Friday, January 12, 2018

Looking back and forward

(image above from here)
I visited the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1982 to see a Kandinsky exhibition.  But it was the architecture of the museum which struck a deep chord.  I was with a friend, going round the show at different speeds, and it was looking down to see where she was that it suddenly struck me: this building is a metaphor for life.  I was looking back at where I had been; even my friend was part of my past: she was a colleague from my previous job.
It was even clear that as one progresses, the perspective looking back changes.  Not everything can be seen clearly.  Recently, presently, I have been using the spiral to look back.  For instance, in trying to clarify how to move on with my work, I am first looking back at what I have done to get here in my work blog.
Last year I interrupted my flow of work to look back in a different way.  I had reached a point where there are now memories that only I have, and I have photographs of people who are now only known to me, so I decided to put together a book for my great niece explaining who all these folks are, their characters, and how they are related to each other and to her.  I also included anecdotes, some of which were illustrated by the photographs.
A book of photos with text is so much easier to dip into than a box full of snaps - or even a photo album.  So much more than simple, or even lengthy captions can be put into the text of a book.   Photobox was having a sale last autumn, so I took the opportunity.
I so regret not asking more questions of all my relations when I was young, especially as both my grandmothers' generation had lived through so much history - the wars, the migrations, etc., and so many changes.  I wanted to do a little bit to pass on my own memories of individuals and incidents, so that perhaps the youngsters would be prompted to ask me further questions while I am still around and capable of answering! 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Approaches to seaweed

Angie Lewin
Reading Debbie Lyddon's blog post about her recent work with seaweed, my mind wandered to other views and uses of seaweed.  The most usual can be seen in the delicate watercolours of Angie Lewin.
Debbie Lyddon has used the seaweed itself to stitch and to wrap.
And I remembered the intriguing and magical work of Sue Corr which both Margaret Cooter and I wrote about in 2014.
There is a different aspect of seaweed explored by Sue Corr here.
And then I was inspired by seaweed in the work-in-progress below.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A fascinating read in black and white

Grisaille glass panel with unintended colour: 'stained' glass (image from here)

Today I finished reading Monochrome: Painting in Black and White, the catalogue of the exhibition currently on at the National Gallery in London.  I completed the book in two long sittings - it was a real page-turner for me, full of interesting history, and giving me a thought-provoking perspective on monochrome work right up to the present day.
I knew as soon as I saw news of the exhibition that the subject is a great one, but I never felt any urge to see the show.  I was simply keen to read the book.  And indeed the catalogue is full of essential images which are not in the exhibition. I certainly did not feel the absence of examples of great monochrome art - I can now look those up, and keep my eyes open to look with greater scrutiny, if needed, at works I encounter in future.
The reviews - here, and here, and here - are various, but did not persuade me that I need to go to the exhibition for real.  It was the information, the history, the examples, the comparisons, and the ideas which have excited me.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Into the Year of the Big Think-over

I have reached a point where I feel out of step.  This malaise was emphasised by some irritating hassle in the return of a quilt from the USA, and has precipitated an inclination to throw up my hands in withdrawal.
I certainly do not want to stop creating work - I couldn't anyway without giving up on living.  But I need to take a long look at what I'm doing, and why.
I shall give myself the year - I work so slowly in any case, I have a backlog of ongoing stuff which I do not want to abandon.  (I have expanded a little more in my work blog - but not much, as I'm just at the beginning of my thoughts.)
It is not a negative situation, however: one of my favourite activities is thinking!