Friday, December 6, 2019
Collage Contrapuntal Rhythms
Thursday, November 7, 2019
The Mirror and the Mask
|'Une Petite Madeleine de Proust': With acknowledgments to both Marcel Proust and Fauchon Patisserie, Paris.|
Themes that seem to be emerging from the process of making collage and painting trompe l'oeil ..... art, religion and myth, collective history and personal memory, sacred and profane desire, mystery and metamorphoses, magic and illusion, inner and outer worlds and realities, aligned, hidden and/or revealed. Playful surreal juxtapositions emerge out of association, dissonance, dislocation, alignment, displacement, accident, intention.............
|Untitled : Acrylic, ink, gel medium transfer and oil paint.|
|'The Cloud of Unknowing' acrylic, ink, gel medium transfer and oil paint.|
|Titian: Penitent Magdalene. 1533|
|Elisabetta Sirani: 1638-64. Penitent Magdalene|
Over the summer I spent a week in Florence in a hands-on workshop with the restorer Chiara Mignani //www.florenceart.net/restoration/ learning about cleaning and restoring oil paintings on canvas. The aesthetic qualities of multi-layered surfaces which have been damaged and restored over time and the interventions of the present day with its new technologies into the fragile material body of an art work creates a heightened sense of the beauty and transience of material forms. These are also qualities I want to capture both in the process and final outcome of my own original paintings, which are themselves often initiated, worked on and then abandoned for several years before I 'rediscover' them and make further interventions into the existing layers, bringing out new and altered interpretations in response to earlier ideas and marks. These 'traces' reveal perceptual shifts over time like the facade of an old house that has many times had windows and doors opened up, bricked up, and then plastered over before being stripped and remodeled again in the present day.
The subject was a favorite of Baroque artists. This image combining death and desire, the sacred and profane, philosophical reflections and theatrical forms with Caravaggesque contrasts between light and shadow gave great creative and imaginative scope to artists within the format. The iconography of the cave, the skull, and the ointment jar, alluding to the biblical narrative, and the interior of the cave, with its intimate space bringing us up close to intense emotion of the face, contrasts with the distant mountainous landscape seen through the cave opening, framed by roots, branches and leaves, on either side of the figure. The spiraling vortex of the figure itself, half hiding and revealing the body in white and red robes, describes an asymmetrical cone of movement upwards along with the direction of the gaze, expressing a tension between both stability and dynamism as well as the complex, conflicted emotions of the Magdalene herself. Perhaps this tells us more about the painter and his/her intended audience between the 16th and 18th centuries in Italy than it does about the real or mythical character of Mary Magdalene as she appears in the biblical texts or traditional interpretations.
Friday, September 27, 2019
In Search of Lost Time............
|Collage: 'Broken Idol' ( Homage to C.P. Cavafy).|
|Oil on Panel, Trompe l'oeil|
Friday, May 17, 2019
Without the internet connected yet in the house reading the old-fashioned way from a book is a pleasure rediscovered afresh each weekend as I transfer volumes from one set of bookshelves in Brussels to another in Bruges. Books are heavy when you carry them in a bicycle pannier - I find I have to 'weigh my words' literally before I set off.
I turn in the circle of my days, the wheels of my bicycle turn, morning and evening, in daylight and darkness, in spring when the cherry blossom scatters its pink confetti on the ground and in autumn when the last fiery flames of golden leaves illuminate the sky. Everything turns in its cycle of living and dying, arising and ceasing endlessly.Each weekend I regain the geometry of the house; first at the broad base of it's pyramid; washing, eating, walking, sitting, reading, looking, and then gradually mounting the pyramid to sleep under the roofs apex - where form meets formlessness - under the celestial zenith - at the breathing point of the roof and sky.
Time and space are defined by a scale and proportion and there is an underlying geometry in things- Cezanne's cylinder, sphere and cone.
'...treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, everything brought into proper perspective so that each side of an object or a plane is directed towards a central point.'
Letter to Emile Bernard. April 15 1905
Plato's 'solids' were associated with the elements; earth the cube, air the octahedron, water the icosahedron and fire the tetrahedra. Plato attributed the dodecahedron with arrangement of the constellations.
|Liber Divinorum Operum. Theophany of Divine Love|
Hildergard Von Bingen
|'Utriusque Cosmi Historia' by Robert Fludd (1574-1637)|
Rereading 'The Abyss' by Margaret Youcenar it struck me that Zeno's alchemical insights into the nature of nature and his own body and mind's participation in its processes read surprisingly like the Satipatthana Sutta's four foundations of mindfulness of the body, sensations and feelings aroused by perception and mind/consciousness and 'dhammas' or elements of the Buddhist teaching.
' The act of thinking interested him now more than did the doubtful products of thought itself. He tried to observe himself while engaged in thinking, just as with his finger on his wrist he might have counted the pulsations of his radial artery, or beneath his ribs, the coming and going of his breath.......From the realm of the mind he came back to the denser world of substance which is contained within the limits of form. Enclosed within his room, he no longer spent his waking hours trying to acquire a more just view of the relations between things, but instead in meditation, wholly unformulated, on the nature of things.'
Monday, March 18, 2019
Ascetic Aesthetic in Spain and Flanders
|Francisco de Zurbaran. c 1638 - 16-39 St Francis Meditating|
- The costs of achieving this kind of minimalism are eye-watering, and seemingly inconsistent with its mission of aesthetic humility. He explains that this is a kind of luxury for a select few: “The Emperor of Japan had a wabi garden. Wabi is for people who already have a lot.”