Sunday, April 18, 2010

exhibition opening weekend of April 17 and 18

Images posted here below are from the just opened Homage to the Seed Exhibition at Embiggen Books and Gallery at Noosaville, 2 hours north of Brisbane. Friday I drove through heavy rain on the road up the coast - squalls of rain continued till today ... but did not dampen spirits. My charming hosts at the Gallery soon had order made of various artworks, lists of titles, prices and such and I put my mind to visiting local places to drop off flyers and seeing what was happening about town.

A beeline was made next morning to the Eumundi Market - a delightful excursion. I made a point of visiting stalls where local people were selling organic produce, some even selling seeds they'd collected from their harvest. I collected names, stories and contact details and decided I must return. For the gallery opening I bought lemon myrtle-infused olive oil to go with artisan bread from Brewbakers (fav Brisbane bakery) my home made dukkah (seed-food!), a bunch of fresh lemon myrtle, thai coriander which smelt fabulous, small orange persimmon, rosella branches with fruit still on, beetroot flavoured cornchips, wasabi crisps, tiny dried figs, pumpkin seeds plus my own labneh - yoghurt cheese - rolled in dukkah). Dont ask me why I did not photograph this colourful spread with flora and pods arranged on a handprinted cloth !

Conversations with growers and producers led to invites being issued to the exhibition and subsequent offers on their part to promote the Homage to the Seed project through their networks. With this exilarating start to the day the up-tempo mood remained over the entire weekend really. The 3pm opening Saturday was well attended by friends and new connections from afar ( special thank you Laney!) and some wonderful people from the local area whom I was delighted to meet. Even some of my young students from last year were able to come along as they were up for a weekend trip to the coast! It was excellent to have Phil Cameron from Brisbane Botanic Gardens  in attendance as he was able respond to queries on the Millenium Seedbank Project which was an  important stimulus for this particular show.

There are so many things I could add about the amazing chance connections on the weekend. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had showing work to date - the animated discussion, particularly after the artist's talk Saturday, led to wonderful ideas being cooked up and addresses exchanged.

Sunday morning catering was left to the excellent neighbouring cafes  - Organica on the left and the German Bakery on the right kept everyone happy. I was getting reports on the amazing range of goods at Organica, but never made it in ... although I did enjoy an excellent coffee from there ! The  easy atmosphere of people coming by for an hour or two over the day offered the chance to get to know new people and catch up with friends and family. Others are invaluable in helping one see ones own work more laterally. After an intense month or so in the studio where I was spending more and more time towards the end - barely talking, maybe listening to a little Radio National, it was the reverse situation all weekend where lack of sleep and adrenalin kept me talking rather a lot more than usual.... and of course the wonderful visitors  who brought great stories and experiences of their own to share.

Its getting late so I am leaving with you with a series of art works which should enlarge on clicking for your perusal - sorry about the lack of titles and such. I must retire.
Warm thankyous to those able to come along either Saturday or Sunday - I dont think I missed out on a decent chat with any of you...and wasn't this Gallery/bookstore the perfect destination for the weekend!!!
To my blogosphere were missed but not forgotten...thank you for your kind words all!

IMG_0342 by stevenality.

IMG_0349 by stevenality.

IMG_0344 by stevenality.

IMG_0347 by stevenality.

IMG_03355 by stevenality.

...the tired but happy artist with sister Jana (right) Sunday afternoon

IMG_0359 by stevenality.

... this last image was snapped at the end of 2 wonderful days of visitors to the show. Books and journals had been put to much use whilst talking to the viewers about work and ideas behind various paintings. The bookshop atmosphere was so conducive to this... with quiet browsing areas where some took the journals for a quiet read. This for me was a highlight of showing in this wonderful venue. Unorthodox perhaps but satisfying by all accounts, especially anyone seeking an introduction to the work or a look into the ideas around it. With the Homage journal containing many small and quick scribblings and sketches from the Seed Lab at the Botanic Gardens this mode of presentation allowed for far greater insight into the residency project which was the central purpose of this exhibition.

Photos courtesy Warren Bonnet at Embiggen Books with additional images courtesy Steve Kozak.


Unknown said...

Sophie !
looks great ! , congratulationsand good wishes !!
Best Liv

Altoon Sultan said...

The show looks great, Sophie! I especially like the oval paintings and the long narrow rectangle hung to the left of them; there's something wonderful about using a format other than the standard rectangle. All the work looks full of life. Congrats.

Caterina Giglio said...

oh thanks for taking me to your show!! what brilliant work Sophie!! I just love all your pieces and what a huge show!! so much work and awesome too! I am really inspired, since I am working on a new accordion book on seeds! best of luck to you and from the expressions on your viewers I bet it was a smashing success!!

Unknown said...

Beautiful pieces!!! Pity it was raining though. I was unpacking the shipment on Friday in the rain.
Glad to hear it was a lovely weekend!!
Cheers, Karen

Nicola Moss said...

Hi Sophie,
Congratulations. You obviously had an amazing experience on the weekend. Not just your wonderful exhibition, but all the meeting with locals, conversations and connections developed which I know is a big part of your practice Sophie. This engagement is hugely rewarding for you, well done.
Look forward to seeing your work in the flesh soon.

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Liv,

thanks for stopping in from Scandanavia with your lovely message!
Thinking you must be dealing with that from the volcano fall out
being somewhat close!?

Hello Altoon,

Very pleased to have your experienced and discerning eye cast over the work in a way that provokes further reflection. Too soon into the residency clearly for me to have settled into the visual language and format that best carries the range of fascinating material (visual and otherwise) that is at my fingertips. In one sense it is premature to show the work - but without that bold move to take it out of the scramble of a studio space I've outgrown, bursting with fascinating books and visual stimuli, I might not have has such a wonderful opportunity to review where I am at present, what it is communicating, what I would like to move forward with and so on.

Luckily I wrote a simple artist statement making this fact clear for the viewers - that they were seeing work very much in progress. I will post the statement for reading as it pays tribute to the way the Seed lab has contributed to my thinking, the various people I have met there and in particular the sustained dialogue with the person in charge. There's been no easy way to translate all that into paintings. Who knows - it may take the best part of the year.

What was exciting was to meet people for whom this process of meditating on the life force contained within this subject matter was of great interest - both in the way of scientific observation of individual species of seeds, but also in more poetic and symbolic terms. You refer to the work looking full of life - that perhaps is getting at something that drives this restless search for form rather than aquiring an approach too soon that may feel formulaic or to be a replication rather than interpretation.

Each person who paints is aware of certain inner urges in regard to form and content, composition and meaning. Many artists experience a need to shift focus or approach in their art-making. Perrenially I am interested in the animating life force which Science is managing to capture more and more astonishingly wel - but poets have perhaps long intimated! - I dont always quite know how best to make visual this essential impulse... so my work can feel "in progress" a lot of the time... and yet I have to be true to that. I may look at the work of many artists quite closely at times... but it always comes back to me this absolute necessity of giving attention to one's own impulses despite any external pressures and demands.
much to consider!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Caterina, (La DV)

thank you for you very warm response!
I was a very busy woman for the last month in particular.
Q: Biggest challenge?
A: moving away from familiar ground and interpreting new material... Probably why the show looks bigger than it is .... lots of different stories demanding attention and not yet resolved into a more unified series of work. Still ... its early days!

Your accordian books sounds fascinating... love to see that!
Success was great in in terms of enjoying the experience. It was lovely to overhear people discussing their wish-list had they the money... and I did sell works too so... it was an excellent weekend for many reasons!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Karen (dragon fly)!
Friday was pretty awful if you were trying to work in it.
I had to pack my art works and everything else in my car just as it was teaming down and then commence driving - seriously over tired- straight into the heavy rain. (So I can imagine you were having a hell of a time!)
Once up the road a bit the sky cleared and I managed to have a most relaxing drive most of the way before another heavy downpour slowed me down when I was not far from Noosa!
all went thanks for your very good wishes!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Nicola,

Thanks for your warm and gracious comments.

You are right about dialogue and my art practice. As much as I have been known to disappear into a studio for days, weeks, even months its the most natural thing on the world when the time arrives to surface if there are fritful places to connect. I have had some very interior years where I was more likely to read and write at length than communicate.

The residency is well timed for me in 2010 with various circumstances having opened up to make it a possible undertaking.. You would not have seen me here 5 years ago or even 18 months ago. Preoccupations of many years - both artistic and intellectual -have found a way to weave together, first really through the blog which I started a year ago and then through a series of meetings around the same time when I had formed the seed project definitively as my direction to pursue.

It was when new friend Marilena heard me out on the ideas I was forming in a very fruitful exchange one day that I was able to start joining up a lot of dots.
Many of the meetings after that just seemed to connect more and more dots. The more stories and more listening I did the more opened up. Its was as simple as that. It was Marilena who told me about the Seed Bank. Had she not listened so attentively there would be a huge gap in my life right now.

Timing is a curious thing. When I was a 24 year old art teacher there was not a whole lot of listening going on around me. This made me very restless and yearn for quite what I wasn't sure .... certainly for what wasn't there. So to be where people equally listen, discuss, ponder, and contribute - in mutually significant ways - is both very rewarding on a personal level - but its more than that...I see others are also more alive when they are engaged in deeply satisfying work, or exchanges, or pursuits....and able to share that. Over the years I saw evidence that you can act to make things better not just for oneself, but in a broader way. Uta Heidelauf whom we both know has had that motivation behind starting BADC and you definitely have that with your passion for the environment and pursuits like good gardening practice, seed saving and local enterprises working in collaboration on these things!

To meet others and learn about how they are being enterprising and working towards the common good does a have a very uplifting effect which can be passed on. It also gives one access to a lot more knowledge and the feeling that there are many out there who care about things and are doing something life-enhancing about it. The synergy of good connections allows much more that is worthwhile to happen, potentially, with less procrastination. This is my reason to not replicate all those interior years- not that I was completely isolated but I was certainly not engaging as fully as I do now, with so many positive offshoots.

I was quite amazed to realise how much this concept of 'relational aesthetics' was taking off when doing post grad studies a few years back. Before that I'd heard a bit about 'dialogical relations' from a friend doing an Education PhD. I guess I dont look to formally write it into my art practice even though all this theory would validate it - I see it as a critical part of being human and being in community....and of maturing and having something to give back. There are many ways to give back and this building of relationships coexists well with the interior practice of art-making for me. I used to try and make art work about mutual engagement - serious, large paintings on this challenging concept because it felt so important. I must say it is easier to just get on with egaging in real life and paint this current body of work. But perhaps that makes sense Nicola of the deeper motivations. Its not talk... its true conversation between equals... a riskier thing that requires artfulness and adeptness.and time!

I really appreciate your perceptiveness and hope you can see the work as it unfolds Nicaol...slowly...slowly!

Natalie said...

Hi Sophie
Firstly, thanks for leaving such kind comments on my blog(s). Your work is excellent and fascinating - I am also fascinated by seed pods esp. Australian seeds!
Please drop by for breakfast if in London! We could chat about art and Aussie seed pods...
kind regards

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Nat,
I was so taken with what you had made for you breakfast on that post i had to write and invite myself. Being an aussie I thought you would read the joke in my bold move and not feel put upon.
Last time I was in London was 1988... so you will know I am unlikely to knock at your door any old day!
its been lovely to find you through 52 suburbs ... when we commented on that great post on La Perouse I think.
I am enjoying the colour and flavours you bring to your life in London. And good to see your paintings and designs.... and managing to cook up a storm. Thanks for kind words...seed pods are pretty compelling. Indian cuisine uses many interesting seeds and such...just thinking abou this the other day!

r.bohnenkamp said...

Hi Sophie,
Congratulations to the wonderful exhibition.
I wish you much success and I'm sure you'll have it.
Really great independent and unique images. best, ralf

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Ralf,
thank you for visiting and leaving such a warm and also interesting comment.
I have been very much enjoying observing your wonderful art practice through your picture diary... the diary format allows for the viewer to get a sense of your artistic and aesthetic concerns despite lack of knowledge of the german language.
So I really appreciate that you offered something pertinent for me to muse on.

Mlle Paradis said...

Hi Sophie!!!!! Loved!!!!!!!! I think it's so interesting that some of the first ones you show have gone quite pale and white. If one spends alot of time in some corners of the blogosphere, it inclines one to that delicious pale atmosphere. And I'm quite as susceptible as anyone. I do still love your color work too especially the floating forms on top of the pools and layers of other images. They're very tactile too. Feel like I could swish my hands around in the paintings and pick things out and grab ahold. Very nice! Love the big seed pods piece. So glad you had such a nice time despite it being tiring.

Well so, put your feet up for a little bit - i suspect you won't be sitting still for long. And I'll be back to see WHAT'S NEXT! Toodles!

p.s. love Dolce Vita's idea for accordion seed book...hmmmmm

Sophie Munns said...

Hello MP,
lovely to have a visit from you!
YES paleness!! I need different moods and I've sometimes loved choosing to hang a work that is very faint and subtle for that very reason.
After a break from the studio I sometimes return with fresh eyes and find I need a new colour sensibility to explore - as if untangling some fixation in the brain to allow new thoughts to come into play. Sometimes a certain artist's work will lead me to an equisite palette so utterly refreshing and unexpected it feels like you have found gold. Mary Fedden's work has a singularly distinctive palette - I liked your post on her work the other day MP... the fact of including colours one does not expect together.

Your comment about the tactile thing in the work for the show... swishing your hands around... was great! And your comment about pools and layers... there is a fluidity that lives in the work... more obvious in some. A deep fascination for notions of the infinite that fluid substances can refer to but exists in all things at a molecular level. Some of those pale ones hint at that... seeds are part of the seeming endlessness of existance... although they are vulnerable and do become extinct ... and we are faced with that right now. Ruminations on how I might paint such things I hope will lead to more work dealing with that.

and yes...a little slow time is a very good thing. My task to pick up the promotion thing recently and make some inroads was the challenge that comes from not being known in the location where the work was being shown and also really its the first formal step into exhibiting in this region since having left the place where I'd built up all those layers of connection two years ago, waiting out recovery from disruptions of a medical nature, and so effectively starting as if from scratch. Anyone who has relocated in later years knows you are not just taking on the typical challenges of change that when young are highly desirable at times. As much as this has been a fabulous relocation, close to family and not so far from where I grew up, one's connections built over time and layers of shared experience are cut adrift and you do need to rebuild any individual initiatives you have going from scratch.

That may not translate easily when people have no context for the way you work and there can be a very awkward unfamiliarity to overcome. You and I MP enjoy the stimulation of the new. Not everyone chooses to encounter the new or unknown with curiosity or acceptance. So linking through common interest becomes the life line - and finding those who are adaptive mariners themselves aids one's journey!
always a pleasure Mlle paradis!
S x
ps and yes - a great idea from La Dolce Vita

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Sophie,

The hour is late and I am very tired, but I did want you to know that I stood up and applauded.

I am very, VERY proud of you and I wish I could have been there in person.

A return visit is promised . . .

Your friend,

Sophie Munns said...

Dear Egmont,

you are charming! Keeping late nights and busy as ever no doubt. You are lovely to squeeze in the few words which are such a compliment.

I should have liked to have walked through the works and talked with you ...instead your kind wishes travel well and are heart warming indeed!
Thank you friend!

red-handed said...

Always amazed by maze-like patterns.

Sophie Munns said...

Dear red-handed,
thankyou for bringing a new angle to think on to my attention. I'm with the idea though...have often liked to work on something that can take one away for hours!
By the way - flicked over to your blog....will be back as I was intrigued - instantly!
thanks for finding your way south to leave this comment!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I too have returned several times, clicking, enlarging and taking in these beauties. I will return again...congratulations on what must have been and what must continue to be a spectacular show!

Mlle Paradis said...

Sophie - got your email and will respond to it soon. Since I was doing family stuff last week, all the chores and day to day stuff got neglected. So just popping in.

Hope you're resting up. I do think that precisely what you're doing is so key. It's all about the work and eventually, the rest follows. But the path is never even or obvious. Tradeoff: oh delicious discovery!

Big cyberhug!

Mlle Paradis said...

Uh oh! Hope you got that last comment Sophie. I have no short term memory and sometimes I click the wrong button in the wrong direction!

In any case I'll say it again, got your email and I'll be back!

Sophie Munns said...

Maryanne - how kind of you to say!
Its was almost a surprise to me to see what I had been working on in total... tiny studio... no real chance to step back from the work. Too little time for lots of musing.... and a challenge to make something of my experiences at the Seed Lab. I have just completed a post on that at the other blog....the source of much inspiration in a way.
Its been delightful to engage with others on the work and on themes stemming from the show.
Warm thanks

Sophie Munns said...

Mlle Paradis,
Your'e a treasure!
getting a bit more rest but also catching up on documentation at the moment... clearing the desk so to speak!
Like you, if things take you away then you come home and clear the deck, nest a bit! Its good to have the slow time!
cyber hug back to you!!

annamaria potamiti said...

What a wonderful blog- full of amazing images and soooo much food for thought! Thank you so much for sharing all this-
Annamaria :)

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Annamaria / Caramela!
I loved discovering your work and the atmosphere of your blog - so thank you for your appreciative visit to my little cosmos if words and images!
I shall be back your way!

LAC EMP 2020 said...

I found your work and your blog via Gloria Freshley's blog and I just love it. I am so taken with the graphic quality of it along with your fabulous use of colour and pattern. Seeds! What a tremendous source of inspiration although you have access to a few more exotic ones than where I live in the UK. I shall be a regular visitor form here on in and can't wait to see what you do next ! Lesley

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Lesley,
Lovely to have you visit! I am just back from popping in at your lovely blog where I learned you love bees, poetry and post-its. I am joking about the last bit... I saw the vimeo and it was a classic!
The garden images are wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing more... The use of poetry was so delightful ... your recent post made me wistful for some imaginary life in the english countryside that I certainly have romantised. On the other hand watching Midsomer Murders as I have been known to do - we who view that show in Australia - think its safer to live in London than an English country village!
Thank you for your lovely comments about the work - it is good to register what others are seeing when looking for the first time. There's a deliberate attempt to go for some primal essence being seeds.... Were I dealing with plants then I'd be deciding things like should they be painted in a gardens, a vase or container... in situ or whatever. With the desire to evoke the the latent potency of even the tiniest seed then a different range of ideas come into consideration.
bye for now Lesley!

em said...

what a beautiful show! how i wish i could have been there! i saw a red dot - does that mean something was purchased? it looks like it went well for you!!!! how wonderful!

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Em,
Yes.. red dots indeed... It was a good opening. Strong interest and some purchases to boot! Very pleased as I am not known to people 2 hours north of here and its only the early stage of the residency in terms of getting the story out.
I am in a group show in June with 9 others so when I was running around pre-show trying to do promo and reading the promo schedule for the group show - knowing that will be shared between 10 people - I was thinking...OK...Im doing fine here on my own! Its all relative.
And it was actually a smart thing to have a viewing over 2 days... people came at staggered times and the conversations were so much easier to have this way. People are curious and they like to have a walk through and chat - I find this more alive than communicating through a white sheet of paper and theres the benefit of another's way of seeing to go off on new tangents!
Would have loved your company - nice part of the world for you to walk through nearby rainforests, national parks and such ...a little too far.... sigh!
Big thanks for lovely comments Em!

Janis said...

Thank you for taking so many photos and bringing us virtually to the gallery. Looks like a success! Sophie, I really love your work, I love your spirit, and you are an amazing artist... xo, j.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Janis,
lovely to hear from you and see you are back online after a bit of a wait!
Glad to have you visit - albeit virtually...It was a delightful experience up there and I will go back on this weekend as it still has 2 weeks to go!
Your comments are treasured Janis... having come to know something of your approach to life and art ... and the value you place on the authentic and the particularity of things... intimate, sometimes simple and always universal ... where our work may seemingly diverge in form, style and direction the essential impulse is not all.
Its humbling to read your comments...thank you Janis!
S xo

Sanne said...

Wonderful Sophie! i really love your layered and energizing work!

Sophie Munns said...

Lovely to hear form you Sanne and thank you for the great comments...

ArtPropelled said...

I'm a bit late to congratulate you, but wow! An amazing body of rich, gorgeous work!

Sophie Munns said...

Its never too late Robyn...especially when comments come to emails first so you can actually know they are being left!
Tonight I am painting again on this theme - getting ready to participate in a show with 9 others in a couple of weeks. I have spent the day pouring through the most brilliant book on Queensland Rainforest fruits... drawing seeds, capsules and cross-sections...thinking, musing... immersed...
so to have you find this work is a lovely thing and your appreciation settles me into that sense there are viewers who respond - warmly - and share the joy of creating with each other...! Its late and Im about to head to bed... so to come sit and the computer and find your message come all the way from South Africa... it makes for a happy note to end the day!
thank you!