationship between photographer and subject. Attuned to the small tragedies of contemporary life, she was to photography what Raymond Carver was to literature. As John Szarkowski, organiser of the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark 1967 “New Documents” exhibition, said: “The portraits of Diane Arbus show that all of us – the most ordinary and most exotic of us – are on closer scrutiny remarkable.'”…

Rothko’s Red Reading…

Sue Hubbard will be reading from her recent short story collection Rothko’s Red on March 10th. The event takes place in the hospitality suite of the Hackney Empire and begins at 7.00pm. Entry is £5.00. The event is organised by “Fiction Writers in the Visual Arts”, you can get further details by calling 07967 161 291.

Here’s what The New Statesman had to say about Sue’s collection, published last October by Salt

rothkos-red-thumbEach story in this, Hubbard’s first collection of short fiction is nominally centred around art. But what truly links the pieces herein is the themes of longing, loss and melancholy, and a sense that not even an intimate knowledge of the beautiful and the sublime can protect one from the daily tragedies of life.

While several of Hubbard’s protagonists ultimately find redemption, it is always at a cost to themselves; the academic who gets away with cheating on his wife, but not without being fleeced by his mistress; the widow who realises that she is content alone, but only after a disappointing sexual encounter with a man she meets on the internet; the middle-aged divorcee who has an affair with an immigrant you enough to be her son and who she regards with distant amusement.

With Hubbard’s background in art criticism and poetry, it is not surprising that her writing is painterly and vivid. She lingers on colours and textures, edges and scents: Mummy grew tomatoes, red gems, that what she called them… I remember that special smell when she watered them in the early evening after a day of sun.”

The collection is quiet, almost to the point of defiance, but in its understated, delicate descriptions of the mundane, Rothko’s Red has an acute power.

Sue Hubbard Reviewed in The Independent

Here a link to Nicholas Royle’s January review in The Independent of Sue Hubbard‘s début short story collection, Rothko’s Red, published by Salt Publishing last September.

rothkos-red-thumb“[Sue Hubbard] fashions an arresting opening in which Adam and Maggie gaze at a large magenta Rothko that prompts him to utter a paean to her genitals. But Adam is just the first in a long line of disappointing men blundering naively or selfishly through Hubbard’s stories. Inability to commit, unreliability, unfaithfulness – just some of the character faults her protagonists encounter in male partners.

Other recurring motifs are mildewed books and broken frames, silvery stretch marks, women washing under their breasts and their armpits, doing up ruins in Italy….”
Read more of this review here.