Over the last week and a bit I haven’t done much art. There’s plenty I could be getting on with and whilst I am feeling somewhat tired from my current radiotherapy treatment it’s more to do with the fact I’m just not in a ‘doing’ mood. I suppose I have been very contemplative recently, preferring to read, sleep or do nothing in my spare time.
I stare out the window of my home at the flourishing (another word for overgrown) garden and quite happily look at the birds. I wonder at how the overladen springtime pink blossom has changed to an abundance of green foliage, at how my pathetic gardening attempts are superseded and surpassed by nature itself. I like watching the man-made structures dry out after the rain, the pavement with its crevices of small determined pools of water, the outside chair cleansed of its dirt and decorated with remaining droplets of rain hanging from its edges. When I am out and about I love how in a busy city, against all odds wildflowers announce themselves quietly between the paving stones and concrete walls. Reflections through train windows reveal layers of lights, shadows, buildings, graffiti, ivy and weeds. In my little microcosm, the world is capable of displaying both delicate and dramatic detail and form. It pulsates with incredible pattern and rhythm yet at the same time be capable of demonstrating an appropriate silent repose.
I used to take a lot of photos of such things. Not so much these days but I haven’t picked up my camera for a while. Very often my art work grows out of these photos one way or another and I have been revisiting some of these photographs. A new idea may be forming – not sure how yet but it has to do with how man and nature can create striking compositions and mark making – individually or as a united effort. Flowers on the ground – patterns of the way things fall, kind of like a beautifully choreographed ballet, perfectly composed with just the right amount of space in between. Dynamic colours of the green grass on a blue plastic slide with playful dappled sunlight in-between. Wall cables mimicking wisteria branches; their shadows crisscrossing and slicing up the space. A photo of a light through a bus window at night is unrecognisable and becomes something completely other. The patterns in the sand appearing as a detailed pencil drawing that an Old Master would have been proud of.
I think of the trilogy of films by Godfrey Reggio, more specifically the first – ‘Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance’ – an onslaught of images and music depicting different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature and technology. I also think of Wolfgang Tillmans – an artist I revisit frequently who sensitively and lovingly portrays the way he sees the world in his art.