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April is the cruelest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

At 18 T S Eliot rocked my world.

I obsessed over The Waste Land, like the sea on the sailor, picking apart it’s bones; wringing every morsel of meaning from its limbic resonance.

It hit me hard.

The fecundity of the language alongside its barren themes. To me it was a glimpse into the future; all hope and regret,

The limitless possibilities of a creative life limited by its very nature; mortality.

The artist striving all their life for the one image that sums it up, says it all, forever almost there. All promise until death.

Bacon’s  burning*.

Always, ultimately, doomed to failure; usurped by life and the next big thing.

Phlebas [insert your name here] the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
                                   A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                                   Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Like Van Gogh in his Wheatfield, undone by what he had done [apparently].

After all;

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Happy Days!

Image result for van gogh cornfield

Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh, July 1890, Van Gogh Museum

*previous blog post 25/2/16

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Vocational Arousal

In the early 1990’s, whilst toiling in the London media scene I was approached by and attended an interview at Dennis Publishing.

My interviewer was none other than the man himself, Felix Dennis; a frankly amusing and amazing man, character of legend and many a magazine myth. He had occasion to recruit a team for a new venture; the launch of the title ‘Stuff’.

A bi-monthly men’s magazine about, well, stuff:

Stuff is the world’s best-selling gadget magazine, and Stuff.tv is the online version of that magazine (if that makes any sense). It’s where you can find tech news that’s wry but not dry, the world’s most trusted gadget tests and exclusive previews of the latest phones, computers, wearables, tablets, games, apps, TVs, hi-fi, headphones, cameras, consoles, and media players, as well as insights into the technology that’s changing your future.

It’s not all gadgets…that’s not all – cars make us quiver and robots rock our world. We’re seduced by sport and tickled by toys. We worship watches, marvel at music and fawn over films, fashion and furniture. OK, we hardly ever do furniture. And thank goodness for that, eh?’ 

https://www.stuff.tv/about-us

Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Stuff it seemed to me that was really rarely needed. Though the title was acquired by Haymarket publishing in 1999 and still exists to this day so what would I know…

Needless to say I declined the job offer but left with a kind of a pal, which in turn saw me in 2006 with a signed copy of Felix’s tome ‘How to get Rich’ .

Yeah, yeah, get to the point, I know.

The point being that I still have the book, and I know that it is a signed copy, but I have never witnessed the signature as I have never actually opened the book……

The fact that a magazine about stuff I could see no point of launched by a man whose book I possess but did not buy and have never read says way more about me than anything else I totally concede.

However, by the time the book came in to my possession I had long since left London and Media behind me to return to paint, due in no small part to the fact that working in an industry so wholly unconnected to my sense of self made me unhappy to the point of heaving……

…..and therein we have it. Finally. the point of this month’s blog.

The pursuit of stuff nobody needs can make us sick.

The pursuit of things that resonate with our-selfs makes us well.

The provocative term, vocational arousal, came by way of the visionary thinker Barbara Marx Hubbard.

Vocational arousal describes an internal yearning or calling to our highest work; to our specific duty while on Earth.  While this calling used to be experienced by the few, possibly those in spiritual vocations, artists, healers, nurses, physicians, and teachers in particular, this arousal is being expressed more and more now by people not yet sure of where their joy lies; because they have never had occasion to ask…

When you love your work, you spend your days in a heightened state of arousal Marx Hubbard tells us. Good work is sexy, Pretty cool. What’s not to love?

The world has been filled with people who have unwittingly bought into the system. Namely to do as you are told, go to school, get the required education, get a good job and work for the machine – until retirement and ultimately death. Increasingly,  though, students are finding that following this path does not lead to a job at all, never mind a good one. Mere qualifications are not enough, educational establishments want life experience, individuality and point of difference. Vocation.

Not job seekers

But what has a job been? And who on earth would want one long term? A job has no vitality. It is a way to fill your day while you are planning what you really want to do. And often in the planning you become numb, totally swallowed by the machine. And you forget who you are. And what role you have to play that makes your eyes sparkle and your heart sing. So we have cities filled with zombies. The most aroused they get is through very ordinary sex, too much social media, or crap TV.

Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, writer, inventor and theorist long ago did the ‘math’ and concluded that it is cheaper to pay people to stay at home, to not commute, to not produce stuff that adds no real value but consumes earth energy. They then might have a chance to discover where they are vocationally aroused. Then we could honour people for doing what was spontaneously arousing within them and that added value to the whole, collective, existence.

We would honour those who love to do the caring roles that our current society regards as worthless; taking care of children, the elderly and the physically challenged. We would not say that they are less valuable than the ‘worker’ who gets paid silly money for trading bits on a screen. We would honour men who wanted to be stay at home fathers, and women who wanted to be stay at home mums. We would celebrate the artists and artisans, music makers, poets and musers. We would measure value by the joy in their eyes, the weight of hell lifted from the collective consciousness and the contribution they make to the joy and well-being of all.

Vocational arousal is the real work of life. It is the twinkle. The divine spark.

As Buckminster said:

‘We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living’.

 

We need far less Stuff than we have led ourselves to believe.

‘Enough is as good as a feast……’ now was that Thomas Mallory or Mary Poppins? You decide as I am currently vocationally aroused by this:

Just this:

IMG_0186

 

 

 

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‘Machines for suffering’

Ahhhhh Pablo, don’t you just love him?

Me? Not so much, ever since the Hayward.

Lots of gals did though.

In the year that is 100 since women first received a right to vote, owing in the most part to the actions of an active and empowered few, and a slowly emerging narrative [if sought] of self sacrifice and protest at all levels from kitchen to castle, I am reminded of my experience of the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Picasso’s Picassos’ [1981] where I first felt the glimmerings of fear.

In 1981 I was 15 and on a school trip. I felt a chill for the first time, inexplicable, a thought I could not then form. A fear of being female.

All because of this:

Picasso-full

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (Femme nue, feuilles et buste) (1932), Pablo Picasso. Private Collection

And so in honour of the man who first ‘fraided’ me I offer this…..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/artists/pablo-picasso-women-are-either-goddesses-or-doormats/

and this:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/11/09/how-picasso-bled-the-women-in-his-life-for-art/

I’d say ‘enjoy’ but you’re not gonna…..

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Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Here I have simply cut and paste an article that appeared last April in the Guardian, when I first became aware of the everyday sexism campaign and website. It is a wonderful resource and reassurance to women, young and old, who may feel that the #metoo campaign is less accessible for them

https://everydaysexism.com

What I have learned from five years of Everyday Sexism

To be a feminist is to be accused of oversensitivity and hysteria. But in the face of the abuse the project uncovered, the strength, ingenuity and humour of women has shone like a beacon

 

Laura Bates: ‘I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.’

 Laura Bates: ‘I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.’ Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

In spring 2012, a week after setting up a website to catalogue experiences of gender inequality, I asked Lady Gaga for her support via Twitter. Keen to raise awareness of my newly created Everyday Sexism Project, I hoped she might spread the word among her millions of followers.

The next morning, I sleepily reached for my phone and saw more than 200 new notifications. I clicked eagerly on the first message and stopped cold. It wasn’t, as I had hoped, the first of many new entries from women who had suffered harassment or assault. It was a brutally graphic rape threat – and the moment I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.

The threats continued to flood in. The sheer tenacity was startling. Who were these men, who could spend days, weeks – years, even – bombarding a woman they had never met with detailed descriptions of how they would torture her?

Over time, things became clearer. I met men who opposed feminism in different settings, and began to recognise their varied tactics. In some ways, the online abusers – who hurled hatred from behind a screen – were the least threatening. The repetition in their arguments (if you can call “get off your high horse and change your tampon” an argument) made it clear that their fury was regurgitated: rooted in a fear of that man-hating, society-destroying “feminazi” of online forum fantasy.

More sinister were the slick, intelligent naysayers who hid in plain sight. Men who scoffed at social events, confidently assuring those around us that sexism in the UK was a thing of the past and I should look to other countries to find “real problems”. Men who asked my husband, in commiserating tones, how he coped with being married to me. Politicians who told me I was “unnecessarily negative” and that girls these days didn’t know how lucky they were. The newspaper picture editor who overlooked the content of my interview when he announced his priority was to make me look “as sexy as possible”. People with the power to change things and the will to keep them exactly the same.

Despite this, the site was a success, and over the next five years, hundreds of thousands of testimonies flooded in. Almost every woman or girl I met told me their story, too. A nine-year old who had received a “dick pic”. An elderly lady who had been assaulted by her late husband’s best friend. A young black woman refused entry to a nightclub while her white girlfriends were waved through. A woman in a wheelchair who was told she would be lucky to be raped. My assumptions about the type of person who suffers particular forms of abuse and the separation between different kinds of prejudice quickly shattered.

The sadness of the stories was a heavy thing to bear, as was the continued abuse I received. A man who had offered me directions crossed the street in disgust when I told him I was on my way to give a talk about workplace sexual harassment, snapping: “For God’s sake, we’ve got to have some fun!” An interviewer asked me live on air whether it was difficult having no friends because I was so humourless. An American commentator wrote a blog publicly warning my husband he would one day come home to find I had burned down our house, murdered our children and joined a “coven of lesbian witches”. Somewhere around the time I received a death threat alongside the claim I was a dripping poison that should be eradicated from the world, I started seeing a counsellor. And – at low moments – I seriously considered the coven.

 
 
But there were pleasant surprises, too. I hadn’t anticipated the practical and emotional help offered by other women – solidarity from those of my own age and staunch support from older feminists who had seen it all before. And nothing could outweigh the privilege of being entrusted with so many people’s stories, often never told before. I felt a great sense of responsibility to make sure women’s voices were heard. I began to work with schools, universities, businesses, politicians and police forces, to try and ensure that the stories of one generation could alter things positively for the next. It helped hugely to feel that concrete change could come directly from the project.

Another joy was being part of a burgeoning wave of feminism, standing alongside others tackling everything from media sexism to female genital mutilation. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was how closely connected the different forms of inequality are. It is vital to resist those who mock and criticise us for tackling “minor” manifestations of prejudice, because these are the things that normalise and ingrain the treatment of women as second-class citizens, opening the door for everything else, from workplace discrimination to sexual violence.

To be a feminist, I have learned, is to be accused of oversensitivity, hysteria and crying wolf. But in the face of the abuse the project uncovered, the sheer strength, ingenuity and humour of women shone like a beacon. The dancer who performed for hours on the tube to reclaim the space where she was assaulted. The woman who waited five years to present her contract and a salt cellar to the careers adviser who had told her he would eat her paperwork if she ever became an engineer. The pedestrian who calmly removed the ladder of a catcalling builder, leaving him stranded on a roof.

That’s why I can honestly say that the experiences and lessons of the past five years have left me more hopeful than despairing. I can’t celebrate this milestone, exactly, representing as it does a collective outpouring of grief, anger and trauma. But I think of the resilience, the solidarity, the resistance, and I can’t mourn it either. In five years, I have learned that the problem is immense, but the will to fight it is greater still.

The Guardian, Monday 17 April 2017

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Immaculee Ilibagiza: The Heroine’s Journey

Researching further works has led me down many avenues but none so dark, disturbing and remarkable than Immaculee’s story.

This ‘About’ extract is taken direct from her [rather spectacular] website [no disrespect but she is evidently under management…], I would challenge anyone, male or female, to read her story without horror. Whilst personally not a ‘believer’ in some guy in the sky it is her sense of self and strength of character I find so incredibly moving. Very unsure that this is anything that could ever be the justification for a painting but inspirational none the less…

‘Immaculée Ilibagiza was born and raised in a small village in Rwanda, Africa. She enjoyed a peaceful childhood with her loving parents and three brothers. Education was very important in her household, so it was no surprise that she did well in school and went on to the National University of Rwanda to study electrical and mechanical engineering. It was while she was home from school on Easter break in 1994 that Immaculée’s life was transformed forever.

On April 6 of that year, the Rwandan President’s plane was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. This assassination of the Hutu president sparked months of massacres of Tutsi tribe members throughout the country. Not even small, rural communities like Immaculée’s were spared from the house-by-house slaughtering of men, women and children.

To protect his only daughter from rape and murder, Immaculée’s father told her to run to a local pastor’s house for protection. The pastor quickly sheltered Immaculée and seven other women in a hidden 3 x 4 foot bathroom. For the next 91 days, Immaculée and the other women huddled silently in this small room, while the genocide raged outside the home and throughout the country. 

While in hiding, anger and resentment were destroying Immaculée’s mind, body and spirit. It was then that Immaculée turned to prayer. Prior to going to the pastor’s home, Immaculée’s father, a devout Catholic, gave her a set of rosary beads. She began to pray the rosary as a way of drowning out the anger inside her, and the evil outside the house. It was that turning point towards God and away from hate that saved Immaculée.

In addition to finding faith, peace, and hope during those three months of hiding, Immaculée also taught herself English. Immaculée was always a good student and already fluent in Kinyarwanda and French. Using only a Bible and a dictionary, she spent countless hours in that cramped bathroom learning her third language. 

After 91 days, Immaculée was finally liberated from her hiding place only to face a horrific reality. Immaculée emerged from that small bathroom weighing just 65 pounds, and finding her entire family brutally murdered, with the exception of one brother who was studying abroad. She also found nearly one million of her extended family, friends, neighbors and fellow Rwandans massacred.

After the genocide, Immaculée came face-to-face with the man who killed her mother and one of her brothers. After enduring months of physical, mental and spiritual suffering, Immaculée was still able to offer the unthinkable, telling the man, “I forgive you.”

Find her full story here:

Immaculee

 

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The Madness of Mis [1]

In order to order my thoughts on the Goddess in the Machine I have been exploring ideas of the Heroines’ Journey. This is a subject wonderfully covered and researched by Sharon Blackie in her book ‘If Women Rose Rooted’ [September Publishing, 2016]

Grief and anger as a stimulus for transformation

It seems that everyone knows about the wild men in Celtic mythology. The enigmatic Brittonic figure of Lailoken, who almost certainly, somewhere along the line, became conflated with Merlin, leading to the legend of Myrddin Wyllt, the wild man of the woods. Suibhne Geilt, Mad Sweeney from the old Irish tale Buile Shuibhne (‘The Frenzy of Sweeney’): the subject of a fine body of poetry which extends from Yeats to Heaney. It’s a story we seem to have seen before: everybody knows about the men, but somehow, nobody focuses on the women.

So let’s take a look at Mis, the most colourful and original wild woman of Irish mythology. (There are no great poems about Mis, but I’d like to think there will be, some day.) Mis was the daughter of Dáire Dóidgheal, a powerful ruler from Europe who set out to invade Ireland. He landed with a huge army in Ventry, County Kerry, and a fierce battle followed which lasted a year and a day. Dáire was eventually slain by the hero-warrior Fionn mac Cumaill, which ended the battle. Mis came down in the aftermath to look for her father, and found only his dead body, bleeding, on the beach. Mis was overwhelmed by grief, and flung herself across her father’s body, licking and sucking at his bloody wounds to try to heal them, just as an animal might. When this failed to restore him to life, madness overcame her and she rose up into the air like a bird and flew away into the heart of the Sliabh Mis mountains.

Mis lived in the mountains for many years, and grew long trailing fur and feathers to cover her naked skin. She grew great sharp claws with which she attacked and tore to pieces any creature or person she met. She could run like the wind, and no living thing was safe from her. They thought her so dangerous that the people of Kerry created a desert stripped of people and cattle between themselves and the mountains, just for fear of her.

The king in those parts, Feidlimid Mac Crimthainn, offered a reward to anyone who would capture Mis alive. No-one accepted, for fear of Mis, except for a gentle harper by the name of Dubh Ruis. Dubh Ruis enticed Mis out of hiding, and made love to her. He coaxed her into a pool and, over a period of days, washed away the dirt and scrubbed away her feathers and fur. He combed her hair, and fed her, and made a bed for her. And eventually, he brought her back to civilisation, and married her.

This is some of what I wrote about Mis in If Women Rose Rooted:

‘Sometimes, madness seems like the only possible response to the insanity of the civilised world; sometimes, holding ourselves together is not an option, and the only way forwards is to allow ourselves to fall apart. As the story of Mis shows, that madness can represent an extreme form of initiation, a trigger for profound transformation.

… Mis is the original wild woman, that archetypal madwoman who lives deep within each of us. She speaks for us all: for the rage which we cannot express, for the grief which eats our heart out, for the voices we have suppressed out of fear. This old story shows us a brutal descent into darkness during which all illusions are stripped away and old belief systems evaporate, and in doing so it suggests that the extremities of madness or mental breakdown, with their prolonged, out-of-control descent into the unknown, might offer us a path through which we can come to terms with the truth. Like other legendary geilta (the Irish word for madwomen) Mis is driven to extremity in her grief, shape-shifting into bird form, flying away into the hills and woods, growing fur and feathers, eating wild and raw food, leaving the intolerable world behind her. But a geilt cannot emerge from her madness and come back to the world until she has achieved some kind of personal transformation. Through her ordeal – her removal from society and her time spent in the wilderness – she must find a way to reclaim a more authentic sense of identity and belonging. She finds it with the help of a man; she finds it in the union of the masculine and feminine.’

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The Mind-Body Problem

 

Or:

The Male-Female Problem

Musings created for The Goddess in the Machine

‘The mind-body problem is the problem: what is the relationship between mind and body? Or alternatively: what is the relationship between mental properties and physical properties?

Humans have (or seem to have) both physical properties and mental properties. People have (or seem to have)the sort of properties attributed in the physical sciences. These physical properties include size, weight, shape, colour, motion through space and time, etc. But they also have (or seem to have) mental properties, which we do not attribute to typical physical objects These properties involve consciousness (including perceptual experience, emotional experience, and much else), intentionality (including beliefs, desires, and much else), and they are possessed by a subject or a self.

Physical properties are public, in the sense that they are, in principle, equally observable by anyone. Some physical properties—like those of an electron—are not directly observable at all, but they are equally available to all, to the same degree, with scientific equipment and techniques. The same is not true of mental properties. I may be able to tell that you are in pain by your behaviour, but only you can feel it directly. Similarly, you just know how something looks to you, and I can only surmise. Conscious mental events are private to the subject, who has a privileged access to them of a kind no-one has to the physical.

The mind-body problem concerns the relationship between these two sets of properties. The mind-body problem breaks down into a number of components.

  1. The ontological question: what are mental states and what are physical states? Is one class a subclass of the other, so that all mental states are physical, or vice versa? Or are mental states and physical states entirely distinct?
  2. The causal question: do physical states influence mental states? Do mental states influence physical states? If so, how?

Different aspects of the mind-body problem arise for different aspects of the mental, such as consciousness, intentionality, the self.

  1. The problem of consciousness: what is consciousness? How is it related to the brain and the body?
  2. The problem of intentionality: what is intentionality? How is it related to the brain and the body?
  3. The problem of the self: what is the self? How is it related to the brain and the body?

Other aspects of the mind-body problem arise for aspects of the physical. For example:

  1. The problem of embodiment: what is it for the mind to be housed in a body? What is it for a body to belong to a particular subject?

The seemingly intractable nature of these problems have given rise to many different philosophical views.

Materialist views say that, despite appearances to the contrary, mental states are just physical states. Behaviourism, functionalism, mind-brain identity theory and the computational theory of mind are examples of how materialists attempt to explain how this can be so. The most common factor in such theories is the attempt to explicate the nature of mind and consciousness in terms of their ability to directly or indirectly modify behaviour, but there are versions of materialism that try to tie the mental to the physical without explicitly explaining the mental in terms of its behaviour-modifying role. The latter are often grouped together under the label ‘non-reductive physicalism’, though this label is itself rendered elusive because of the controversial nature of the term ‘reduction’.

Idealist views say that physical states are really mental. This is because the physical world is an empirical world and, as such, it is the intersubjective product of our collective experience.

Dualist views (the subject of this entry) say that the mental and the physical are both real and neither can be assimilated to the other. ‘

Or:

The Male-Female Problem

The male-femlae problem is the problem: what is the relationship between male and Female? Or alternatively: what is the relationship between male properties and  female properties?

Humans have (or seem to have) both male properties and female properties. People have (or seem to have)the sort of properties attributed in the physical sciences. These physical properties include size, weight, shape, colour, motion through space and time, etc. But they also have (or seem to have) mental properties, which we do not attribute to typical physical objects These properties involve consciousness (including perceptual experience, emotional experience, and much else), intentionality (including beliefs, desires, and much else), and they are possessed by a subject or a self.

Physical properties are public, in the sense that they are, in principle, equally observable by anyone. Some physical properties—like those of an electron—are not directly observable at all, but they are equally available to all, to the same degree, with scientific equipment and techniques. The same is not true of mental properties. I may be able to tell that you are in pain by your behaviour, but only you can feel it directly. Similarly, you just know how something looks to you, and I can only surmise. Conscious mental events are private to the subject, who has a privileged access to them of a kind no-one has to the physical.

The male-female problem concerns the relationship between these two sets of properties. The male-female problem breaks down into a number of components.

  1. The ontological question: what are male states and what are female states? Is one class a subclass of the other, so that all female states are male, or vice versa? Or are female states and male states entirely distinct?
  2. The causal question: do female states influence male states? Do male states influence female states? If so, how?

Different aspects of the male-female problem arise for different aspects of the mental, such as consciousness, intentionality, the self.

  1. The problem of consciousness: what is consciousness? How is it related to the brain and the body?
  2. The problem of intentionality: what is intentionality? How is it related to the brain and the body?
  3. The problem of the self: what is the self? How is it related to the brain and the body?

Other aspects of the male-female problem arise for aspects of the physical. For example:

  1. The problem of embodiment: what is it for the mind to be housed in a body? What is it for a body to belong to a particular subject?

The seemingly intractable nature of these problems have given rise to many different philosophical views.

Materialist views say that, despite appearances to the contrary, female states are just male states. Behaviourism, functionalism, mind-brain identity theory and the computational theory of mind are examples of how materialists attempt to explain how this can be so. The most common factor in such theories is the attempt to explicate the nature of mind and consciousness in terms of their ability to directly or indirectly modify behaviour, but there are versions of materialism that try to tie the female to the male without explicitly explaining the female in terms of its behavior-modifying role. The latter are often grouped together under the label ‘non-reductive physicalism’, though this label is itself rendered elusive because of the controversial nature of the term ‘reduction’.

Idealist views say that male states are really female. This is because the male world is an empirical world and, as such, it is the intersubjective product of our collective experience.

Dualist views (the subject of this entry) say that the female and the male are both real and neither can be assimilated to the other……

Hello again…….hee hee hee

 

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GCSEs….

Looming as the are for my younger son, I will take a break from here while he is on study leave at home….

See you after hols and results in September.

 

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Inaugural Seminar 8th April 2017

Goddess in the Machine

The SpringheadTrust

Fontmell Magna

Dorset

3-13th April 2017

www.springheadtrust.org.uk

The phrase ‘the ghost in the machine’ and its many levels of meaning has for some time been used in an, often derogatory, fashion by critics of the philosophical concept Dualism; as set out be Descartes et al.

The ghost being the consciousness, or mind, carried in a physical entity: the machine.

Gilbert Ryle coined the term in his 1949 work The Concept of Mind as a criticism of René Descartes. Descartes believed that the human mind is not physical, that it exists independently of the human brain. Ryle contrarily believed that human consciousness is dependent upon the human brain.

The phrase has come to also describe the supposed consciousness in a mechanical device that behaves as if it has a will that is independent of what its human operator wants it to do.

Computer programmers have also appropriated the term to describe programs that run contrary to their expectation.

It is a metaphor, a comparison made figuratively.

Long debated on several levels of meaning; at its core it is a phrase used to describe the soul [ghost] and the machine [body] and infer one’s interference, existence and influence on, and as distinct from, the other.

Hijacking this phrase and all its meandering debate is simply a way to attempt to structure discussions on the inextricable duality of human existence; suggesting that the ghost [Goddess] and the machine [patriarchal societies] are indivisible from the whole whilst constantly acting upon and, interfering with/defining one another.

SHOW

Running from the 3rd to the 12th of April [11am – 5pm – closed Thursday and Monday] an  exhibition of new paintings by the artist Deanne Tremlett curated by Anne Hitchcock.

EVENTS

Workshop; Research for painting; developing thematically within your work

Friday 7th [1-5pm]

Participants will be asked to come along with a piece[s] of their recent work and be ready to discuss their interests and, where relative, narrative with Deanne Tremlett and Anne hitchcock. We shall be discussing why it is crucial to develop as an artist, not just in skill, but in inquiry.

£25 – concessions available on inquiry, to book your place email:

deannetremlett@btinternet.com

Seminar: Goddess in the Machine

Saturday 8th [10am-5pm]

a structured, but loosely,a day consisting of talks and panel discussions around the construct of the new phrase; plus participation, performance and casual conversations engendered by it.

£30 – concessions available on inquiry, to book your place email:

deannetremlett@btinternet.com

With artists, curators, actors, singers and writers:

Deanne Tremlett 

[artist] on – goddess in the machine

Her current body of work; on show in the galleries, motivations and necessities for establishing one’s place in the world and the existence of the male muse

Anne Hitchcock 

[curator of the accompanying show] on -curating women artists

What makes a good exhibition? Why are some exhibitions more memorable than others? There is no doubt that the works shown are important, however in this talk Anne Hitchcock will propose that a successful exhibition is more than a collection of individual works, no matter how good those works may be.  She will suggest that much depends on the underlying curatorial premise – the concept – on which the exhibition is based. Drawing on her own experience of curating exhibitions both at The Slade Centre and elsewhere, she will consider the development of exhibition concepts and the importance of context in the widest sense

Fiona Robinson

[artist, curator, writer] Subverting the feminine – Angela Carter and Visual Art

The exhibition Strange Worlds The Vision of Angela Carter which has just finished a three month run at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol was an opportunity, as curator, to gather together artwork which related to Carter’s writing. The exhibition included work by Ana Maria Pacheco, Paula Rego, Alice Maher, Lisa Wright, Marcelle Hanselaar, Wendy Elia, Eileen Cooper and others.

Carter’s iconoclastic writing with its intensely visual use of language focused on revisioning fairy tale from a feminine point of view.  She explored gender, metamorphosis between animal and human, and deviant behavior, nothing was sacred; there were no taboos.  It included a controversial female take on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. Using contemporary works from the exhibition and contextualizing them historically where appropriate, I will look at how these artworks subvert traditionally accepted attitudes to women, gender, identity and the male gaze and suggest that Angela Carter is still an influential force for contemporary artists..

Francesca Steele

[performance artist] – A Performance Piece

A live and  video artist who is mid PhD with the Visual and Material Culture faculty at Northumbria University. Francesca is currently researching on how processes of trauma impact on art practice and will talk on her work and perform a piece.

Steele’s work features on internet sites such as ‘girls with muscle’ and persists outside the tradition of the white box space; permeating wallpapers, concealed within the doctors surgery, hidden in cheap hotel rooms, living in the gym, held in a reflection and breathing through scar tissue.

Wendy Elia

[artist] on – the female gaze in the 21st century

A brief history of female self portraiture and a dissection of the female gaze.

Judith Jacob

[British Actress, Compere and DJ (Conscious Radio)]

Judith has been on our TV screens for more than 30 years, she recently started performing stand up comedy. As a DJ Judith presents her own show on Conscious Radio 102fm on Thursdays between 1 and 3pm

http://www.thebritishblacklist.com/thebritishblacklist/judith-jacob/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Jacob

http://geestor.co.uk/judith-jacob/

Madi Shrimpton

[singer, songwriter]

Madeleine Shrimpton is a singer, performer, creative facilitator, yoga teacher and sounder healer from London. She studied Drama at Exeter University many moons ago now and has a wealth of experience performing and singing (former co founder of female performance art trio Goodbye Leopold), running creative arts, singing, music and drama workshops with diverse groups of children, women, families and refugees (Blackheath Conservatoire, Artis and Eastside Educational Arts) and more recently she trained to be a Kundalini yoga teacher (Karam Kriya School) and sound healer (with the esteemed Gongmaster Don Conroe). She is passionate about the healing power of sound and incorporates elements of sound medicine in her performing and teaching.

Students

There will also be students from the Visual Art, Photography and Drama departments of the Gryphon School, Sherborne; who will be reacting to, documenting and participating in the event.

NB:

The theme of the event is definitely female but participation will in no way be gender restricted and, indeed, many of the students who have expressed an interest are male.

Artist Talks

Sunday 9th [brunch/lunch]

Brunch/Lunch with the artist, Deanne Tremlett

Other activities

Monday 10th Private Day

Student talks

Wednesday 5th and Tuesday 11th

Invited students from school/college Art Departments will be asked to bring work for critique and enter into critical debate within the space.

*image of Springhead Gardens’ water turbo by Edward Parker

 

 

SEMINAR TIMETABLE SATURDAY 8th APRIL:

 

10am             COFFEE and INTRODUCTIONS

10.30             ANNE HITCHCOCK

11.10             FIONA ROBINSON

11.50             WENDY ELIA

12.45             LUNCH and TOUR

2pm               DEANNE TREMLETT

2.40               FRANCESCA STEELE

3.20               Q&A into PANEL DISCUSSION*

4.20               MADI SHRIMPTON

5pm               CLOUTIE TREE**

6.30 – 9pm   PRIVATE VIEW

*The floor will be opened to questions for any of the participants to put to the panel, should there be an awkward beginning to this process then it is asked that the panel have a question formed in their minds in response to the day to lick start the process

**Cloutie Tree creation and spring head dressing explained and implemented

LUNCH WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM THE CAFÉ, OR BYO please email with any dietary requirements with at least 48 hours notice

 

 

 

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GODDESS IN THE MACHINE

  *

Goddess in the Machine

The Spinghead Trust

Fontmell Magna

Dorset

3-13th April 2017

www.springheadtrust.org.uk

The phrase ‘the ghost in the machine’ and its many levels of meaning has for some time been used in an, often derogatory, fashion by critics of the philosophical concept Dualism; as set out be Descartes et al.

The ghost being the consciousness, or mind, carried in a physical entity: the machine.

Gilbert Ryle coined the term in his 1949 work The Concept of Mind as a criticism of René Descartes. Descartes believed that the human mind is not physical, that it exists independently of the human brain. Ryle contrarily believed that human consciousness is dependent upon the human brain.

The phrase has come to also describe the supposed consciousness in a mechanical device that behaves as if it has a will that is independent of what its human operator wants it to do.

Computer programmers have also appropriated the term to describe programs that run contrary to their expectation.

It is a metaphor, a comparison made figuratively.

Long debated on several levels of meaning; at its core it is a phrase used to describe the soul [ghost] and the machine [body] and infer one’s interference, existence and influence on, and as distinct from, the other.

Hijacking this phrase and all its meandering debate is simply a way to attempt to structure discussions on the inextricable duality of human existence; suggesting that the ghost [Goddess] and the machine [patriarchal societies] are indivisible from the whole whilst constantly acting upon and, interfering with/defining one another.

SHOW

Running from the 3rd to the 12th of April [11am – 5pm – closed Thursday and Monday] an  exhibition of new paintings by the artist Deanne Tremlett curated by Anne Hitchcock.

EVENTS

Workshop;  Research for painting; developing thematically within your work

Friday 7th [1-5pm]

Participants will be asked to come along with a piece[s] of their recent work and be ready to discuss their interests and, where relative, narrative with Deanne Tremlett and Anne hitchcock. We shall be discussing why it is crucial to develop as an artist, not just in skill, but in inquiry.

£25 – concessions available on inquiry, to book your place use the contact form below

Seminar: Goddess in the Machine

Saturday 8th  [10am-5pm]

a structured, but loosely,a day consisting of talks and panel discussions around the construct of the new phrase; plus participation, performance and casual conversations engendered by it.

£30 – concessions available on inquiry, to book your place use the contact form below

With artists, curators, actors, singers and writers:

Deanne Tremlett 

[artist] on – goddess in the machine

Her current body of work; on show in the galleries, motivations and necessities for establishing one’s place in the world and the existence of the male muse

 Anne Hitchcock 

[curator of the accompanying show] on -curating women artists

What makes a good exhibition? Why are some exhibitions more memorable than others? There is no doubt that the works shown are important, however in this talk Anne Hitchcock will propose that a successful exhibition is more than a collection of individual works, no matter how good those works may be.  She will suggest that much depends on the underlying curatorial premise – the concept – on which the exhibition is based. Drawing on her own experience of curating exhibitions both at The Slade Centre and elsewhere, she will consider the development of exhibition concepts and the importance of context in the widest sense

Fiona Robinson

[artist, curator, writer] Subverting the feminine – Angela Carter and Visual Art

The exhibition Strange Worlds The Vision of Angela Carter which has just finished a three month run at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol was an opportunity, as curator, to gather together artwork which related to Carter’s writing. The exhibition included work by Ana Maria Pacheco, Paula Rego, Alice Maher, Lisa Wright, Marcelle Hanselaar, Wendy Elia, Eileen Cooper and others.  

Carter’s iconoclastic writing with its intensely visual use of language focused on revisioning fairy tale from a feminine point of view.  She explored gender, metamorphosis between animal and human, and deviant behavior, nothing was sacred; there were no taboos.  It included a controversial female take on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. Using contemporary works from the exhibition and contextualizing them historically where appropriate, I will look at how these artworks subvert traditionally accepted attitudes to women, gender, identity and the male gaze and suggest that Angela Carter is still an influential force for contemporary artists.. 

 Francesca Steele

[performance artist] – A Performance Piece

A live and  video artist who is mid PhD with the Visual and Material Culture faculty at Northumbria University. Francesca is currently researching on how processes of trauma impact on art practice and will talk on her work and perform a piece.

Steele’s work features on internet sites such as ‘girls with muscle’ and persists outside the tradition of the white box space; permeating wallpapers, concealed within the doctors surgery, hidden in cheap hotel rooms, living in the gym, held in a reflection and breathing through scar tissue.

Wendy Elia

[artist] on – the female gaze in the 21st century

A brief history of female self portraiture and a dissection of the female gaze.

Judith Jacob

[British Actress, Compaire and DJ (Conscious Radio)]

Judith has been on our TV screens for more than 30 years, she recently started performing stand up comedy. As a DJ Judith presents her own show on Concious Radio 102fm on Thursdays between 1 and 3pm

http://www.thebritishblacklist.com/thebritishblacklist/judith-jacob/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Jacob

http://geestor.co.uk/judith-jacob/

Madi Shrimpton

[singer, songwriter]

Madeleine Shrimpton is a singer, performer, creative facilitator, yoga teacher and sounder healer from London. She studied Drama at Exeter University many moons ago now and has a wealth of experience performing and singing (former co founder of female performance art trio Goodbye Leopold), running creative arts, singing, music and drama workshops with diverse groups of children, women, families and refugees (Blackheath Conservatoire, Artis and Eastside Educational Arts) and more recently she trained to be a Kundalini yoga teacher (Karam Kriya School) and sound healer (with the esteemed Gongmaster Don Conroe). She is passionate about the healing power of sound and incorporates elements of sound medicine in her performing and teaching.

Students

There will also be students from the Visual Art, Photography and Drama departments of the Gryphon School, Sherborne; who will be reacting to, documenting and participating in the event.

 NB:

The theme of the event is definitely female but participation will in no way be gender restricted and, indeed, many of the students who have expressed an interest are male.

 Artist Talks

Sunday 9th [brunch/lunch] 

Brunch/Lunch with the artist, Deanne Tremlett

Other activities

Monday 10th  Private Day

Student talks

Wednesday 5th and Tuesday 11th

Invited students from school/college Art Departments will be invited to bring work for critique and enter into critical debate within the space.

*image of Springhead Gardens’ water turbo by Edward Parker

BOOKINGS AND INQUIRIES:

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Magpieman

magpieman

Resolving your issues in paint can often be a long process. Knowing when you have hit your nail on its head is one of the most satisfying feelings known to Deanne.

Finally…. I give you…..

Magpieman

Make of him what you will

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Dad

dad

Dad left us on the 22nd of December.

But he will always still be here.

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Women Beware Women; finished and detail

Women Beware Women

Women Beware Women

WBW detail

WBW detail

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Women Beware Women

Women Beware Women - work in origress

Women Beware Women – work in progress

Writing in the Daily Telegraph last year, Hannah Betts, unwittingly helped me with my research into a phenomena I had witnessed firsthand in my social circle, something that is anathema to me as a woman who has outgrown the playground; namely ‘divide and ostracise’ and a subject first visited by me in paint 15 years ago in The Three Muses, now in a private collection in London:

Three Women

The Three Muses

The events leading to and fallout from the spectacle were felt rippling through the entire village, to a lesser or greater extent, for years and things have never, and may never, be the same a gain.

Women Beware Women is a Jacobean Tragedy by Thomas Middleton that deals with several episodes/facets of ‘female transgression’ and has not one likeable girl in it. To be fair the men are all pretty bottom dwelling too, however, the play is notable for its scathing description of female motives and reasoning. Admittedly a period piece, where the concerns of the protagonists bare not a lot of resemblance to first world 21st Century issues, the idea represented here of woman colluding with man to bring down her fellow female is seen to be both laudable and villainous at the same time. However the girl on girl crime is the real crux of the story, the men manipulated by the women to enact retribution upon their sisters.

Hannah Betts wrote under the headline:

Women are being bitchier than ever – where’s the sisterhood gone?

Women have always judged each other – usually in private. But overt bitchiness seems to be on the rise as everything from weight to wardrobes is harshly judged. Are we all Mean Girls now?

……the Daily Mail website’s notorious right-hand column, aka the “sidebar of shame”, a diet of celebrity sex scandals, fashion faux pas, reality television and incredible weight-loss stories, with judgment of women’s bodies and behaviour the underlying theme. One of the kindest people I know, a mother of teenagers and friend to all, describes it as her “dark addiction”.

“I ‘right-hand’ constantly, day and night,” she says. “No matter what is going on in my own life, there is always solace to be had in fashion fails and bikini bodies. It’s a compulsion.” Many who openly despise the body baring of Page 3 are covertly devoted to the bodily critiques of Mail Online.

This compulsion – as with the compulsion then to let rip – originates with childhood, according to Dr Frankish. “Something happens that triggers a relatively infantile response, belonging to the pre-socialisation stage of development. Not all women attack others, so the implication is that those who do are insecure in their attachments and are triggered by what they see as someone being better than them, or getting more attention than them.” We justify ourselves with the delusion that it is a victimless crime, the subject as virtual as the medium.

For my part, I see the escalation of bitchiness as a symptom of the overall rise in and currency of misogyny. Not only do people – women included – get lured into replicating its manifestations, feminism has become a live issue again, and with this liveness comes a backlash and sense that it can be used to foster divisiveness. There have even been reports about a Reddit group that may be striving to seed infighting among feminists, encouraging them into ever more “extreme” stances.

The effects of this girl-on-girl sabotage can be still more concrete, affecting women’s relationships in the workplace and their polarisation into mother and non-mother camps, each virulently opposed. They divide us into ugly versus pretty, fat versus thin, small-breasted versus large, fashionable versus unfashionable – all enforcing the stereotype that a woman must be pretty, slim, buxom and stylish rather than, say, bright, healthy, happy and fulfilled.

One must not be naïve, of course, we are never all going to get along merely by merit of possessing two X chromosomes and a vagina. Equality means equal opportunities to like and dislike rather than exist in some Pollyanna universe. But neither should we turn against each other because of possession of said attributes. Not least because in sisterhood lies strength.’ [source; The Daily Telegraph 21 February 2015]

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There, but for the Grace of God

img_0253-2

Grace of God (work in progress)

 

– with Zombabie (work in progress) and Peggy Suicide

today in the studio.

img_0251-2

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Hysterical

Zombabie;

#workinprocess

#inthestudio

#singlemindedfemale

#obsession

#needyneed

#arestalkerspretty

#possession

#femalehysteria

#flesheater

#blowjoblips

img_0249-2

img_0248-2

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Peggy Suicide

Well, I think that it is evidently a good thing that I am not primarily a writer, given the fact that I constantly forget to write this blog. The reason being, mainly, that I am caught up with painting as much as physically possible. Secondly I am a single other of two teenage sons who need constant feeding and taxiing around and thirdly because painting is a physically exhausting place to be.

It is a place you know.

When you get there there are no clocks, food, drink or lavvies. Time passes out of time. people no longer matter. Thinking processes cease to be conscious and the subconscious comes to the fore. Conversations take place, but only with the paint and the subject upon topics I can never recall.

Interrupted as I was just now, by a visit from my mother I jumped in shock and swore at her. Once she had left with a flea in her ear I returned to the painting to find marks I could not remember making, colours I had no idea I had mixed and changes I had not decided upon.

I also found that the painting was finished. So thanks mum. Sorry about the flea.

So here she is.

Peggy Suicide

Peggy Suicide

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Hello boys…

IMG_1962

….it’s been a while. I started the concept of these guys a few years ago but  other themes and imperatives cropped up. Things have a habit of emerging again, truer and stronger, though and on the back of my six female archetypes it was just the time to return and attempt a resolution here also. So here goes, one day in and fairly pleased. I will go at it and see what occurs…

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Mmmmmmm WARNING!

As I have been a little poorly I have not had a helluva lot to say. However, on returning to the studio this morning I discover why one should never let your 16 year old son ‘borrow’ your studio in your absence…

IMG_0152 (2)IMG_0153

Although he can be forgiven for this…IMG_0154

 

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Feeling laconic

‘for Sparta….’

image

Work in progress.

Nuf’ said.

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Burning the Bacon

Half term and the studio have kept me absent from the keyboard too long and it is proving difficult to order my thoughts into something worth writing.

Time necessarily divided between the paint-face and nagging teenagers to revise is completely different from that spent with hours ahead in which to mull, apply, remove and scratch,; but strangely, wonderfully so.

It has provided me with a new perspective, probably (and possibly – for environmental reasons which may become clear) fleeting.

Painting with imperative is good.

I like it, it produces a more visceral image and marks are necessarily kept when they might otherwise be reconsidered and even obliterated.

Painting with reflection is also good.

I also like it, it produces an altogether more measured image. Subject matter that, as ever with me, lacks subtlety is rendered more viewable. The anger often present can be supplanted, somehow, in the beauty of the paint.

Not to say that instinctive marks are not beautiful, I frequently excavate my surfaces to reveal their trace, but on their own are they enough?

I am minded, again, of Bacon and his endless search for truth with his marks. He describes his deep loathing of illustrative marks. Any painting he felt he had spent too long upon, so that his workings had strayed into decoration, he would put on the fire.

He describes the need to have work removed from his sight so that he may not touch them further and begin to ruin what he saw as all that was necessary. Like countless writers and composers before and since, paring down work to only the essential words and notes.

Should all mark making only be indicative therefore? Illustrative painting forgot?

At what point does a mark move from indicative to illustrative? If, by our reckoning, an indicative mark does not hit the ‘nail on the head’ does an overlaid, secondary mark, then become illustrative?

Is the luxury of consideration bad for our work? Should I buy an alarm clock and strictLy limit time spent at the face? Artificially imposing the time constraint that has created this dichotomy?

How many paintings did Bacon burn?

Yours, currently planning a bonfire,

Deanne

 

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Cliff Notes

What attracts most about Deanne’s work are the layers of engagement and response it demands of the viewer. I am drawn into the physical nature of the paint while encountering stories of vulnerability, playfulness, absurdity and the deeply serious impact that relationships have on our mind and body

This often comes across as an intense tension, bearing witness to a moment in time, a narrative, a play. Yet the psychological drama that is unfolding has been caught or frozen, not so that it loses the context of what happened before (or will afterwards), but maybe as with a polaroid, in that it processes, changes and reveals before your eyes.

When I look at Dawn Peebody it typifies my whole viewing experience. Drawn in, seduced by paint and flesh, discomforted, protective (of) and unnerved (by) vulnerability – what has happened, with whom and why?

It is always interesting to observe the structures artists use in constructing their stories in paint. Deanne, in setting her stage (as Francis Bacon did with plinths, cages and furniture), frequently separates foreground and background and by doing so emphasises further the sense of seeing the figures in an unfolding scene or drama. This has an effect, as with the analogy of a polaroid picture developing in front of you, that can be almost filmic; you are waiting with trepidation to see what might emerge next.

Deanne’s use of paint compounds this effect. Often she uses milky translucent washes, as in Dawn Peebody, that make the figure look as if it is emerging from freshly developed film, and yet could just as easily fade away if over exposed.

At other times the canvas is stencilled, embossed, paint and lines tattooed. It forms, as in Jane Doe, a background for startling light and dark contrasts. The body almost becomes functional, sometimes displaying an enveloping controlling maleness, or a female vulnerability that confronts aspects of itself and others.

Overall I love these paintings, the bewitching, sublime and complex responses they evoke. Like a satisfying debate, they start by tempting and luring me in with paint and light, consolidate by playing out the theatrical psychological drama, and then finish with the need to return the gaze.

Visceral, physical and perfectly disturbing.

Written by Cliff Free in response to a studio visit, January 2016

image Dawn Peebody

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Zombabie

There is lots written about naming a painting.

For me the painting appears in my consciousness, pretty much already done, bar the screaming. A complete idea, already in the room.

The title, less so, slowly follows. It swims into focus and is essential, to my mind, to my intent. Some works take years to name themselves.

Almost as if my subconscious is pointing out a lesson I have yet to learn.

Titles can be misinterpreted, obviously, as can the works themselves. However original intent is notoriously difficult to have stick. Look at communism.

So, what is in a name?

Something particular to original intent.

Even when just a number; it imbues the work with something of the author.

History tells us that some of our most famous masterpieces are not now known by their original, intended, name. Has this meant that we have subsequently read them wrong? Not individually, never personally, but culturally and pandemicaly?

Well, here is Zombabie. First sketch. Plus a very amusing link I stumbled across when musing on this post. Please rename as you see fit, happy to consider alternatives….not!

image

http://noemata.net/pa/titlegen/

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Two Maria Lassnig quotes

“Sight, Lassnig insists -or at least her way of seeing- comes from within and embraces what is outside. As a result, whether she is painting or working on paper, she is recording not only what she sees -physically no less than mentally- as she sees what she sees. Rather than a gut-wrenching expressionism, Lassnig’s is an expressionism of the gut. (…) Lassnig’s work on paper is something you don’t simply look at, but look into -or perhaps feel into. At once agitated and calm, animated yet centered, singular yet reiterative, elaborate yet forthright, these works not only accept inner and outer worlds equally but manifest them as a continuity. What you see is what you feel and vice versa.”

(taken from ‘Body Awareness -Maria Lassnig’s works on paper’, Peter Frank in art on paper, nov-dec 2009)

“When I was young, I was clever enough to know that if I got married or had children, I would be eaten.”

Lord love her

 

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Shagalicious

This carpet is really messing with me.

My eyes are non-stop refocusing; like a cheap digital camera that knows not where to look.

The image is still emerging from the oddly comfy realms of my subconscious. Honestly, it’s a laugh a minute in there.

Still, at least I can keep myself amused.

image

 

 

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Getting pushed around

So, Bacon, thanks for that.

I have now realised that it is actually the paint that pushes me around.

So much so that I was exhausted by the whole experience, and [to be honest] with the planning for and stressing about my birthday party on Saturday, and could find no way to express it last night.

On the back of the quote I posted the day before, I decided to try to look at my own method and process in the studio more closely. I suspect a more scientific, and probably the next most logical, thing to do would be to rig up the camera and do some kind of time-lapse film; as a lot of it I can’t recall.

I did, though, try to make a regular check in with my consciousness and found myself all over the place, working on six or seven pieces without any, obvious, pre-consideration.

It had not occurred to me that this is how I work before. I knew I had several ‘on the go at one time’, but it seems to be something to do with the nature of the paint that moves me from work to work.

So, in the complete opposite of what Bacon said yesterday, I am literally being pushed around by the paint.

So I mean it. Thanks.

Herewith some images of the works I touched yesterday:

 

 

 

 

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A gift

I must thank you, Cliff, for my birthday gift.

I think.

David Sylvester’s conversations with Francis Bacon (Thames and Hudson).

I had only read them in part before but today has been both blighted and lighted by them.I have not painted at all. I have read and re-read. His process makes me tingle.

I do not think anyone has ever more eloquently captured, in such an accessible manner, the truth of it (that is).

I offer you this:

“I don’t really know how these particular forms come about. I’m not by that suggesting that I am inspired or gifted. I just don’t know. I look at them – I look at them, probably , from an aesthetic point of view. I know what I want to do, but I don’t know how to do it.. And I look at them like a stranger, not knowing how these things have come about and why have these marks that have happened on the canvas evolved into these particular forms. And then, of course, I remember what I wanted to do and I do, of course, try then and push these irrational forms into what I wanted to do.”

WTF? I so wish he weren’t dead.

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blogoff

Jan 4 2016

Yesterday was my birthday. I spent most of it in a fizz fuzz.

Despite this I was very fired up about beginning this blog today and this morning, while I was in the bath, ran through all of the things that I would write.

I was going to try to express in words why I need to paint. What it means, where it comes from and my hopes for what happens when I send it out into the world.

As the day has gone on, though, I have experienced a slow slide towards misunderstanding.

What seemed so clear to me as I washed my hair now sounds trite and silly. Tiredness due to yesterday’s overindulgence has robbed me of my insight.

I am glad, however, that I did not jump from the tub and warble on there and then but instead waited until this evening. It means that there will be a somewhat inauspicious beginning to my efforts.

Which is exactly as it should be, given the circumstances..

Work in progress...meet the girls

Work in progress…meet the girls

image