If you want to see what philosophers look like when they let their hair down, head for Corbridge.
Once in the Northumberland village, go to the Balman Gallery where you’ll see paintings by Chris Gollon, including the one called Dancing Philosophers.
Chris has had close links with the North East since he became a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University in 2009.
Every year this body, established in 2006, assembles groups of leading researchers to brainstorm a particular theme – in Chris’s year, Being Human. Chris doesn’t trail academic letters after his name, but he does know about being human, as you will see from his acrylic paintings which throb with emotion.
His work is held in important collections, including that of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Dancing Philosophers recalls Chris’s surprise on seeing the distinctly egg-headed individuals he had been chewing the fat with all day letting rip on the dance floor in the evening.
A similar theme of academic joie de vivre is captured in Jazz Night at St Mary’s, the movement conveyed in every brushstroke.
A sense of abandonment might be understandable in this canvas but a Gollon still life of wine and cheese similarly appears to throb with inner life.
The painting you see here, Still Life in Orange and Black, with its seemingly crucified scarecrow and broken guitar, tells a sadder story.
Chris returned to Durham in 2011, this time as artist-in-residence at St Mary’s College.
This time he chose Love as his theme and the joy, the tears, the heartbreak are all there to see.
They are not what you would call beautiful paintings, but they have the ring of truth.