Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, January 31, 2011

Madeleine's latest exhibition appearance

The best way to support Project Australia is to appreciate the work of emerging artists in this fabulous fundraising group show. Come along to the opening and take home a piece for your wall !

Something Personal
Charles Hewitt Gallery
335 South Dowling St Darlinghurst
Opens 6pm Thursday 3 February 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Sympathy

'That is the best thing of life, to be in sympathy with others. To be creating something of time and sharing the moments in between'

'Where is a a piece of paper ? You need to write that down'. Said Sia, as her hands scrambled across the table for a piece of paper. 'What was it again ?' Sia asked Claire. 'I'll just keep talking' said Claire. 'It is just my wandering words, they're bound to come up again'. She took a slurp of her red wine and went back to strumming her guitar. 'No', Sia insisted ' This is your artist statement Claire, I'll write it down and you can pull it out some time, when you need it'.
Claire accepted the writing and humbly slid it beneath a pile of papers before her.

Earlier that evening, reclined like sleeping cats under the shadow of a garden canopy, we had shared our 2010's and our plans for the next year. With a friend visiting from out of town, there was much to catch up on. What I did not like was that I sat their in loathing of myself. I recited a chronology of events and I could not be bothered to share some affirmation for the future. I was exhausted by myself and equally humiliated by my inhibitions and pessimism. I knew that I was in the company of great women, a safe space, a friendly space but unfortunately their strength and humility, beauty and fervour for the future just accentuated my sense of inadequecy.

Tonight even, as the heaviness of the humid air heightens the stillness, i feel incredibly alone, desperately wanting to just share this glass of wine. A lone sailor on a ship, without a compas or sail or even a destination. I do not want to sink, but water is rising in the hull.

There is reason why there are many sailors onboard a ship and why sea shanties exist, which I discovered as the dinner pary progressed.

We sat around a table and ceremoniously pulled out our lipsticks like shop girls of the 1960's - giggling like them too, in amusement of new found cosmetic comraderie. Blush pink, crimson, ruby and terracotta. Claire taught us a song, and as we learnt to pronunciate in Spanish, our voices grew stronger, until we were seductively rolling our vowls. Over candlelight we sung and laughed hyserically.

When a platter of desert was set on the table, I was struck by how the artist presented the food, so differently to how my mother may have. When asked if i wanted some christmas pudding I was expecting my individual slice of cake in a bowl, perhaps with some cream or custard. Instead a long timber board was set down on the table with a a giant piece of lucious cake in the centre, surrounded by slices of mango and peach. The colours glistened and the sugar was so tantelising. We delicately picked at the platter with our fingers and wondered at the inclusion of sago in the cake, which gave it an unusul pumpernickal flavour and texture.

To create something of time - this need not compete with legend but embrace the essence of life.

To be in Sympathy with others - is paramount to known happiness, but what is also necessay is to be in sympathy with oneself - and this can be a lot harder.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2.30 AM Treasures

It was one of those Saturday nights that had humble beginnings but which escalated with plans and occurrences all over town. Only to conclude in the simplest of chance encounters, which proved far more rewarding than the attempted glamour of the evening.

Like a scene out of the quintessential Australian film, The Castle, the evening began with drinks in a suburban backyard of Stanmore. Concrete sealed every last inch of outdoor space in the 1960's red brick apartment complex. With the hills hoist proudly positioned in the centre of the yard, it proved a useful frame from which to drape a blue plastic tarp in case of rain. Though no amount of concrete or plastic tarp could ever block out the monstrous sound of 747's, as they swooped overhead every 15 minutes. At these moments the gentle chatter of the house party guests would rise to an abrupt volume, then diminish once more as the plane disappeared. Despite all efforts to maintain the chilled temperature of the beer in the retired outhouse, the best way to combat the enveloping humidity was to drink ones way through the cases of beer that were arriving. As we munched through snacks, we smacked mozzies on our legs and talked about all number of important subjects, such as Trish's new hair do and her lovely lady lover.

As 11.30 arrived as did the drop in gang, politely saying hello only to parade out once more in their 'alien' costumes, ready for another party. I am seduced every time when it comes to fancy dress, and this evening was no different. Despite being quite adamant that I wasn't going to drink nor venture onto oxford street, the tin foil and antennas were just too much to handle. Grabbing a friend by the hand I whisked her back to my house and we embarked upon a 20 minute costume creation, we were going to this party. Out with the body glitter, hairspray, tin foil, bobbins and spandex we fashioned some 'alienesque' outfits and ran for the last train out of Erskineville.

Lined up like animals in a cattle yard, we waited to get into the venue. Already I was attentive to the lack of costumes in the queue, but the adrenalin had excited me and my spirits weren't dampened. Once inside though, it was like a scene from a Hollywood movie, where the un popular birthday party guest is the only one invited to a 'costume' themed party, in fact, they are the comedian for the evening ! Dressed to the alien nines I was surprisingly unaffected - that's the power of costume: Inhibition. And so the evening progressed into sweaty dance floor moves until the air conditioned taxi out of there proved too appealing.

Dropped off at the end of my street, I walked past the usual addresses until I reached the un official depository for unwanted items. It were as if my prayers had been answered. I had recently been wanting to mark a certain 'coming of age' and felt it was high time I invested in some staple, nurturing house items. I had acquired a beautiful dinner set two years ago, 2010 had seen the arrival of a coffee machine and now I felt I wanted a rug, a persian rug, one that I would have forever. And there it was. Rolled up on the footpath next to box of crockery, photo frames and various miniature figurines. My Persian rug. I would now transform from alien into Aladin, and fly my magic carpet home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flying with the Fox

This evening as I was swimming laps in the pool, I looked up as I usually do, to check the time on the large clock. I realised I needed to swim for 5 more minutes so as to reach my usual 40 minute target. Then I thought, 'Just as well, it's getting late and I had better get home for dinner'. I tumbled at the end of the lap and continued on the home stretch. I was swimming well today, my body relaxing into a soothing rhythm and I felt I could have kept going for another half an hour. Why then was there this urgency to 'get home before dark'?

The overcast weather combined with the dinner hour meant there were no children about. The pool, though quite full with adults, was focused and meditative. You could almost hear the gentle hum of thoughts being shared beneath the surface. I emerged from the water and wrapped a towel around my shoulders, relishing in the comfort. 'Best get dry and change', my maternal voice instructed as I looked at the clock again. Instead I sat down.

I thought about how a friend had said she needed routines and rituals to function, without them she was lost. From this I tried to distinguish what may be the difference between the two, for whilst I am happily stabilised by routine I can recognise rituals in my life that are far more rewarding, yet are equally as measured. Yoga is something I do regularly, I practice familiar poses, yet my focus and meditation is often unique to each class. Similarly I shop regularly, I must eat after all, but I savour the experience of entering the chinese food market as if it were a glistening jewellery store. I let myself be attracted to seasonal fruit and get excited in the aromatic herb aisle. These I consider rituals, very much structured like a routine, though fulfilled with an intent and awareness of something sacred. This being the superior colour of produce or observing the weightlessness of the body in water, it can be something much more rewarding.

Not so long ago I would have watched sceptically as swimmers followed the black line up and down the pool, judging their behaviour according to an obsessive compulsive trait, rather than a ritual. What a boring routine ! However now, as I gravitate to the water for relaxation and experience my thoughts and health improve, I realise the confines of the lanes allow for something special.

Routines need to be broken too though. The freedom of abandoning the expected and the structure is of equal importance, otherwise these systems dominate and the lustre of the practice diminishes.

With this in mind, I head to the park - again, the lack of children in school holiday time is astounding ! I feel like the rebellious adult taking over the swings and the slide, but most importantly I have the chance to test out the flying fox ! I have enviously been watching children play on it for months, through the bus window as I pass. And now it is my turn. The routine of time, dinner, weather is all out the window - I must play !

Taking in wind I glide fast, faster then terrifyingly fast down the cable- It is wonderful ! Next, i am jumping from heights and performing 'run ups' to increase my speed. Again and again I glide down the fox. I hear myself say 'one more go' and joyously I respond 'No !' The mind can so easily make an oppressive routine of life. One of this, only 10 minutes of that, oh the structure is stifling ! Squealing as I nearly flip the swing - I realise I must appear the psychotic playground weirdo.