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I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Just plonk myself down": Fred Williams on painting outdoors

“The source of all my paintings is something that I actually have seen. I don’t sit in the studio and think that I’ll do this or that. The impetus always comes from some notation that I have made outside”

“It starts in the studio and it finishes in the studio. But what I do is, I ...hail, rain or shine, I go to a quiet spot, preferably as close to my doorstep as I possibly can, and just spend the day with no preconceived idea and just let it come to me. Leave early in the morning and return for a good meal and something to drink later.”

“Working outdoors, I don’t have any preconceptions about what it is or how I’m going to go about it. I usually just plonk myself down in a suitable spot, you know, as comfortable as possible, out of the wind, out of the heat and out of the rain and try and let it come to me. And I think in my case, because I actually like painting, it’s easier for me to simply sit there and splash around. Just work like crazy and bring it all home. Stack it away in the studio and don’t look at it for a couple of months. I sort of take the attitude that I’m like an antennae. I let it come to me a little bit, but I certainly don’t try to impose anything. I certainly don’t try to paint pictures out there.”

Documentary video: Patterns of Landscape: Through the Eyes of Fred Williams 1927–1982

Some examples of Fred Williams work can be viewed on Google Art Project and on the National Gallery of Victoria site 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Artists as angelic spies: Excerpts on art/ spirit/ the viewer

Jane Ann Wynn
My work seems to require an intimate relationship with my audience. When you take a moment to look at something that is small, it requires coming closer to inspect it. The physical distance is narrowed and you have the full attention of yourself and your viewer. From that moment on, your message has changed from a statement to a dialogue. You can share an emotional moment and it becomes personal.
...For a short moment in time, there is a spiritual connection.
Altered Curiosities, North Light Books p.39
Jane’s website
Thomas Moore objects are lures attracting certain kinds of spirits and they’re containers for that spirit. Our task is not to explain images but to expose ourselves to them and have our thinking and feeling affected by them. Images are inherently and necessarily mysterious. They invite us to enjoy a life where mystery deepen the level of our thought and experience. (p 174)
Art can be merely aesthetically pleasing, philosophically meaningful, and personally expressive, or it can have the special power to evoke and transmit a particular spirit to those who come in contact with it. (p204)
Poets and artists of all kinds are intimately familiar with edification by puzzlement. The best of them will tell you that they don’t always know what their work means. In their art they use word or images in ways that speak more directly and more profoundly than reason of our world and our experience. They trust the images that come to them as being rich in implication and complex in their truthfulness. (p.365)
The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life
Art, broadly speaking, is that which invites us into contemplation. ... In that moment of contemplation, art intensifies the presence of the world. We see it more vividly and more deeply
Care of the Soul
Thomas’s website
Agnes Martin: I do believe we unfold out of ourselves and we do what we are born to do sooner or later, anyway.
Dorothea Tanning: My work is about the enigmatic; it’s about leaving the door open to imagination. You see, enigma is a very healthy thing, because it encourages the viewer to look beyond the obvious and the commonplace. I have always liked to create images wherein the viewer sees something else every time he looks at them. 
John Gruen The Artist Observed, A. Cappella Books, 1991
John Olsen
“An artist’s life is a secret life, artists focus on thingsbarely noticed, they perceive, they inhabit magical shadows not yet appreciated. Artists are a particular genus of angelic spies – like blotting paper, absorbing visual facts and bargaining that information within themselves, hazarding ideas and conjuring with possibilities.
Jenny Zimmerman and Ken McGregor John Olsen; Journeys into the You Beaut Country

Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing on art: the contemporary art scene, capturing essence

I consistently record the words of others on art, which I find stimulating. Sometimes because they say what I believe to be true, but say it so more elegantly or eloquently than I could. Sometimes, because they extend a thought I had and take it into new territory. And sometimes (the best times) because they give voice to something that I only dimly glimpsed. So I have decided to place this on-growing collection here on the blog, because I believe that these words deserve to be recorded and shared. And selfishly, I can find them a lot easier here than scattered about in various notebooks.

I won't be sorting and ordering them by topic or by author or any other classification system devisable by the rational mind. They will simply be recorded as they come. But, not to be totally mean, I will caption them.

So here to begin is the quote attached to Against intellect and therapy, art as a dance

The contemporary art scene

Will Gompertz, the BBC's arts editor:

"Money and celebrity has cast a shadow over the art world which is prohibiting ideas and debate from coming to the fore," he said yesterday, adding that the current system of collectors, galleries, museums and art dealers colluding to maintain the value and status of artists quashed open debate on art.

"I hope this is the start of something that breaks the system. At the moment it feels like the Paris salon of the 19th century, where bureaucrats and conservatives combined to stifle the field of work. It was the Impressionists who forced a new system, led by the artists themselves. It created modern art and a whole new way of looking at things.

"Lord knows we need that now more than anything. We need artists to work outside the establishment and start looking at the world in a different way – to start challenging preconceptions instead of reinforcing them."

From The Guardian ~ Doyen of American critics turns his back on the 'nasty, stupid' world of modern art.
Dave Hickey condemns world he says has become calcified by too much money, celebrity and self-reverence. by Edward Helmore and Paul Gallagher
The Observer, Sunday 28 October 2012

Capturing the essence of the subject
But the deception of photography is not confined to the deliberate corrections, manipulations, enhancements and outright falsifications to which it can be subjected. There is also a fundamental problem in the fact it passively registers a luminous imprint of the visible world - in other words, a flaw at the heart of the argument for truth.
The point is that such an objective registration of visual phenomena is no more the truth of the world than a dead body is the truth of the deceased person. Consider the perennial problem of portraits painted from photographs: they are easy because all you have to do is copy a flat image. But they are lifeless because a person is not a flat image; a person is not even a three-dimensional thing, not in fact an object that can be copied but a subject with whom you must engage as another subject.
The same is true, less obviously, of trees and plants, and even apparently inanimate things such as mountains and bodies of water. A landscape painted from a photograph is as lifeless as a portrait; the painter cannot copy a pictorial imprint of the scene but must try to capture and re-enact its life, what Chinese writers about art called its chi or breath.
American angst in the photographs of Gregory Crewdson
·         From:The Australian 
November 03, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Grains of Sand

A little collection of recent small poems.

In the silence in between
the notes of bird song
I have hung suspended
in the perfect balance
of a deeper mystery.

In the slowly living mist
 the searching pilgrims gaze upon
 the great cathedral morning.

No voice can hope
 to echo the night’s sad wash
 against the rocks of dawn.

A veiled revelation
 dressed in shadows of sound
 foraging in the luminous dark
The unbound ocean wildly
 beats against the bulwark
 of my sober mind.
Across the border between you and I
 the wilful wind carries
the whispered secrets of my heart.

Unholy black voices
compelling me to blunder
 into grace

Unbroken circles opening
to the keening
of my heart.
Watching the miner’s canary
down deep in the darkness
of my soul

In the hour before the darkness
 let me lay my burdens down
 and drink in the fading light

As we walk together
will you carry for me
my broken wings?

For so long I stood
before tears washed away
all but the years

Tears: soft rain
feeding the moss that grows
on the stones deep
within the valley of my soul

feathers on the warm evening breeze
bottles on the late morning tide
papers on the hot swirling wind: