Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lesson of Survivial


I like to think I am good at giving advice, I can be a convincing person, but I never seem to be able to implement it in my own life. I out manoeuvre my own thought processes and undercut my opinions. When commiserating with a good friend as to the problem of getting up every morning, how to live life more comfortably, how to get through, I found myself suggesting that each small event we encounter should be embraced and done well. I know too well that it is easy to lose one's appetite, let your bedroom fall in chaos and alienate yourself. I scoffed in frustration at a work colleague who suggested that the very fact that you eat and drink means you're surviving and you will be ok, bull shit ! - anyone can operate on auto pilot if they wish to, but it does not mean you are doing ok. Look at the figures in Brack's paintings for example, this is not the way to live. One needs the 'will' to put food in your mouth, the 'desire' to decorate your room the ability to 'bask' in the sun, otherwise it is meaningless and we become the pawns on a chess board.

To embrace the immediate tasks at hand means eliminating the potential negativity your brain can manifest and blocking any thought of what next. It is not about wearing a false coat of optimism, it is simply about focusing your thought. I took this advice today. I awoke in bed and knew I needed to eat, there were precious hours before I had to go to work, time in which I had to be productive, make decisions and 'cope'. I tried my hardest and rose with the thought of the ingredients in the fridge. No bread, hmmm, no traditional eggs on toast then. I improvised with the pantry... a can of beans, half a tomato, a little feta, the stove stood waiting and my tummy was rumbling. Head into gear, armed with a fry pan and knife I set about creating.

I am in love with pancetta, how you throw it onto a fry pan for a few seconds and it spits and hisses as it folds into fantastic crispy shapes. mmmm and so salty. I fried up the beans with a litltle balsamic and chopped tomatoes, they went a bit mushy, which was great to mould into a shape on my plate. Then I crumbled some fetta on top and ripped off a handful of watercress leaves to press into the cheese. Then finally put the crispy pancetta on top. It looked like an erupting volcanoe and if I were to have painted it I probably would have made dabs of paint that looked like beans and chosen an equally iridescent green like the watercress (even though it is not true to life) I probably shouldn't have used any vinegar, the flavour was a bit too much and slab of sour dough on the side would have gone down a treat, but the act of making was enough.

I guess I found something in the act of carrying out a mundane activity like eating breakfast to make it more interesting. I didn't think ' I am eating this because I need sustenance so that I can push trolleys of butter around with great strength and stamina when I get to work'. I took the moment and ran with it.

I hope that this new tactic works, at least for little while. Until I don't feel like I need tactics, when things happen naturally.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Yesterday I pushed a trolley of butter. Today I supervised bowls of chips. Tomorrow....

Nothing makes me so different from the commuters in this painting. Maybe I push the trolley for something greater, maybe not. I too am just one of the ants, with a giant piece of bread on my back, shuffling back and forth. I make things, troublesome things, that take up space, cost money and argue with me - Ha ! they sound like naughty children. And this is why I push trolleys of butter ?

But then, I watch my fellow ants, their eyes hovering centimetres from their lunch plates and never wavering, pulling dry chicken off the bone and shovelling it in their mouth. My eyes wander to the dispenser of condiments, maybe I'll have jam with my cheese today ?
At the end of the day the trolley pushers, the chip supervisors, the chicken eaters, go to the pub together - but I don't. Yet I push the trolleys and I supervise the chips and I make a dam good tea cup pyramid ! Maybe that's just it, I like tea cup pyramids

Should one, should anyone, aspire to not be in this painting ? They look unhappy, they look like victims, but do they know this ? Is ignorance bliss ? Is John Brack a bourgeois snob or just another type of victim ? Is there anything wrong with being an ant and can anyone ever really escape from the cogs that grind the society we live in ?

Within the cogs though there is beauty, not seen in this painting, but I see it sometimes. If I see it tomorrow I'll tell you.
You need to live with eyes open to see it I guess.