Saturday, 30 July 2011

Playgrounds For Microscopic Creatures

Here are a few images of some small assemblage/sculptural works that I made a few months ago. They are made from paper, plaster, wood, ink, wax, pigments and probably other things that I cannot remember.  
I made them as habitats or playgrounds for imaginary microscopic creatures or tiny insects.  I tried to imagine  what it would be like to be so very small, walking on 6 or 8 tiny feet.  My tread so light that it would leave behind no footprints at all.  Not a trace.  I wondered, if I were such a creature, what kind of surfaces would I enjoy walking upon, climbing up, sliding down or hiding in.
These constructions did get unintentionally test driven by the local ants and spiders that reside in my studio.  Unfortunately I was not able to survey the responses of my guests.  But I did feel quietly chuffed that they chose to visit.
The more I venture into the 3 dimensional world, the more I realise  I have a sculptor within me desperately trying to chisel her way out of this painter’s body.  Ideally, I hope that when she fully emerges, she will be able to coexist with the painter.  Perhaps they will get married and have children or maybe have a platonic relationship and live in separate abodes, enjoying eachother’s company on a regular basis.  We shall see...
Bringing my forms out into space, somehow helps me to understand them more.  Pictorial space is deceptive and tricky.  We drag the viewer’s eye in with visual tricks, painterly smoke and mirrors.  There is something more weighty and tangible about sculptural forms.  The physicality of them somehow resonates with our own bodies.  I think  paintings can also achieve this but in different ways.  Here is where scale can be a very powerful tool.  Large scale paintings can have an enormous  physical presence, when they are large enough for the viewer to fit their body into.  To be engulfed by a powerful, large painting is a wonderful thing indeed.  That being said, I have  two large half finished paintings in my studio, languishing and waiting for me to get back to them while I am compulsively stuffing around with bits of cardboard and wood.  Hopefully they (and my dealers) will be patient with me while go off on my various tangents, trying to keep my muse a happy girl.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Man On Wire

I watched the film Man On Wire for the third time the other day with some of my students. The previous week I had noticed that while some were charging ahead with the project that I had set for this semester, others were floundering.  They seemed to be unable to generate enough interest or ideas to get the ball rolling. This got me thinking about creativity and inspiration and how an understanding of the processes involved in making art are slow to unfold for some students. There are so many threads that need to be woven together.  Basic skills and techniques and an understanding of materials, composition, form, tonality, colour harmony, concept and subject to name a few.  But it seems to me that the most important thing that needs to exist beneath or before all of this, is passion.  The energy and drive that results from passion will make all of the other things follow as a natural progression.
 I wanted to show my students a film that portrayed the creative process, the passion, the poetry and the way that an idea can germinate and unfold and lead to extraordinary things.  Man On Wire came to mind as a perfect example.
The film did not disappoint. I did not tell the students what it was about.  As well as watching the film, I also observed their responses. There was plenty of laughter and sounds of wonderment and incredulity. Many of them leaned forward in their chairs.  I think they were spellbound.  The class had a whole new energy afterwards.  
Thank you Philippe Petit. What you did up there, dancing in the space between those twin towers, was utterly mad and inspired.  An extraordinary example of what a human can think up and do. Why?  There is no why and how beautiful is that?


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