Thursday 21 July SVAF Meeting Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery.
A meeting and pop-up show and a new venture for SVAF – Sabrina Shah follow-up to Engine Chat-Chat.
I have recently been watching television in hospital waiting rooms – a fraught experience of distractions, noises off; a voice recognition system creates subtitling, my attention drifts.
It is immensely difficult to follow television in such circumstances. To concentrate and read fast flowing, sometimes inaccurate, puzzling subtitles, simultaneously to engage with an image , take in visual information, ignore external distractions, feel the anxiety of a time lapse between speech and text, is to experience feelings of tenuous control.
I catch some of it and in a satisfying, fleeting moment of recognition I miss the next point and must engage in mental catch-up. My experience is both whole and partial – the serial partiality of it is its particular kind of frustrating wholeness. So it is for me in group discussions, and that is in itself instructive.
Thoughts air from one corner of the room whilst others form in my mind; what was that about truth? I’ve missed it. The conversation moves on.
We were asked to choose and label the three best works (our three favourites?) prior to discussion, and to re-examine and choose again afterwards.
What was said?
Below, my list ?
My impression ?
My memory ?
Questions that arose?
What is drawing?
What is it to draw?
What is the mark of good drawing?
All painting is drawn.
What is truth?
What is truthfulness?
What does it mean to be true?
What is it to be true to something?
What is integrity?
What is a technique?
What is innocence?
What is naivety?
What is media handling?
What constitutes a mistake?
Are mistakes errors of judgement?
Are mistakes mishandled materials?
What is the value of a mistake?
What is the function of titles?
Can artworks be trusted?
When is a work resolved?
How do we assess things?
What kinds of judgements are assessments?
Why do we judge?
What are assessments for?
Who are assessments for?
What is the ‘real’ world?
Are there different kinds of ‘real’ world’?
What is common to animals and children?
What does it mean to act intuitively?
What is a ‘gut reaction’?
Should ‘gut reactions’ be trusted?
Is innocence precious?
The notion of a ‘real’ world is political and coercive?
Picasso said that it took him a lifetime to paint like a child.
The gut reaction may express truth.
The gut reaction should not be trusted.
Intuition is the vehicle of prejudice.
Innocence is a sentimental concept.
Drawing is thinking.
Painting thinks in colour.
Thinking is untidy.
Thinking is a joy.
Thinking is tortuous.
We can only be honest.
To be honest is to be truthful.
Truthfulness does not guarantee truth.
To paint like a child innocence must be lost.
The ‘real world’ is the child of hard knuckles.
Spare the rod and spoil the brat.
Sabrina’s paintings are witty.
Her colour is sharp.
Her drawing is drawing.
Her work is unsettling.
Her work is playful.
Her work is confrontational.
Her characters are wistful, vulnerable.
Her characters accuse us.
We are all guilty.
Her characters are unfinished business.
Her titles play with their words.
Her paint is persuasive, held in her drawing.
What would children make of the work?
Why should children make of the work?
Conversation is predicated upon an assumption of shared meaning.
Conversation is political.
Conversation attempts to reconcile common incomprehensions.
We use terms as though those we talk with understand our meaning.
To an extent it is true (true??) that we share meanings and understand.
Conversations begin with conclusions and end at the beginning.
I am mistaken?
I am wrong?
I am a little correct?
Something may be true. (true???)
I try to be accurate.
I try to describe.
Am I honest?
The show has come down.