Where do I start? It appears that my art musings are somewhat patchy yet again. However I do feel that there is a connection and a convergence in a way which I will try to explain.
I was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and whilst I am very fortunate that it has been caught early, it does completely screw with one’s brain. As I was waiting in one of the BC sub-waiting rooms in a NHS hospital, my eye was drawn to a piece of art on the wall – the only piece of art on this particular wall. It was a print by Helen Chadwick, and beautiful as one would expect from this deceased artist’s work. She often combined landscape and body in her work and this piece was no exception. However this piece looked like a breast cancer lump. I don’t care how apt this is, and maybe to the medical specialists within the premises this was an artwork that appealed to their combined intellectual and aesthetic senses. But to a BC patient, stuck in an incredibly silent room where this work is the only thing to look at instead of into the eyes of the other very subdued BC patients, this did not feel good.
Anyway, the only positive thing that has come out of this unpleasant encounter was that I started to think about what I do want to look at in my current predicament. I am still having a play with pattern, surface, text and mixed media. I alluded in last month’s blog about trying to explore my roots a bit, namely my New Zealand background. I have been continuing with quick drawings of patterns within the landscape using old New Zeland photography books. I have also been looking at patterns and colours from Morocco and other Arabic and oriental references. The lush and exotic colour combinations appeal to me and I am keen to try to emulate these in my work.
It is clearly indulgent escapism on my part and my explorations on Aotearoa are probably a nostalgic yearning to revisit my country of birth; no doubt enhanced by my recent increased conversations with friends and family over there. Here in the UK; even in liberal and culturally diverse London, it feels like that the non-English are being marginalised and that this is a noose that is becoming tighter. However I like to resist and actually try to consider myself global rather than profess to a narrow definition of who I am by nationality, as to me that feels reductive and unfortunately these days kind of anti-humanist. This is not to denounce or devalue in anyway the richness and importance of cultural heritage.
Anyway, I digress. What this all means is that I am having a lovely time focusing on the patterns, textures and colours of this diverse and wondrous world as I prefer to see it – in a rather random and unapologetic way. I am keen to explore and combine these cross culturally and joyfully. Prior to my surgery I bashed together a couple of stretchers with canvases and as I recover, my non-sore side has been happily sealing and priming these surfaces in readiness for future playful endeavours.