Sunday, May 17, 2015

'Only connect'.......

E. M. Foster's admonition to 'only connect' seems like a good principle to follow in life and art. 

After hearing Paul Van Nevel's' Music for Apocalyptic Times 1200-1400 last week with R in Notre Dame de la Chapelle in Brussels and last Friday evening a concert by La Chapelle Sauvage the Onze Lieve Vrouw Kirk in Brugge I have been considering the connection between the sound of the human voice and the particular acoustics created by these sacred spaces constructed largely from traditional materials like stone, brick, plaster and wood. 

Birth- The Nativity by Pieter Pourbus- overlooked by the angle of death surmounting a marble tombstone in the Onze Lieve Vrouw Kirk, Brugge.   
It may be that the natural hydraulic lime which I am using to point and render the old bricks both inside and outside of the house has particular acoustic properties which resonate to sound vibrations in the same way that it absorbs and refracts light to create a very subtle muted colour in addition to 'breathing' naturally with the changing weather conditions. 

Bricks and plaster can become fascinating surfaces especially if you are stripping back, pointing and re-rendering these surfaces just for their natural beauty. It is a salutary lesson to any artist to remember that Michelangelo had to be an expert lime plasterer in order to paint fresco's which like require three layers moving from coarse to fine progressively, which is the same even if you are not painting the Sistine Chapel.........! 

Consolidating and conserving old brick work seems to be driven by both necessity and aesthetics -this labour of love requires patience and judgement but the result has a modern rustic appearance that can be  very satisfying - as long as the rest of the space is clean and warm, fully fitted with hot and cold water and does not remain a building site. 

The effects of light on gently modelled surfaces of natural lime plaster in both real and imaginary spaces, seems to be the subject of most of Fra Angelico's frescos in the monk's cells at San Marco's in Florence in which art and life, interior and exterior worlds, mirror and reflect each other. 

Now that the 'vergunning' has arrived the work is finally scheduled for the end of June and I can look forward to a summer of chipping back loose plaster and render, scraping out the joints, pointing and rendering brickwork both inside and out where necessary whilst the builder, plumber and electrician complete the essential works over July

Terrace wall being prepared for pointing.
Meanwhile elsewhere I continue to experiment with further abstractions for F using Bauhaus inspired elements in a project I am sharing with the 9th grade art class based on composing with squares and other simple geometric forms within a frame. They have to research Klee, Kandinsky, Albers and Itten as part of their investigation and search out the connections between art, music, dance and drama in specific examples of these artists works. Below are a few examples of my own works in progress......... 

GA Series 3 a - various stages.

GA series 3 b

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