Discernible is on. ZAP’s Rosalind Davis and Annabel Tilley invited a motley crew of artists, all part of their forcefield, to submit one or two pieces no larger than A3 and managed to shape a marvellous little show from 89 offerings. Threads run through it, hold it together: narrative compositional stitched drawn painted found created animated crocheted… Of course I was keen to see how my work was placed. Found it looks good, makes interesting formal and conceptual links with its neighbours and all sides benefit from the encounter.
I did get to the private view for a while (veni vidi smily…), arrived early to get a real look at the art before it got too crowded. Saw work by old favourites: Rosalind, Annabel, Graham Crowley, Kate Murdoch, Ben Cove, Shelley Rae, Nick Kaplony (with the last four I’ll be working towards a small group exhibition which will take place in winter – exciting!), love that moment of recognition, and the detection of subtle shifts in direction, of transformation. Made new discoveries too.
One piece stood out for me, so unlike anything else and by an artist I hadn’t heard of before: Rachel Russell, who has her own space for a small video-installation which bowled me over: inventive, intelligent, knowing, funny, wild&contained, gender-bending, art-history challenging, weirdly beautiful, emotive… and simply glorious.
A preview with lots of people milling around is not a good place to lie down, so I had to leave when it got too crowded and I ran out of sitting. Missed Rosalind’s speech*. Was lovely to chat with some of the artists, and esp. to reconnect with the lovely Julie Henry with whom I studied years ago. Thrilling to see how her work holds/has changed. She cooperates with photographer Debbie Bragg now. As Henry Bragg they produce images and exhibitions imbued with the humour, down-to-earthness and clear-eyed, discerning community-oriented sensitivities I remember her for.
Next few days I felt as if a whole mountain range grew from my shoulders, pinning me firmly in the horizontal. I mourn that these ‘outings’ are so few, so brief. I’m like an island that is submerged most of the time and occasionally juts out from the waves. Never long enough to grow green grass, to burst into flower; maybe, just maybe, long enough for a little connective something to sprout.
Nothing for it. Started crocheting a small sleeve, pondered change of medium, sent choice tweets and made notes for a post, not all of which make sense now. Illness as exile, yes. Dragon’s crest? Falling? I realize again how much I (try to) tie myself into the world through my art – it feels good to know that my work is out there, has presence. I made this. Not all is lost.
Unfortunately I will miss the artists’ dinner on Friday as I’ve got something else on this week, but look forward to joining the Artists in Dialogue on May 11th, all being well.
Can you believe it? A year has gone since I started posting here: I had my first blogiversary. I keep wrestling with the same questions – How do I connect into the art-world? How do I get my work seen? How much do I disclose about my state of ill-health? I’m still ambivalent about the latter: when I talk about how M.E. affects me and my art-practice I often want to suck the words back in, as if I’d spoken to myself aloud and discovered that someone heard me. Writing here has challenged and sustained me. I’ve learned a lot, made tentative connections, enjoyed finding comments and suggestions or leaving mine on other blogs. I’m not sure I feel part of a community, but at least I hover at its frayed edges. Need to start somewhere.
* Here you can watch two short videos filmed during the private view.