Tuesday, June 29, 2010

guess who's coming to dinner?

Well your guess is as good as mine... but doesn't it look spectacular?

I love long tables...

this long you ask?

 as long as Im not waiting on the table I guess it could be that long!

This food just has to be fresh.... look at that field of vegetables.

Arugula's Star Farm, Columbia, TN

Shady trees ... looks idyllic

I found all these pics at the outstanding outstanding in the field's picture gallery.

What they do at Outstanding in the Field:

Our mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.
Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.
Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table.

OK...I showed this image already

Secret Sea Cove

...but read this:

Sunday June 6, 2010

Secret Sea Cove, Bay Area Coast, CA

PRICE: $240.00

GUEST CHEF: Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco

TIME: 3:00PM

Mourad is back. Past Iron Chef winner and returning Sea Cove chef Mourad Lahlou took to the sand in 2009 providing a fantastic meal right on the beach. The scenic California coastal surroundings will compete for attention as waitstaff bring out courses composed of the best ingredients of sea and shore. Fisherman, farmer and winemaker join us on the sand. Our long curving table will be positioned to take advantage of the afternoon sun and incoming tide. Those seated closest to the water might experience a wave or two!

Whilst viewing this sandy dining location the sand drawings of Jim Denevan came to mind. Last year I posted on both his large scale sand drawings and his foodworks - Jim Denevan is both sand artist and the man behind Outstanding in the Field.

The world's largest single artwork, Black Rock Desert in Nevada made by Jim Denevan

The world's largest single artwork, Black Rock Desert in Nevada made by Jim Denevan

Big enough to contain over 176 Wembley Stadiums, the giant drawing by Jim Denevan is visible from 40,000 feet up in the sky.
Taking 15 days to complete, Mr Denevan and a team of three colleagues worked day and night on the stunning piece in May of this year, which has a diameter of just over three miles.

Containing more than 1000 individual circles, Mr Denevan, 48, built up the giant circle using a roll of chain fencing six feet across pulled by a truck round repeatedly to dig into the desert sand.
Based on a mathematical theorem called an Apollonian Gasket, the design is set around triples of circles at tangents to others.
"I set out to build the largest artwork in the world and I am extremely proud that I have managed to do this," said Jim from his Santa Cruz home.
"This individual piece is larger than the famous lines of Nazca in Peru and that is something that excites me.
"Me and my long time collaborator Caleb Cole have been planning this for over two years and it was a pleasure to complete it."
The largest lines etched into the sand of the drawing are 28 feet wide and almost three feet deep in places.
Using high tech GPS technology to organise their co-ordinates to create a perfect circle, the team braved the intense desert heat and night-time cold to construct their masterpiece.
"We began at what we termed our centre point and worked out diametrically from there," Mr Denevan said.
"We had to dig out each line four or five times to mould it into the sand. It was tough, tiring, but of course it was ultimately fun."
He has been creating beautiful sand art for the past 17 years and sees this piece as the next step in his ultimate plan to work with NASA to draw on the plains of Mars.
Mr Denevan discovered his talent for sand art when he idly picked up a stick and drew a 12ft long fish.
"In the future I would love to see if NASA would let me use their Mars rovers, so that I could attempt the first interplanetary artwork," explained Jim.
"That would be fun."       Daily Telegraph 16 dec 2009

 where did those things come from??

loved these images of life on the road... travelling around from place to place to hold these amazing dinners. Images form 2008 blog.... oustandingontour.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010

just quickly....

Hello there . . .

I am feeling very delighted at the wonderful and generous response to the call out to bloggers since late tuesday night!  So . . . 

  t h a n k   y o u   o n e   a n d   a l l   

and there is still plenty of time for anyone coming by and reading about this for the first time! Read about the call to bloggers at the previous post.

Here is a little inspiration to inspire thinking about snail-mail...  all discovered under  art when I visited the wonderful world of  HI + LOW ! Enjoy browsing....   and dont forget... a few well-chosen words about    s e e d s   on a postcard will do very nicely as an entry for this snail-mail project!







dont forget.......

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

artists, designers,makers, gardeners, seed savers, cooks, conservers, recyclers, poets, children...

 heres the thing
we have a great 
project you are invited
 to join in with....
if you are keen 
we'd love you to send us a
wonderful hand made 
on the theme
"Homage to the the Seed" 
via snail mail very soon...
 maybe your card will be selected 
for a special honour to be sent to you
wherever you are on the globe!

Help help us draw draw attention 

to this global
of huge importance
 in this the UN 
International Year of Biodiversity

* to read this properly click and it will open.

If you have any queries please do leave a message in comments ... or ... email me very soon! This project has been designed to bring in contributions hopefully from far and wide...across oceans and mountains, deserts and lakes, north, south, east and west - as well as around the corner and over the range!! 
The future of seeds is a global issue....something "Postcards from the Blogosphere" will highlight!  I hope  anyone with just enough time to put their signature marks on a postcard size surface and mail it off to me at the Gardens by OPEN STUDIO WEEK will do so! If you find you can  manage to send something without too much stress we will be very delighted!! 

The show will go up at the Botanic Gardens in Mid-July when I have a 'pop-up' artist-in-residency studio event happening that is open to the public over 7 days!!!  

Go the the HOMAGE to the SEED blog to see MUCH more of the entire residency project started in February!

PS...LESS THAN A DAY LATER!! -  already I have had a wonderful response in terms of queries from local bloggers, some southerners (down there near the south pole - well actually - not that far south! ), from different parts of the US and Europe!

Monday, June 21, 2010

conversation with Helena: blue sky thinking?

My Photo

I just found the following on a post at The School of Life blog. If you are into reading the likes of Alain de Botton on all sorts of things from everyday life and the not so everyday it might be worth trotting over to this curios blog for a peek at their categories and approach to philosophy. Its very readable ...even  flirting with wisdom for our age ... certainly there's something to chew on. Why I titled the post "conversation with Helena" is that Helena is owner of the gallery where I have some work at the moment and our late night exchange after the opening of the group show ran along lines that I noticed this post picked up on...I recall remarking Joseph Beuys' famous statement "everyone's an artist" needed revisiting...and here Sue Hubbard picks up the thread with "Beuys didn't mean everyone has the potential to be a Picasso."


Blue-sky thinking, finding the inner you; if you look up ‘creativity’ on the internet you’ll be bombarded with sites to help you get in contact with your creative potential. I blame Joseph Beuys, that modern art guru of fat and felt, who claimed “everyone is an artist”.  Now we all feel we have something to say. But do we? Of course Beuys didn’t mean everyone has the potential to be a Picasso.  Motivated by utopian beliefs, culled from Romantic writers such as Novalis and the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, he believed in the power of universal human creativity to bring about revolutionary change.  The psychoanalysts had a slightly different take. Hanna Segal saw art as an expression of the depressive position and the task of the artist as the creation of the world. Great art could be defined by how well it created another reality. In this world the artist mourns for lost relationships and experiences that have given meaning to life. Segal cites Proust who, on meeting some long lost friends, saw how frivolous they’d become. Realizing that his former world no longer existed he set about re-creating that of the dying and the dead. Art, therefore, becomes a form of mourning, where loved ones are given up in the actual world and re-created in an inner one.
Melanie Klein took these ideas further. For her art was a form of reparation for destructive infantile rage against the abandoning mother. While for the psychiatrist Anthony Storr reflective solitude was an essential component.  The cliché that genius is akin to madness is not so far off the mark. Artists, particularly poets, are known to suffer from a high rate of depressive illness. So no, creativity is not about ‘blue-sky thinking’ but about destruction and loss, transformed into art through the arduous creative process.
Sue Hubbard recently published ‘Adventures in Art: selected writings 1990-2010’ (Other Criteria)
OK...so while we are talking about The School of Life have a look at this.... if books have ever been important to you... as in really important...made a difference in fact....then look at this!
Once upon a time, it was easy to find books you could enjoy and which felt relevant to your life. Now a new book is published every 30 seconds, and you would need 163 lifetimes to get through all the titles offered on Amazon. That’s why The School of Life has set up a bibliotherapy service: the perfect way for you to discover those amazing but often elusive works of literature that can illuminate and even change your life.
Make an appointment with one of our bibliotherapists to discuss your reading life – past, present and future. Perhaps you’re looking for a set of travel novels to inspire your next adventure, or you'd like to fathom an aspect of a current relationship through a short collection of essays. Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic and would like to spend six months revisiting classics from your childhood, or you’re seeking change and the opportunity to explore new worlds through a sampling of contemporary literature.

Whatever your concerns, dreams or challenges, we'll take exceptional care and effort to create a reading prescription that's perfect for you.

Our bibliotherapists specialise in works of fiction but also prescribe select works of philosophy, poetry and other creative non-fiction.  They also provide a service for young adults.  Read more here.

NOTE: been very busy planning more things, events and so on... so this is very quick blogging...  see ya!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What have I here?

After a busy week a slow start this Saturday morning!
Waking up slowly,  looking out on a grey day ...quietly trawling a few saved links from the "in" box.

Oh, by the way, great show opening ...good buzz...almost too crowded to move really. Lots of good conversations though and the quiet and cool night air outside to draw breath. People seemed to really enjoy the show and Ill have some pics soon. Back today for a sitting and chats with people I've invited along!
My warmest gratitude to all well-wishers and locally to those who came along and were most responsive. Special thank you to Nicola! And to the lovely organisers - Thank you and well done!!
Many commented they would return at a quiet time for a viewing - a wise move as last night did not allow for that! More soon!

So...what have I here?

First up - from Container list - the blog of the Milton Glaser Design Study Centre and archives comes Dada, explained.

Here’s an ironic instructional piece from early Push Pin Studios member John Alcorn. A highly accomplished designer and illustrator, Alcorn also designed the opening titles for several Fellini films.

I need to find the info on this one which I saved a while ago...its from this same blog!

As is this curious one below.
Quoting from the post Alan Fletcher's "Feedback" :

Starting in 1976, Alan Fletcher, a founder of Pentagram Partners London, began publishing an informal guidebook to interesting places to eat and stay around the world. Contributions were solicited from artists and designers, and compiled into sections organized by region, perfect-bound and fitted in a hard plastic outer binder. In the first edition, type was roughly formatted in Courier and there was no contents or index — the 1979 version expanded the range and gave the publication a more familiar Pentagram gloss, with Caslon set in a tight typographic grid.

The contributors were an impressive bunch, counting among them Saul Bass, R. O. Blechman, Wim Crouwel, Rudolph de Harak, Lou Dorfsman, Bob Gill, Sheila Hicks, David Hockney, Armin Hofmann, Walter Landor, Herb Lubalin, Josef Müller-Brockman, and Maximo Vignelli in the first issue. Many of the designers whose archives we maintain — Ivan Chermayeff, Tom Geismar, Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, George Tscherny, Henry Wolf — also contributed.
Here we have David Hockney's contribution;

From Olivier Mourge, Paris, designer followed by London film-maker Bob Gill;

Pentagram is still putting out Feedback:

Image of Pentagram Feedback

Feedback—now in its 8th edition—is a guide to interesting places around the world with contributions from colleagues and friends.

This reminds me I have a wonderful book by Alan Fletcher still packed away. I particularly loved the idea of these personal anecdotes as a guide to places to visit. I guess blogging and the web provide this in buckets - but there is something particularly appealing about the idea of reading the recommendations of - say Hockney - to some out of the way place.

'Matisse as Printmaker' is a title from Pentagram;




more on this one later....

Time to head off to the gallery...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New work up today for Group Show in Brisbane.

Heading off to sleep at 4am last night had me wondering how I would pull up today. Any ambivalence about the readiness of the paintings was countered today by the pleasure of conversations with others whilst musing over how best to hang the work.
You can read details about the when and where of this show at  Studio archives blog - Opening night is friday evening, but doors will be open from tomorrow - so if you are out and about in this sunny city do pop in and have a peek... the work of 10 artists is showing over 12 days. I'll be there Saturday morning for 4 hours from 10 am, Tuesday morning - same hours, and Saturday afternoon next week if you want to come have a tea and a chat... you will be most welcome. 
This Gallery happens to be situated in a very lively precinct - a large Antiques Emporium is just up the street - book shops, boutiques, cafes and other galleries nearby. A gorgeous little chocolate shop sells the best, most restorative hot chocolate made from a very special recipe each morning! In fact I must take some photos of the surrounds...a hilly area, with wonderful views and fabulous old Queensland timber houses and lush trees and gardens.
As I nestled into the Gallery's bay window seat next to the wall where my work has been hung... I could not think of a better place to pull up for a little while....especially on these winter mornings where the sun is so gentle.  

* click on images to enlarge for viewing!

This work above is shown below in context. The way I chose to hang the show is suggestive of a kind of dispersal of the pod forms featured in all the various works here. For the project I have been carrying out at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens this year I have focused heavily on the forms found in the seed capules of the rainforest fruits native to Queensland. The Black bean motif I have long employed - finding a way to use it as a kind of scaffolding here in some of the works. This motif abstracted consists of 2 of the most essential or primal of forms... ovals and circles have, across Millennia, held enormous cultural significance... speaking to the subconscious mind powerfully and in our time simultaneously resonating with archaic yet contemporary meaning - with a life force still!

Acrylic and pigmented ink is the medium used and the canvas ovals come in four sizes - the smallest being 17.5 x 12.5cm as in the one below which features the hexagonal cross-section of the 'Pararistolochia australopithecurus' - a ribbed orange berry containing these 6 capsules for seeds....not that 6 seeds will always be found in each. That is something I'm still amazed by - despite the capsules that form in readiness to house seeds the number of seeds produced is not a given. Working in the Seed lab had really brought home the issue of seed viability..  pods may be pried open only to discover the absense of seeds non-vialbility of what is present.
The simple geometry of this species is completely uncontrived in this motif... its elemental and repeated in the most obvious of pattern-making. One cannot but help but think how much of this human love of geometry was fostered by saturation in the most common of everyday things in nature. Once upon a time when the human relationship to nature was for many so strong, and matters of survival meant nothing was taken for granted - seed had to be viable or it might spell disaster - plant breeding would have no doubt have come to rely on an almost scientific observation of what was occuring in nature in particular species. Acute observation may have made the critical difference. 
My long held fascination with ancient symbols has taught me time and again that the correspondance between the tangible and the abstract was deep-rooted and integral. No matter how sophisticated the tiled floors or wall patterns of antiquity appear - how mathematically complex - without doubt the starting point for a motif might be something as singular as a capsule which held seeds... like this one below. Its pause for thought.

The subtlety of the work below highlights three different seed capsules  - each a different rainforest species. This painting ( 35 x 28 cm ) refers to the largely hidden nature of seeds - they are not necessarily seen, more so if we never work with them, plant them, watch them grow. Because of this we can easily forget their mighty role in our lives... their tremendously important role as 'generator of life'. We can remain ignorant of their vast presence in so much that we consume daily... the debt we owe if you like.
And the most critically abundant of habitats for the wealth of biodiversity of these substances we so take for granted iare the rainforests of the world.

My challenge in making works during this year long project "Homage to the Seed" is to find a way to not simply make pictures like one might with a camera. Scientific Botanical Illustration has played and still does play an enormously important role in the research of species and all manner of knowledge. To some it may have appeared simply decorative, certainly exotic and capable of inspiring curiosity, a love of plants and therefore gardening.

Over the year I have researched in libraries and on-line for artistic as well as scientific visual interpretation of plants and ideas around plants.... keen to notice what representation of seeds occured... if any. The formal approach to scientifically presenting a Botanical specimen has often included the cross-section of the pod or capsule to display the structure, the seed - but this is largely secondary it would seem to the external appearance of the species.

Thus common thinking positions Botanical Art as a depiction of the seen form - the external over the internal structures...and certainly not concerned with implying the forces contained within. This is why the extensive work artist Paul Klee carried out on this rich vein of thinking has offered me a deeper strata of response to consider and grapple with.
Klee, influenced strongly by Goethe and a rich immersion from school days in things Botanical - at that time part of the regular school curriculum - went onto delve more fully in the many ways of seeing plants, growth and nature - not just a representation of external reality.
Curiously the thinking of Rudolf Steiner, also majorly influenced by Goethe, had for a time an interest for Klee. Kandinksy is said to have been immersed and stayed with Steiner's teaching whereas my reading suggests Klee left off at some point. 
Whatever the case - the notion of internal forces, things unseen, Dylan Thomas's "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower" has engaged my imagination and curiosity extensively and demanded attention over a long period... coming perhaps to fruition whilst focusing more deeply on seeds and paradoxically further exploration into the Scientific realm. Both have been driving agents and both extremely valuable.

This then has lead me to meditations on the place we find ourselves in on the planet at this time, seeking ways to interpret all that I have gleaned to date. The scientific approach..... observation, collection of data, theoretical propositions and such have been important to extract perspective on current concerns re biodiversity and the preservation of habitat and species..

But what then?
What do we humans value?
What do we as a global community care about plants?
What are we noticing and talking about?
What place are we giving this heritage?
Is someone supposed to do that for us?
My list on question goes on...its still shifting and turning. The sense of loss is enormous in the  plant heritage of this world - for habitats and for food. Both matter! Both are necessary to our survival....to breathe... to eat ... to have enough nourishment to live ...!

How do we shake our eyes awake? How do we get closer to what matters?

Below are 2 works - the larger one is the cross-section of mangrove seeds in their pod - Ariceunia marina (if I can read my journal writing correctly). Last year I walked through the boardwalk of a mangrove reserve - 12 kms from my house - on Moreton Bay. These seeds were everywhere at that time... and I picked them up off the path to look more closely before letting them fall into the water.
To think that locations where the mangroves had been decimated on Asian coastlines led to greater destruction by the Tsunami in 2004 is a clear reminder of the relationship between intact habitat and human survival. How wise is it for us to be thinking that because it is ... say christmas ... and we are on holiday, have money to travel and have "deserved"our fabulous holidays that the  environment will behave and let us have out nice time in peace.
Ramp up those travel packages where one participates in communities I say... being able to offer one's  self, getting to really know locals, volunteering for a time... reading of those who do this seems to equate with the most  rewarding of experiences.

I posted on the recent Tea and Seed Stories day in the Gardens at the homage blog and one of the central observations of the volunteer guides who conducted a children's art event and quiz to identify seeds with pods and foods was that the adults were most urgent to particpate in this quiz and many themselves did not know what they were seeing.

This was not the way once... we used to know where our food originated, and to worry that there would be enough because we knew about that too!

The smaller of the 2 images above is Mackinlaya macrosciadea
Many of the rainforest fruits I've been investigating this year are not edible, perhaps quite toxic but some able to be treated. Further still, there are myraid uses beyond food sources. I would argue that this kind of knowledge is easily as captivating as wine and cheese knowledge once one gets started, and of far greater significance for the long term. And be assured ... I am partial to a good red and fine cheese!

I will be posting more images and proper titles of works in the next days on the studio archive blog. Congrats if you read all the way to the end of this post ...your bottle of good australian red is in the mail!
You deserve it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

hallowed space

Atelier Cezanne - these images were found at Lark About via Pia Jane Bijkerk. I wanted to share them - pondering these took me to another time altogether and I think it is good to remember what place stillness and a good working space (no matter how small or large) means for a long life of art.

ON a somewhat different note I really enjoyed these 2 posts here and here from Steven Alexander Journal on Brazil.

He writes:

"In July, I will be spending three weeks in Brazil (much more on that to come) -- and in preparation, I've been looking at a lot of Brazilian painting. Geometric abstract painting has been deeply embraced in Brazil, and still is -- creating a sustained legacy of rich and varied work. I am just beginning to scratch the surface of this parallel universe of rigorous and beautiful painting by artists who are virtually unknown to the NY art world. Here is just a small sampling to begin -- with more to come." Images from the internet.

Julio Villiani

Concalo Ivo, studio view 2010

I always find it most fascinating to visit an unexplored part of the world through the eyes of its artists... with no travel plans myself and dubious funds to support such this form of travel... across the blogosphere ... is both rewarding and makes sense of much I might otherwise miss.