Wednesday, April 24, 2013

reposting from 2011: visually eclectic!

This is a post from 2011: . When I came across it this morning it was missing images and looking quite sad. I had to restore it and in so doing found some interesting work ... some of which comes from sources you might well know.

I decided to repost it here now... well worth sharing!

Tonight I found time for 'breathing out' at tumblr after a most intense two days becoming familiar with a new laptop ... ironing out issues that resulted in a hour long conversation with AppleCare.

Mari Andrews Studio

Tumblr is great for when you feel short on energy but want to quietly peruse some visual ideas.

Umm Kalthoum overlooking a Cairo slum, Egypt

Can I suggest you pop over to Art Propelled - the infamous blog -and read Robyn's amazing post 'synchronicity-birds-and-healing' which I just did. Astonishing story from this South African artist whom many of us admire for numbers of reasons... this tops it off for me!

then take a look at this...


(by adour garonne)


“Silent Alcove” (Original Art from M. Lehrer-Plansky))
“Silent Alcove” (Original Art from M. Lehrer-Plansky))
cobaltika: Also go to the wonderful Maryanne's blog - blue sky dreaming


Spencer Wilton
Spenser Wilton


Field notes (flora & fauna) from the urban jungle « sakurasnow
Field notes (flora & fauna) from the urban jungle « sakurasnow
dear-ada:  Sakura Snow blog - hello Suzanne!


Sati Zech
Sati Zech  leslieavonmiller:


Voynich’s manuscript -
…garden journal’s are a beautiful thing!
Voynich’s manuscript …garden journal’s are a beautiful thing!
From Iran I liked the work of this artist very much:

Meem Art Gallery

About Meem

Since its launch in 2007, Meem Gallery has established itself as a leading specialist in the Arab and Iranian art world. The gallery's aim is to promote the work of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern artists, and inspire viewers to engage with, and gain a deeper appreciation for, the art of this region. Meem's strength lies in its unparalleled access to both private and public collections of the world's leading artists. In its first year, the gallery distinguished itself by gaining exclusive representation rights in Dubai for the work of Ali Omar Ermes and Nja Mahdaoui, bringing their art to the Emirates for the first time. Other prominent artists exhibited at Meem include Dia Al-Azzawi, pioneer of modern Arab art; eminent sculptor, Parviz Tanavoli; internationally acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Abbas Kiarostami; leading Turkish artist Ismail Acar; respected Gulf artist Abdullah Al-Muharraqi; and the rising star of the contemporary Arab art world, Hamza Bounoua

I was trawling  tumbleword  when I came across hanaa-malallah whose website revealed much food for thought!

Hanaa Malallah

Hanaa Malallah

Hanaa Malallah

hanaa malallah

Hanaa Malallah
Shroud 2 2010
Folded burned canvas and
mixed media on canvas
150 x 150 cm

Hanna Malallah (b. Thee Qar, 1958) received a Diploma in Graphic Art from the Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad in 1979, followed by a BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts, Baghdad in 1988 and an MA in Painting from Baghdad University in 2000. In 2005, Malallah completed her PhD in the Philosophy of Painting, at Baghdad University, where she wrote her thesis on Logic Order In Ancient Mesopotamian Painting. She also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Islamic and Modern Art from SOAS, London.
She has held numerous solo exhibitions including Schedules and Signals, Athar Gallery, Baghdad, Iraq, 1998; Anda Gallery, Amman, Jordan, 2002 and 2005; and Vivid Ruins, The Mosaic Rooms, Qattan Foundation, London, 2009. International group exhibitions include Contemporary Iraqi Art, Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, 2000; Baghdad International Festival for Contemporary Art, 2002; Iraq's Past Speaks to the Present, British Museum, London, 2008-09. She has several awards including Prize of Arab Organisation of Education, Culture & Sciences, 1984-85, First Prize in Painting, Eighth Festival of Al-Wasiti, 1991, and Honorary Award, South Lebanese Cultural Council, 2002. Her work is held in collections at the Centre for Art, Baghdad, Royal Jordanian Museum, Amman, and British Museum, London. She lives and works in London.

Hanna Malallah
Certain Knowledge (back
(detail) 2010
Needlework and mixed media on canvas 
150 x 150 cm

Shroud 3 (detail) 2010
Folded burned canvas and
mixed media on canvas
200 x 200 cm

I have posted here below the full 'artist's statement' from her website and suggest, if time permits, you read it for the acutely poignant way it speaks to the history of her country of origin, long past and recent past. 
I found this intensely interesting reading... I'm always drawn to think about what it means to be born to a certain geography, time and atmosphere ... and how people work with what is presented to them that may or may not be possible to overcome... at least in the short term.

My contributions to this exhibition are the result of my art practice since the early 1990s and also represent a point of transition towards the inclusion of figurative ‘similes’ as part of my ongoing quest for knowledge in the heart of abstract systems.
I began researching abstract systems (geometry, numbers, mathematics, letters, religion and art, for example) during a year and a half of seclusion in my studio on the first floor of my parents’ home after an intense materials and practice oriented painting degree from the Academy in Baghdad. Iraq was barely recovering from eight years of war with Iran whilst getting ready for armed engagement with Kuwait leading to the disastrous 1991 Gulf War and years of sanctions. At the same time, Shaker Hassan al Said, one of Iraq’s great artists and teachers, was refocusing the gaze of an entire generation of local artists towards the Mesopotamian past enshrined in the phenomenal collection of artefacts housed in our National Archaeological Museum.
Viewed as ‘modern’, these objects – many of them marked, or ’ruined’, by the passage of time – informed the aesthetic direction characteristic of the Eighties Generation. We deemed traditional art materials as incapable of delivering our artistic message. Instead we worked with burnt paper and cloths, with barbed wire and bullets, with splintered wood and found objects, borrowing from history and our catastrophic present alike. For many of us, this ‘Ruins Technique’ became the visual signifier of our cultural resistance and a carrier of our identity as Iraqi artists.
We also challenged received art terms and invented new ones. For example, in 1991 I recreated a three meter long segment of the ancient Al Warkaa temple wall with clay and cement on wood depicting ancient geometric symbols. In western art historical terms, where abstraction is defined either as non-representation or as the conversion of observed reality into patterns independent from the original source, the work can easily be considered abstract art. In my practice, however, the original source is an essential element of the composition process. I have thus coined the expression: ‘significant abstract’, meaning that the aesthetic aim has to reflect the original source in the very material presence of the art work. The spiritual quality of this perspective has become increasingly important to my practice.
As sanctions continued throughout the 1990s and art supplies became sparse, necessity rather than rebellion forced us to increasingly utilize found objects, recalling perhaps the Dada movement in Zurich at the time of the First World War. In 1999, as part of an exhibition called Icons of the Environment, I showed a work composed entirely of an accumulation of things picked from the streets of Baghdad, one each day, and pressing it into the surface of the work. This accumulation of signs became a document, a diary of daily life. Movable red squares allowed for audience interaction, signifying the playing of futile political games generating a vast amount of new ruins whilst simultaneously referencing our ancient Royal Game of Ur.
This kind of work led me to formulate a theory which postulates that if any image (figurative or abstract) is distilled to its rudimentary components, the result can only be abstraction. Therefore, all representations must, ultimately be considered a collection of abstract symbolic systems. These systems have their origins in our first global civilization, Mesopotamia, and are consequently embedded in all subsequent –global- systems. For many years, I have negotiated my practice on the intersection of these systems. I also agree with my philosophical mentor, Wittgenstein, who states in his Theory of Symbols that we create pictures of facts which serve as our models of reality, and that representation must share a logical form with the fact.
My immediate reality changed four and a half years ago when I left Iraq, and though I still burn and tear canvas and cloth, my work increasingly focuses on two vast fields of thought: religion and art. In testing the veracity of art’s spiritual roots as well as the limits of abstraction, I seek knowledge in the space between abstraction and figuration. The representation of the Hoopoe, the iconic leader of the Attar’s avian seekers, in his epic ‘Conference of the Birds’, for example, serves as a simulation of reality, which in itself is a simulation of perfection. Many of my works assimilate the idea of the hidden and the process of emergence based on awe of the unknown and the notion of transformation in the promise of the Secret.

Hanaa Malallah
London in 10/06/2010


Shroud 2 (detail) 2010
Folded burned canvas and
mixed media on canvas
150 x 150 cm

I know I have posted on this before ...but a favourite piece from the ancient world is this decorated box below. 
The Standard of Ur (also known as the "Battle Standard of Ur," or the "Royal Standard of Ur") is a Sumerian artifact excavated from what had been the Royal Cemetery in the ancient city of Ur (located in modern-day Iraq south of Baghdad). ...Wiki  - 
The two mosaics have been dubbed "War" and "Peace" for their subject matter, respectively a representation of a military campaign and scenes from a banquet
© Trustees of the British Museum

Banquet scenes such as this are common on cylinder seals of the period, such as on the seal of the ‘Queen’ Pu-abi, also in the British Museum. The Standard of Ur – The British Museum

The Standard of Ur is actually a hollow box decorated with mosaics of 

lapus lazuli red limestone and shell set in bitumen Sumerian 26th century BCE (2)
This is a rather long post ...but its been a while since I really had time to blog leisurely and so I have enjoyed taking time out to spin some visual threads and simply enjoy the process.
Have tried to pop in and say hello to the lovely bloggers who take the time to visit here...and to notice new followers coming along!

Its been ages since I spring-cleaned my blog roll...there are people I wish to add... please forgive the neglect!


Anonymous said...

Hello Sophie! :)
I'm very glad you re-posted this - Mari Andrews' studio is a wonder to behold, and I absolutely love those rock pool formations... there are wonders everywhere!

I hope all is going well with your current state of house/studio flux.


Valerianna said...

I love my little studio, but when I see Mari Andrew's space, I swoon! And I love the wall of patterns. I've seen it before, but always LOVE it. Lots of great work here, thanks for lunch-break inspiration!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Great re-post Sophie! I was surprised and so pleased to see my 'silent alcove' in this mix...thank you! This post has so many layers, I will be returning for more time with these magnificent images of Hanna Malallah and soaking up 'Standard of Ur'...lots here!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Valerianna,
yes.. the MA studio has been circulating for ages now...and yet as you say... it still speaks so freshly!
reminds us of the possibilities! Must post on studios soon and include yours which is inspiration for me!

SO glad you popped in Mary Ann and found I'd posted your wonderful work. .. well resposted actually! I know you, like me, have a fascination for the ancient world so I hope you get tot read what the artist Hanaa wrote.
I just now spent time doing the and was reminded why I'd felt compelled to post her work in the first place. I adore her detailed telling of her own art education and its reflection of her country and culture... and the way her thinking and work has evened through so much difficulty and challenge.

Mlle Paradis said...

hi sophia! yes, love the MA studio too and all of the visual eclectica. loved also the previous post about:

what it is that we can do that is NOT the usual. and the g. marx quote. all good places for stopping and thinking.

hope the househunt is progressing. xo!

Sophie Munns said...

hello mlle p ...
yes... house-hunting is gathering momentum... getting clearer on what we like and knowing places better too.
GLad you had thoughts on the habitual vs the fresh etc... all worth a bit of a think.
Seems a shame not to pull out some old archival material to reshare ... might mean I get to post more often if I do and at the same time repair broken images and stuff.
Loved seeing your work recently...