Royal Drawing School, London, February to March 2019
There's something pleasingly implausible about being taught how to see by a blind man, but that's precisely what Sargy Mann offers to do.
As with so much of my artistic education, it's my son Samuel who I've got to thank for knowledge of this extraordinary work and the man behind it. Samuel borrowed a copy, so gave me sight of, the self-deprecatingly named book 'Sargy Mann: Probably the Best Blind Painter in Peckham' and then took me to the Royal Drawing School show. The Drawing School's paintings were almost all completed after Mann had become completely blind. How this is possible - and that they are as they are, so luminous and lucid - simply beggars belief. But it's not a secret, since the book is in large part an autobiography of the loss of Mann's sight over many years, and is brilliantly complemented by his son's film of the artist at work; measuring, re-measuring, drawing with Blu-tack blobs, explaining what he's up to and ultimately filling his large canvas with intense colour. I read the book and watch the film... and still I can't conceive how he did it, what was going on in his head to make it happen.