Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

Make your work. 
Make your work constantly. 
Love it. 
Hate it. 
But make it. 

Stephanie Diamond via ArtPropelled

Quite some time ago I came across this quote on Robyn's blog and tucked it away.  As we near the beginning of a new year, my mind turns very much to how the year will play out; what things I will do, where I will go, and how I will use my precious time.

This quote is a great reminder that in order to achieve things, in order to live and be in an artistic way; you have to keep making it. You can't just sit around and dream it, you have to do it; the more you do the better you become; the more you understand yourself and the clearer your own voice becomes.

The more you do, the more you realise what you are trying to say; the more you find exceptional ways with which to say it.  There are no shortcuts, there is just the making and the doing.

The making and the doing teach you so much.

So on the cusp of a new year I hope to remember this; to keep making and doing; to keep discovering by making and doing; to learn more about me and what I do - by making and doing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Magnificent metal

I find it fascinating in a way that as a person who loves paper, the strength and the softness of it, and fabric, the weave and the suppleness of it, that I also love metal.

We had the good fortune to serendipitously discover that the Gagosian galleries were showing some fabulous metal sculptures. Bill, our landlord here, slipped some art info under our door on Friday night and we went there Saturday (they are closed for Christmas now). Serendipity indeed.

First we saw Richard Serra's magnificent Inside Out. We walked thru it and around it and we were silent with awe. I saw so many stories in this work, the detail in the metal revealed words and tears and rain to me. And the spaces that enclosed, and then revealed, that impinged and then released.

We went further to see more of his works, and here are details of 7 plates 6 angles and Intervals.

Again the strength, scale and solidity of these works, was counterpointed for me by the multiplicity of stories of creation and the world and our lives here on earth that you could see in the detailed etchings on the metal. I was spellbound and spent ages examining the plates and exclaiming at their beauty Nd the tales they revealed.
I felt so at home with these marvellous works.

We headed to a third Gagosian gallery and saw The Forgings by David Smith, completely different in scale and form, yet again full of meaning and stories. We spent a lot of time with all these works.

Then today, again courtesy of Bill's note under the door, we headed north to the Studio Museum in Harlem and again, it was the metal which spoke most to me. Here is Rat by Cyrus Kabiru.

I don't know why metal feels like home, and why I am so drawn to it, but these pieces will all stay with me for a long time. Long live Serendipity I say.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader. 

Alberto Manguel

Reading is my constant companion. I always knew I was a reader, and in many ways as I grew up I assumed everybody was. But not everybody is, and not everybody can be.  So it's a little miracle really that we are able to find ways to make "that string of confused, alien cyphers" into something that makes sense.

What an extraordinary way to unlock meaning and knowledge.  How remarkable it is that we have devised these ways of communicating and that somehow we learn to decipher these forms.

I am forever grateful that I am a reader; that I love reading and have always enjoyed it. It has rarely been a chore (altho I must say just to hear the words Tess of the D'Urbevilles still fills me with horror - my worst school reading experience ever - no time at all to read and a very big book).

Reading is by no means the only way to discover universes and worlds beyond our immediate surrounds - story telling does that, music can do that, looking at art does that, digging and planting can do it, travelling and experiencing different cultures does it, day-dreaming is pretty good too - all these wonderful experiences open up the world; but reading is my first way.

On a road in Pirlangimpi…some see remnant metal strapping; I see an R.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brought you by the letter J

Which is a pretty strange title, but my blog post today is about time spent with Jennifer, whose name I often shorten to J. Time spent with her in real time and time spent with her, sort of.

I can't work out how to iPad link to Jennifer's blog posts so apologies in advance - please check my side bar for her adventures, wanderings and creations.

But back to business...on Sunday Jennifer made a mad-cap trip down from Connecticut to spend a few hours with us in NYC. It was great just to wander and chat, have some lunch and look at some dreadful art. It was horrible and I won't go into into it here, but really, it was just plain wrong to call it art and show it in a prestigious art museum. Although of course, I may just not get it.

These are close-ups of some of the best pieces I saw there and they are by Leon Ferrari, Reflections and untitled.

Apart from chatting and eye-rolling together, I felt like a winner when we collected an almost rainbow of guides to MoMA.

Barry managed to photograph us in a festive setting and all on the way back to Grand Central Station.

It was just great to catch up again, and it felt so special for Jennifer to fit us into her busy week. Until next time!

In our chats about this and that Jennifer reminded me that the Sketchbook project has a home in Brooklyn.  Luckily we were headed back to Brooklyn and factored the Brooklyn Art Library into our day. Again apologies for no linkages...

A shot from the front of the Library, showing one wall of sketchbooks, and Barry at the table reading thru his selections.

We got our library cards! and went thru the catalogue - there are nearly 30,000 sketchbooks now and we found both of Jennifer's, so I checked them out and got to hold them. oh happy day.  They find the book for you and give you a mystery book to look at as well. Many many hours could be spent there...

The first two are shots of Jennifer's 2013 book, and the last one is from her 2011 book.

Lucky for us the BAL was very nearby a Toby's Estate coffee shop (an Aussie roaster) so we stopped for a flat white and a biscotti. The remnants.

Thanks Jennifer for making our trip so special!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Patterns appearing...

We have been enjoying our time in NYC, some purposeful art visiting, some purposeful wandering and some serendipitous moments that just make you smile. I have come across lots of lovely patterns in nearly all the places we have been. It always makes me smile that so many photos our holidays and travels are of details and close-ups, rarely showing the full thing or place.

We visited one of my favourite shops, Habu, and this is a close up of knitting with silver thread. I am not a knitter, but that shop very nearly converts me each time I visit!

And as we left I had to photograph the brushed stainless steel door and the patterns the light played within it.

Ans as we wandered thru Soho, this shop had walls and walls of old sewing machines as backdrops to their wares. A grid of old Singers in a way, but I sadly failed to record the name of the shop...

One of my favourite patterns was this sample of a beautifully crossed letter, written from Catherine Dickens to Fanny Burnett in 1842. To save money folk wrote one way then turned the paper 90 degrees and wrote across it...useful trivia I recall from reading Regency romances in my teens (and sadly beyond). This beautiful piece was in the Morgan Library, one of my favourite places in New York.

And this mosaic wall detail is also from the Morgan. I love the light and shadow at play.

This pattern is the snow on the stairs of our apartment building - the bold graphic image the lines created makes me happy.

As does the pattern of these bird-feet in the snow...

The perfect segue to a stunning winter scene at Riverside Drive around 4pm on Saturday...

For us folk from the sub-tropics, spending the day wandering the streets of New York City in flurries of snow was just a delight! I stopped often, grinning from ear to ear, saying "Isn't this great?!?!?" 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” 

 Friedrich Nietzsche

Now this is a lesson I have learnt over time and often times the hard way.  I'm not sure if it is so for everybody, but I often think if I think it or know it then it must be so.  There are lots of things I don't know and I recognise that; but when I think I know something I am pretty darn sure I know it for a fact.  But of course, I only know it for me.

The correct and only way certainly does not exist. Barry and I often laugh that if two people couple ever choose different ways of doing something it is us.  We have to stop and discuss how we are going to move a piece of furniture before we do it; because we have learned that I will pick up my end and head off over there; whilst he will pick up his end and head in the other direction. Both choices make perfect sense for us as individuals and both would work; but we nearly always approach things differently.

I have found it to be true in art as well - where I might ponder and jot notes to self and go back and forth before beginning; Barry will often sketch an idea, fully formed and thought thru and then just go make it. I am more iterative; discovering along the way the things I hadn't thought about and now have to resolve!

One of the things that scares me most in people is when they think they are holders of The Truth. The only truth. The only way.

I think there are lots of ways of being in the world, lots of ways of doing things and that diversity is a fine thing and we should celebrate it!

So many ways...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Art and about

Barry and I are still on the road, but have set up camp in New York for a bit.

We have seen some beautiful art and imagery along the way. Lots of stunning rusty bits in Arizona...the number of time we could have filled bags with gorgeous rusty bits was amazing. This is a rusted fan within a casing at an old gold mine. And a forgotten piano. Sigh.

Next we ventured to Tacoma and would you believe the Glass Art museum there was showcasing Australian glass makesrs? We were familiar with many of them and it felt great to see their work in such a fabulous gallery space. This is Jessica Loughlins's 'Open Space'.

And this is a shot of the Museum - the funnel is where the glass blowing occurs. The artwork is 'Water Forest' by Howard Ben Tee.

We enjoyed our time in Portland OR, Barry spent a day with master metal worker Greg Wilbur, I visited a great exhibition with calligrapher extraordinaire Carol du Bosch, and excitedly attended the opening of Eco Editions at the wonderful 23 Sandy Gallery. It was a great evening and I was thrilled to meet Laura in person, and to see that two of my wee books "We have bee-n warned" had been sold as well. What a thrill!  Laura and I at the opening.

We also visited the Portland Art Museum and came across Moshe Kupferman's exhibit "A Hoard of Signs" here are some lovely details of pieces all called 'Unknown'.

And thence to New York, where on our first morning we woke to a winter wonderland...

Thanks for coming along as we go along....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A few bits and pieces from here and there

It has been a bit quiet on the blog front - Barry and I are on the road and access is intermittent...I am also pretty sure that blogger via iPad is a little bit random so I expect the photos will all be together with no text, but anyhow, here goes!

We visited Susie in Arizona and I fell in love with big blue skies, the mountains and the rust. Susie is a remarkable metal worker - her hummingbird is here, as well as the mountains in Sedona.

We then headed north and visited Brandi and her family in Washington state, and the temperature dropped. A light dusting of snow remained and lots of icy beauty, and some more rust.

Back now in Portland and we woke to light snow again this morning - simple beauty...

Thanks for staying to the end...I hope I get better at this iPad blogging for everybody's sake!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

It’s not about how it looks, it’s about how you feel about it. 

Rosalie Gascoigne

In the end, I think this relatively short sentence sums art up quite well!  Fortunately I don't study Capital A ART or participate in any of the conversations, debates or critiques of art that say what art is or isn't the definitional woes of art v craft v anything else. When post-modern is whatever it is etc.

I have almost come to the view that defining art is impossible; what is one person's art is another person's garbage so it seems.

I like how Rosalie cut through the definitional stuff - saying in a way - not how it looks, nor what it is; but rather how it makes you feel. For fans of The Castle "it's the vibe of the thing". All sorts of art can move you - yet much 'official' art leaves me stone-cold.  My responses to art are what makes a piece fabulous art  - for me.

I wept at Michelangelo's Pieta in the Vatican when I first saw it; sat in awe in a room surrounded by Rosalie's assemblages; was silenced by Monet's Waterlily room at L'Orangerie in Paris and have walked in and out of some famous art galleries without feeling a thing.

Its a very personal thing, and there is nothing like the moment when a piece moves you; and when your work touches somebody else...

One of the curved walls of Monet's Waterlilies at L'Orangerie…

Merci M. Monet; a century or so later your work still moves me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Inky things...

Sometimes I am not the best at cleaning up around me in the studio.  I get distracted, start something new or just dash off to do some other part of life.

And sometimes life offers little gifts for these moments of failing to pay attention and failing to be a tidy person.

These shots are the remnants of ink/paint left drying in plastic containers. Fortunately the brush was a rough and ready oldie and didn't suffer further damage; but I got to enjoy the remarkable transition from wet to dry; from liquid to solid and then what remained.