I have just returned from time out in Scotland with my daughter. Back through customs carrying seven beautiful roof slates and a broken down bird feeder- doesn’t everyone?
So glad I wasn’t made to explain myself even if I do know what I shall do with them……..
Today I received the poem from Rowyda. It is beautiful. She has conjoured a world of water and islands for the woman to whom my imaginary bone objects belonged. A strange, confident woman who sings as she walks – a peregrine on her wrist……..
Now we have to agree in what form we present our two works. This is new to me and strangely harder than collaborating on the work. I can already see the presentation and just want to go forward with it- time is getting tight for me; I have a lot of things on. I have to ask R. what she thinks and offer alternatives and I wonder how I shall feel if she wants something completely different……….this of course is what collaborating is also about. Not just the exchange of knowledge and ideas but resolution management, rejection and frustration. Fingers crossed!
This evening I have had an e-mail saying that friends had gone to see the bedsheet works only to find mine was not there…………….I am now awaiting an answer to an e-mail to the Art Centre.
I am not sure how I will react if it has been taken down because it was deemed in some way offensive. I run a fifty strong Arts Forum group in the same building – a further complication. Will I feel the need to go to war for it- to the local paper for example? If I don’t will I feel I have let the work down?
Well, the bed sheets have apparently elicited much comment and no one has asked us to take the exhibition down on the grounds that they are unframed. Nor has the Tallit been deemed unsuitable or offensive. I seem instinctively to produce work that is aesthetically attractive and that will entice the viewer into staying long enough to be intrigued into finding a darker message. However in the present febrile climate I fear always that I may find myself answering for having inadvertently offended religious belief. Maybe this, like political correctness in the office, is just something that stalks every artist engaged with some subject matters. It feels a little as if there are a set of unwritten rules out there that I might inadvertently transgress – find that I had stepped on the cracks………………………..and face an unspoken punishment.
Today was the first day the sun has really felt warm on my shoulders. As the days lengthen I can feel my brain unfurling.
I swear it curls up with its tail round its nose all winter long.
This weekend has been spent helping paint signs for an exhibition in June. Fowle Hall 4 will be the fourth year of a successful contemporary art exhibition in Paddock Wood, Kent. I exhibited last year, had great fun, met some brilliant people and got involved with Accident and Emergence. I was thrilled to be invited back again this year.
When you do these things you never know where they will lead. Looking back on it now, nearly a year later, I can see that A&E has crystallised for me how much I enjoy working collaboratively and how important meeting new artists, crits and projects are to the way I work.
Today I stood in the sun in the orchard where all the artists who exhibited in the stables last year will exhibit in 2010….and now I wait for that trickle of ideas that will whine to be written down in my notebook to begin again…………
It’s been a busy week. The Tallit is finished. As is usual in my practice the piece is attractive to approach and slow to reveal its darker side. The Tallit [life size] now has four tzitzit; one in each corner. I am proud to say I learnt how to tie them myself using a Jewish video that I discovered on the internet. Mind you I am very sure that any self respecting Jewish person would have laughed until they cried had they seen me manfully trying to master the art. And an art it is.
My primary interest in this work has been in the diminution of a lived human life into numbers and symbols. The work shows a portrait drawing of my grandfather and numbered sections of his entry in Vad Yashem – the Holocaust memorial site. It is decorated with coloured badge shapes that labelled concentration camp prisoners Jewish, gypsy, homosexual….they have an abstract beauty despite the terrible history that they hold.
Below these are symbols from Hitler’s genetic science – a crazed Aryan world reduced to Mendel’s fruit flies.
The work is to hang in a restaurant area in the theatre. I shall be interested to see if anyone will study it closely enough to deem it inappropriate company at afternoon tea.
This week has also seen the end of a collaborative book project. Eleven of us; printers, painters, poets, a musician, fashion designer, gilder, all swopping our precious pages after a great lunch…….As we did so we all talked about the work on the page and the journey that took us there. Sometimes art is very close to therapy. The pages are beautiful. Somehow they seem generous- as in a gift. Next month we meet again to bind our book before exhibiting them ………….