Saturday, October 31, 2009

always there's the process...

This quote I found scrawled in a journal the other night... having rewritten the name Macleod due to the lesson learnt that sometime later you may actually want to drag out a quote and it helps to be able to decipher it! I found the Guston quote poignant, as obviously did Euan Macleod , a NZ born artist based in Australia who's work I'm very drawn to.

Figure Sitting on Boat in Desert - Euan Macleod
2007 oil on poly-canvas 150 x 180 cm

The words "I leave too and the painting starts" resonate strongly. I'm reminded of what it takes to realise the approach to creating that works for us. The process may involve long hours and endless musing even if sometimes a work suddenly flows quite easily and is resolved with out considerable perspiration. Becoming receptive to the distinctive thinking and working processes of numerous artists has only added to coming to terms my own particularities of working. How many hours can be consumed invalidating a process that is true for us I wonder.
Getting out of our own way long enough to allow something to come through is of primary importance...I think Guston says that very well!

These 2 images above I noticed on the blog Four Seasons in a Life  just after starting on this post tonight. The post titled 'When is a work in progress finished?' somehow fitted with thoughts the Guston quote had prompted. If you visit this thoughful blog of artist Egmont Van Dyck he writes eloquently on his process of working on the material photographed above.
I must thank Egmont for his generous comments and acknowledgment in featuring my blog as his weblink of the month. When I recently came across 4 seasons I found I was drawn into a difference sense of time and space.
All established blogs have their defining character and mood - this one took me a little by surprise - a certain density and care-full-ness that caused me to slow down and consider.  Carefulness does not always wear positive connotations. However, in the way that often happens, we notice things that stand in stark contrast to certain of our own tendencies and processes. Egmont gives the word care full ness new meaning...reflected in his art, his writing, even his blog layout. What did not err to my thinking was the soulfulness - to read this blog and and his other one - The Artist Within Us  is to be quietly nudged to notice things, to encounter life more fully. Perhaps this is not something that will speak to all who visit, but evidently for a blog that's quite new, there is a sound audience who are noticing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

when one things leads to another...

The other day my mother came across some early drawings I had done when I was about 12 and not yet in high school...wait till you see the one I'm talking will definitely need sunglasses I'm warning you! I decided to scan them...and whilst at it found a few more bits and pieces that were reminders of time I scanned them too. Then I wrote this hello -and scanned it - to post for  Rohan, one of those amazing people in my life that I've been lucky to know now for two decades..or longer... as he is the son of a very dear friend who resides about 800 miles south of here. I have to show these pics of the garden recently created at my lovely friends home out the back. Plants were chosen to attract butterflies, bees and birds. M has always had beautiful things around in her garden, coming from  the Adelaide hills where she grew up walking through daffodils and jonquils each spring on the land at the back of her family's stone cottage. The sad thing about moving is the friends you leave behind...this is the house where I have a lot of happy memories in Melbourne, and wish I was there more often for the cups of tea and dinners with all at the long table! (miss you all lots!)

a few journal pages from 1987 in Europe

this one below is from high school days...when I would sit in class and with my blue biro cover page after page of white paper as I listened to my history teacher go off on great tangents for an hour at a time! There is a very 70's quote with this I was about 16 at the time...and very idealistic! 

as I said about the sunglasses you would need...below is a wild texta extravaganza I did for Book week in my last year at Primary school. Obviously TV was bringing psychedelia to the small country town I lived in... this had to be 1970 and I do wonder what exactly I was looking closely at as the inspiration for the colour in this one... but there you have it...12 years old and its all happening...with the textas anyway!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Art arrived here with science by tagging along...

Images: top 2 taken by Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen on a research ship 66o miles north of the Antarctic... found at Inhabitat  this month. is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future -well worth a look!

The 3 Images below were taken by Steve Nicol - found on the Australian Antarctic Divison website . For the curious click on the website's Arts Fellowship  program to view websites of participating artists like Stephen Eastaugh where you can read his Intransit  archive of journeys to Antarctica and beyond.

I have borrowed words for the title of this post from the 2009 Intransit journal entry where Eastaugh  discusses his experience of being in this location in the role of artist. Science he suggests is the main reason people come to this tags along...mostly in the form of photography.
I was interested to read here there is a recently published Antarctic English dictionary formed from science, acronyms, slang, Inuit and other borrowed words...all required to describe this icy continent.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caio Fonseca

The artist Caio Fonseca came to my notice about 5 years ago when I was immersed in researching contemporary abstract painters outside Australia. To see an extensive collection of images visit the artists website . I was seeking work that resonated in some way with my own preoccupations in painting. He was one of quite a number of artists from across the web that I revisited and mused on at length.I found the works to be constructed in an interesting manner, layered and intriguing as the dimensions played with ones seeing. Sensually applied paint, strong forms,refreshing colour palettes, a feeling for space and mystery...plenty to  consider further.
Scratched into a journal were these few quick notes, hopefully accurately documented - here is a statement which I connected with from the artist: "the essence of painting is for me is the secret nature of forms"
Jacquelyn Serwer form the Corcoran Gallery of Art wrote, in 2004(?), that 'Fonseca belonged to those artists with a continuing devotion to early abstract key principals - the creation of art that derives its power from the essence rather than the appearance of things, that relies on the fundamental experience of the visual rather than the narrative, and above all that retains a paramount respect for the process and craft of painting'.
A further comment I have jotted down comes from Peter Scheldjahl (1998?) re the struggle for the abstract to reassert itself in the eyes of many contemporary curators at the time. He cheekily asks he question "did they imagine that people would contentedly read wan texts forever? He postulated "instead...human eyes are hungry for visual and emotional rewards"
I certainly found my research rewarding at that time and continue to find it so. Each time an artist has caused me to stop and enter into their way of seeing is a chance for reflection both on their work and where I am with my own.
Perhaps most fascinating to discover over the years is which artists continue to speak strongly  to oneself and why. This is always a most interesting conversation to have with others.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

seeing things, quietly

From the pen of Janis at paintbox who lives in the San francisco Bay Area and is a painter, printmaker and textile designer with a refreshingly pared down way with words and images and a (seemingly paradoxical) defining richness of thought and responsiveness distilled into all she does. Sending a warm hello to Janis!  This drawing from her kitchen was posted 13.10.09

a walk in the wilderness

Visiting the charming "mes petites miscellanees" blog  from Marie-Es in France I discovered something that had to be shared this morning. Marie-E's blog celebrates colour amongst other elements and with a keen eye for less common images.

Introducing 'A walk in the wilderness' by Carmel Walsh who says of her shoes: "they are made with vegetable tanned leather, walnut wood heals, fabrics including caucciu covered organic cotton, linen. raffia, hemp, bamboo and cork to support the forms. Fun ideas spring to mind with my collection, changing the seeds instead of shoes with the passing seasons. It is my hope that in their second life they will decay and grow as an art piece."

In a world where 330 million pairs of shoes are thrown into land-fills every year, Carmel felt the need to make a product that would endure and try to find a balance between fast and slow fashion. She collaborated with a while range of suppliers to find suitable materials to meet her criteria. To read this article and see some excellent images click on Yatzer - an comprehensive weblink with the motto: *design is to share* started in 2007 by Costas Voyatzis.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

string gardens

This concept is sensationally intriguing and works as an art installation quite brilliantly. I have yet to read up on the background to this project based in Amsterdam but you can find information  at ijmstudio   blog as well as at the string gardens  website.

Inspired by Karl Blossfeldt: Ceramic artist Astrid Dahl

Astrid Dahl is a South African based ceramic artist showing work in Liberty at London and such places since meeting Neville Tricket of Saint Verde  fame who introduced her to the photographic work of Botanist Karl Blossfeldt's images of magnified flowers, buds and seed pods. Last week I chanced upon the work of this artist and just now I discovered at art propelled  on an April 4/09 post this story re the Blossfeldt connection which anyone familiar with the archival material of this extraordinary photographer will recognise as the inspiration behind these ceramic pieces. See more work at Amaridian in New York and the artist's website. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rex Ray's Flamboyant Formalism

A couple of years ago when visiting my favourite bookshop in Newcastle 'The Bookhog ' the manager Suzanne (who happens to be one of those quietly extraordinary people who knows her customers well and acts as mentor and book whisperer...well...I needed a name for what she I had to make that one up on the spot) came up to me and put a book in my hands and said buy this one Sophie! Rarely a false step on her part in recommending many a book I took time to pour through REX RAY ART and DESIGN ...and yes... it came home with me! 
I was very drawn to his process of working and his story was compelling, visually and otherwise. An article posted at Artworks magazine  in 2008 covers the story quite succinctly. A Chronicle Books publication the book on REX RAY was indeed appealing. It felt Iike I was entering a world of colour and form when I opened the pages. 
Douglas Coupland says in the foreward this art manages to be "unslick - but...superslick at the same time." Its not that no one else has worked with these materials or shapes ...they are certainly not unique to him. BUT there is a singularity in his particular immersion in colour and form that works like its very much his own language...born of something authentic within the artist that has found it way out into the world, without contrivance, or being added on or copied. 

In the last 2 images shown above the walls are filled with collaged works on paper. Anyone who has attempted similar exercises with cut and paste know poetry does not arrive simply out of placing and gluing some bits of colour on paper. The rhythm here is evident shapes, in tones and hues, in variations on several key themes. He listens to music intensely in his studio whilst at work and the music seems to very much be alive in the work. I'm tempted to think of them as colour poems.
Some have been quick to pass him off as 'too' graphic, 'too' design oriented. However, having worked compusively with a particular elliptical form in my work over some years, long before seeing this work, I find it only too easy to recognise how deeply a form can live in you and need to be articulated over and over.

Rex ray gallery 16 new work san francisco 2
The artist at work (above) earlier this year on a 9' x 25' canvas bound for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Visit the website here.  NB Michael Paglia wrote an essay for the Chronicle book on the artist coining the phrase 'Flamboyant Formalism'. 


Saturday, October 17, 2009

art interventions by nuria mora

This morning I came across Nuira Mora's work through Poppytalk  - listed under decayed - in a  post featuring work from the artists's website of paintings carried out to cover graffittied walls. The characteristic geometric signature that is Nuria Mora's at once enlivens and calms the eye. Her website comes across as distinctive, novel and charming, yet somehow gutsy. Do have a look at  - more art interventions like this I would love to see. Nuira's visual language appears quite sparse and abstracted but there is a richness to her ideas that became apparent as I investigated further. The watercolour I included hints at an interesting vision for living environments in urban settings. I'd like to read more on this artist!

watercolour work

at the Tate Modern 
NB Nuria's exhibitions that I viewed form the Tate and Berlin were collaborative projects. 

from planetprozess in Berlin 

cosmopoetica  in Cordoba