It’s now 5 days since The Print Shed show finished (Sunday 20th). It was an incredible chance to show my work and surround visitors entirely with my work. For visitors to understand what I’m up to I did need to give an explanation and I felt that visitors who came on the few occasions I wasn’t about, came away without clicking at all with it. Many people who I spoke to were really engaging with the issues in my work. I am mulling over whether there is a problem with me having to explain for understanding. Is it necessary? I would like to know what people who just look at my work might see / perceive. This show was a fantastic way to have a first solo show. I had the run of the garden plus a whole marquee to fill. There were other artists around (stewarding and visiting) every day of the show. Valuable feedback from fellow artists, and there were many artists visiting! As well as the times when I engaged the people who were just there as ‘chauffeurs’ ( and there were a lot of them!), people whose eyes lit up on the mention of Fibonnacci or of Ignorance or sheer weight of information we have available to us now. One guy even gave me a lesson in Alphanumerics (check term!)
I think when I have my next solo show, I hope I’ll have a more consistent appearance of the work, i.e. All on stretched canvas and one series, rather than several on show at once. (It did seem to go -all involving text somehow). Also to be more happier about the possibility of selling a painting ( it’s not a crime, after all!). I sold cards of my work (not of art that were on sale, but of the writing on roses, grass, daisy etc) and sold one medium painting.
This time last year I’d been busy organising the Framework Open exhibition in h.Art and then carrying on with the preparations for paperfields group show in London, which was epic for me. Organising 2shows in consecutive months is not to be recommended. I got steeped in admin and tasks, not good for my own practice.
This autumn I have set myself up to paint the 254 words which I came up with from the notion of to Bathe in ignorance (the 3D piece is on the back burner, and needing some tlc) and decided to look at my own ignorance of words by looking at The Oxford Shorter dictionary (the largest dictionary I could get hold of in my local library), narrowing down the number pages to look at from thousands, to a manageable 17. I then photocopied those pages and highlighted the words i didn’t know. The result is a set of 254 words, I displayed a telepromter video projected onto a blank canvas with my hesitant (recorded) voice reading them out aloud in the marquee. Photos attached of the show and I did a 3 min video of it (low quality, but you get the feel of it) https://vimeo.com/140422911
Some of the se word spilled out of the marquee and into the garden on the grass (see pics). This is me taking the thought of people being born with the privilege and right to read and write and others being born without(people who live more physically) that privilege a little further and imagining the physical world and the textual world together and the physical world speaking / writing, but in a language we can’t understand.
So, I am quietly starting (before I scare myself and talk myself out of it) to do 254 paintings in 254 days with 254 words. The routine is to get out in my shed at the earliest opportunity each day (still needing electric light out there!), pick the canvas, pick a word (all 254 were printed out, cut out and put in a bag, hanging in the shed), write word and date on reverse and then paint. This first week I have simply used the word alone to respond to, next week I’ll look up the meaning each day too. I am working on a mixture of previously painted on canvas and new canvas (not got any yet). I am trying to find out if I can get my hands on old sail canvas, with the wear of use already in it.
On day 4 today and I have found I am responding more to the surface than to the word that is intended as my starting point. I am not too concerned with this, as right from coming up with this epic paint run, I am clear with myself that what I really need from this is a kick up the rear end! Last year, my balance between planning and spontenaity was way out, when working spontaneously I had no limits (i felt) and my planning generally took the form of being overwhelmed by admin. Plus doing admin seems to create more. Plus the fact that if you are seen as efficient at it you get given more! Currently I am leaving any admin/internet/bitty tasks till after lunch.
I am feeling more positive and energised than I have for a long time, it also helps seeing the continued progress of older artists, Rose Wylie is utterly compelling, quietly confident and has a dress sense I can understand (I am an avoider of shopping, or Shoppi in the local tongue).