Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Figure in the Landscape

I love epiphany's. Particularly in this business of art where one can stumble around for weeks like a mad woman, trying to justify collecting scraps or 'arranging' things as some sort of legitamite art process. I have been sewing pieces of odd fabric shapes together for weeks. My sewing machine and I have been making a second skin, perhaps I'm subconsciously preparing for winter. I have no desire to stuff this 'thing' that I am making, unlike my other textile pieces. I'm rather liking the formlessness of it, and how it droops and sags. Whilst I'm not helping it grow, it sits on the floor like a curled up creature, a pile of folds, a snake skin. Then I reach down and pinch a section of it and pull it into the air, it is a languid body. I hold it from multiple points and it reminds me of a rugged landscape. I think about how I have been patch working it together, an accumulative process, gathering found materials and using instinct and desire to let it grow. To me, the colours, texture and pattern connotate memory of landscapes visited. I wonder if the piece is trying to become a landscape. When I hold it up, I realise there are sleeves, it can be worn like a cloak, draping the body. When Brian Tried it on I saw a figure in the landscape. My memory of a landscape represented through suede and silk textures, being felt by another. What is the effect of wearable art when the body is physicaally entanged with the work, is the experience immediete. But who's experience is it ? What happens when there is a potential protagonist in the work ?

Questions to ponder at least. Things to clarify. But never the less, interesting progress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crying over Creme Brulee

Crème brûlée French for "burnt cream".A dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. Although often served cold in North America, traditionally it is to be served warm. The custard base is traditionally flavoured with vanilla, but is also sometimes flavored with lemon or orange (zest), rosemary, chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, fruits, and even spices such as ginger. The exact origins of this dish are unknown, though the earliest known reference to it is in François Massialot's 1691 cookbook.

Today in the work place, I was ordered to perform any artists worst nightmare (or should I add the gourmet, hungry artist). Crack the tops of millions of individual creme brulee deserts then shovel the contents into the bin ! Blasphemy ! It was purely torturous ! The experience of a creme brulee is supposed to be a deliciously sweet, acoustic and textured ritual, going something like this:
One takes the spoon and smashes the toffee ever so poignantly, so that the smooth hard surface cracks and teases one with the promise of something beneath.
Then, the spoon is inverted and in one strategic insertion and rotation of the wrist, a perfect proportion of custard and toffee is drawn. When in the mouth the toffee chatters on one's teeth yet is soothed by the melting of the cold custard.
It ultimately does go down a sweet treat.
But alas, here I stood, before the mouth of a giant otto bin, nearly in tears as I shovelled out the desert as if it were were yellow mucous. Utterly horrified by the waste, and carnage and the predicament of being 'paid' to do such a thing, the creme brulee became exactly that: nothing more than mucous, a substance, my experience of food irrefutably tarnished forever.

But, just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. When Creme Brulee basically consists of eggs and sugar, there can be some consolation in the loss of only basic ingredients. But when handed a platter of smoked salmon sandwiches, I simply could not be consoled by anything ! My pay packet can't even factor in one piece of salmon on the weekly grocery budget, yet here I was throwing it out ! With one ravenous swoop I took a sandwich in my bear hands and sunk my teeth in.... Heaven......
Unfortunately I had my eyes closed at this point, savouring the mouthful, and didn't observe the floor manager march right up to me and glare down at me disapprovingly.
"The food goes in the bin" I heard bellowed at me.
''This sandwich is too delicious not to see the walls of my mouth'' I replied.

Not sure why I still have a job.

Creme Brulee:

8 egg yolks
50g sugar
600ml cream
1 vanilla pod
caster sugar

Mix yolks and sugar together.

Bring cream and vanilla pod to the boil. Remove the pod and scrapes its insides into the cream. Now mix the cream into the yolks and sugar.

Transfer back into the saucepan and cook until the moisture coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to curdle the mixture.

Divide the mixture into 6 (7.5cm) ramekins or moulds. Sit these in a roasting tin and add warm water until it comes three-quarters up the sides of the ramekins. Cook in a pre-heated oven (180C) for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Refrigerate until ready.

To finish the brulees, sprinkle them liberally with caster sugar. If you have a blow torch, use that to brown the sugar. If not, brown the sugar under a pre-heated grill, having the ramekins as close as possible to the heat. The top should be hard and when cracked with the spoon will give a wonderful contrast to the creamy bottom.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Soundtrack to Blog

An after thought to tonight's blog was the inclusion of my music soundtrack whilst typing:
Phil Slater Quartet. The Thousands. (wonderful contemplative Jazz, slow and steady. I love the track titles too 'Burden of Corners' is one)

A different instrument of choice

Today, I was feeling so disillusioned by my own set of moral and instinctive codes. No amount of face book stalking, drinking or house mate banter could relieve my anguish. I could not even let myself loose with a paint brush with the ominous thought of the repair I would have to perform later. So I decided to let an instrument do the talking, perhaps, I thought, it would offer some solace. I strapped my violin onto my bicycle and set of to the studio, my anticipation growing for the wonderful acoustic space that awaited.
The vaulted ceilings of the warehouse welcomed the long moans that the bow pulled from the violin, lifting them high so that they vibrated off the walls. The concrete floor repelled each harsh dig that the bow ripped from the strings, as if the chords were deliberately jumping and smacking theme selves onto the ground. The space offered the sound of the instrument a heightened intensity. But interestingly, I recognised that the state of being, from which I was producing such sounds was unusual. I was both present and absent, performing yet listening. There was an intuitive sense of control. If you were to ask me what I played now, I couldn't tell you, and I can't quite reconcile how something that struck me so much can not be remembered, nor attributed from a state of knowing.
I value a number of things from this experience with music today. One: A voice was given to my building state of incommunicable angst. It simply took an expression, was released yet not contained to a form or permanency.
Secondly: The experience was my own. Unlike my art, which as I pursue a career with, increasingly becomes about others; viewed by others, judged by others, propelled or stalled by others. This is not to place publicly viewed art in a negative light, I do believe that art can be like happiness, not known until shared. However, it does raise a challenge, working between private and public spaces. Challenges of trust, control and intimacy with one's practice. There was a trust with the violin today, a fleeting moment, where I wasn't performing. I was living. And whilst this does not always happen when painting, it's what makes me do it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kaleidoscope Opening Night

Thanks to those who came along to the opening at Kaleidoscope Gallery on Thursday, was great to see the support.

I was so intrigued by the hanging of my work "Bull Dust" next to the stuffed toy web artwork (apologies can't remember the title) by artist Carla Gee Schneider. For it is from found objects, particularly plush toys and hand made plush objects, that I source imagery, composition and colour for my paintings. It was like a fateful meeting of our two practices and was wonderful to have a conversation with the artist about her connection to the faux fur material. Whilst I have been moving away from the recognisable 'toy' and animal identity of the material, making my own plushies from new textiles, this artist has embraced the childhood connotations. Schneider admits to maintaining a connection with the playful identity of the toy as she is intrigued by the reaction from the audience to her brutal dismembering of the toys. This key element of responsiveness intrigues me as it highlights an exploitation of process. Schneider's work it is not so much about creating a 'new' object but engaging in the act of transformation.

What intrigued me conceptually about this work was the extent to which an audience could accept transformation if it interrupts the sentimental material. Even when transformed a toy remains a toy, an object strictly linked to childhood, therefore nostalgia and an innocence. It is interesting to think of how an artist's practice has the ability to disrupt sweet nothings of childhood, and how as adults we guard the sentiments and memory of how childhood.

I found this work provocative and revelled in the discomfort that it created. Like a lot of my sculptural work it too appealed on a superficial level to people, its bright colours and tactility. But the proof was in the pudding, because on closer inspection it also repelled, and I think this is a powerful and compelling dichotomy to prevail in an artwork.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Geospatial teacup pyramid

I began a new job this week, a glorified waitress at the Sydney Convention Centre.
In the initial hours of my first shift I was herded like a sheep around the centre, which was large enough to have its own post code. I found myself questioning the desire to be part of such a flock, even if it meant I could effortlessly leave it behind at the end of the working day. For whilst it would certainly leave plenty of mental space and energy for better things in life, it was proving positively soul destroying.

The experience was like the first day of school, the uniform drowned me, I didn't have the correct stationary, nobody spoke to me and worst of all, at lunch time I found myself standing in the middle of the canteen, tray in hand, with no table to sit at. Being the crazy girl with no make up on or straightened slick hair I found myself stumbling into a chair and imitating Drew Barrymore from the film Never been kissed, spilling my green cordial onto the table.

However, after such an uninspiring introduction to the centre, I did find the afternoon more intriguing. Simply because of the fact that I opened my eyes to the convention that I was working with. Even now, after a number of days at the convention , I can't tell you precisely what it is on, but that is half the appeal. Something to do with geography, digital mapping, engineering and data, I think. Purely alien yet wonderful to me.
Though what remains disheartening is that in one instance, as I was standing before a water station reading a banner on one of the pavilions, I asked my waiter buddy what she thought a geospatial solution might be. She looked at me as If I had spoken in another language, glassy eyed, she shrugged her shoulders and went back to inspecting her acrylic nails. How does one reconcile themself with this situation ? True, the work is tiresome and ordinary, but within the environment there is something to think about and better still talk about with your colleague. But there was simply no connection.
In a similar instance I found myself serving double smoked ham with Camembert and seeded mustard baguettes, when a delegate asked my colleague what the food was. She bluntly responded "Pork" and turned away, leaving the man looking half heatedly at his sandwich. I guess I should have been impressed that she didn't say "Pig". But where I ask you, is the care ? The slightest interest in the cheese, if not in the act of serving it. How can you not be excited about cheese ? Whilst heartened that I could at least be stimulated by the elusiveness of a geospatial device and care about the cheese even though I couldn't eat it, I found myself very lonely in the experience. And so as I diligently performed my waiting tasks, scurrying around like an ant, trying to care about the arrangement of napkins. I feared that perhaps this job could in fact reduce my mental capacity for art rather than leave space for it, simply beacuase no one else seemed to care. If people aren't open to the changing environment of their work, the food they serve or the people they interact with, then where is the shared experience ? And where does that leave art ? If it comes down to the nature of the work itself then what sort of work should an artist do ?

But, there was light at the end of the tunnel as the final task of the day was building a teacup and saucer pyramid. The meadative power of its construction was wonderful, oh the intricacy ! oh the repetition, oh the pristine whiteness of the china ! What a practical and artistic feat in which to conclude the day. It was then that I considered the geospatial solution that I had recognised in the fulfilling practice of building such a hospitable artwork.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Exhibition Opening This Thursday

Black Line Collection

Thursday, April 15, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Kaleidoscope Gallery

84 William Street Padington



Tim Andrew
Susie Fraser
Carla Gee Schneider
Madeleine Cruise
Simon Currie
Jess Lawson
Miriam Montgomery
Ember (melb)
Natalia Zajaz
Steven Nuttall

Sunday, April 11, 2010

...Yet still the solitary humble-bee
Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure,
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes
'Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good,
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.

This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Friday, April 9, 2010

Karel and I in the Botanic gardens

You know the satisfactory feeling of tiredness after a day well spent ? When all you want to do is go home alone, eat some pasta and nurse your tired feet.
Over the past few weeks I have been reading Karal Appel's memoirs and interviews. When asked where he finds his inspiration for such imaginative subject matter in his paintings, his response is, that he sees everyday as brand new. His eyes are always fresh. Be it a walk to the store to buy milk, he does everything with the eyes of a first timer, and everything is amazing. Funnily, he also confesses to imaginaning the world through the eyes of an animal. I also really like this, for as humans, we must look pretty ridiculous most of the time, our routines and antics, what we wear, how we show affection, choosing to get pissed so we can purposely stumble home.
I went to the botanic gardens today and I felt like eve in the garden of eden,awe struck and in admiration of the exotic plants and peculiar bats. Today the plants were nolonger familier, they were fury, prickly, wonderous specimens, portals into another world. And as I eat my gnochi, now in bed, I realise that Karel is quite a good companion on my adventures.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WOW Watch out Mad's about Artist superhero, protector and persecutor of all things pretty and plush. Painter and sculpter of sweet and slippery delights. Salivating yet ? Stay tuned for the telling of many tales, this is just the beginning.