Friday, September 23, 2011
It has been a while dear blog, I have taken time away from the keys to explore, away from the paint brushes too, the devil that is a job and the toils of a studio practice. I have cheated on you with my diary and camera - seduced by ink, I have kept my stories, my tales, my woes and discoveries, for its pages alone.
Sometimes a needle and thread have come out, a piece of paper and a water colour brush to record my adventures. Sometimes, things have found me, like an abandoned box of treasures, yarn, a lolly wrapper, a ticket. Many a story has been shared with me too, hearts telling me tales of love and loss, fears and frivolity. I have assumed the traveler and keeper of secrets. My eyes locking on colours, my tongue savouring tastes and my body growing weary of searching for places to rest my head.
As a quilter gathers material for her blanket I have woven some sort of tale, one that strays off on tangents but never the less unites many people and places.
It is my desire and inescapable duty of to translate all that is around me.
In March when I found myself in Puebla Mexico, struggling to breathe, overwhelmed and intoxicated with the ambush of colour and culture, I settled myself down by painting. My friends when out partying on tequila and I sat on my balcony with a brush, pad and orange and purple and poured it out. (dont worry I had my own stash of tequila too) These colours are now emerging in my latest large scale work - This never fails to surprise me - the manner in which my body will contain something and then release it later. At these moments I wonder if I have any control, if instead I am just a harvester of something already in existence. Yes I make work, but its soul is already floating around and I just give it some form, I translate it in some way. I am not sure if this is necessary or not but it seems to be what I need to do. An instinct, something that makes sense to me.
The mystical nature of my process sometimes becomes all too much. As does the language I use. I don't paint what we all see, I paint what i see, stripped back and elemental. It begins with an idea of a place or a glimpse of something and then I hold little control over the direction, it is then the surface and material that starts its own journey. It evolves through time and eventually I realise what I am painting or sewing or sculpting. Often I am in the dark. This is frightening. This is what un nerves me. But this is why I do it.
I am sharing some of the journey in my latest exhibition. It is a presentation of work gathered over a six month period. It is raw, it is a little fragile but it is honest. I like to think of it as an exhibition for more exhibitions. It is not shiny and perfected, it is more like a blanket with frayed edges - tangents of yarn to follow into more work. In this way the exhibition challenges the traditional notion of a perfected show, it makes me a little uncomfortable, but hey - who wants to be like all the rest ?
As I have been crafting assemblages for the show, sanding wood and stuffing materials, the medative process of this has revealed an objective position from which I can view the work. Which is a relief from the highly subjective position that I normally hold. In the repetitive nature of sewing or painting pattern the mind has the time to tell me of the people I am painting about and the places. I realise I am in many ways telling other people's stories. I am giving the voiceless wall of a city a voice too as I paint its beautiful coloured facade which hints at the layers beneath.
My most recent address has been in Montreal, where I have had the fortune to ease into a studio practice during a residency. Pulling together the stories, enriching the memories through paint and slowly formulating a collection to share. Lost and Found is the title of the show and it holds many voices.
I hope you enjoy it.
(I hope I can pull it off.)
Posted by at 1:59 PM