Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Celebrating small but significant marks in a busy world.

Thanking us for the messages of congrats.
Fluzy on the floor


SMALL MARKS IN A BUSY WORLD.

Art Groups have so many reasons for being. Being a teacher in one has made me grow and live many experiences through the eyes of the people that walk through my doors and share the studio space.

Debi Frizelle is one such lady, and I feel a good example of noticing the little marks present in our daily lives. One day I was fetching my daughter from Acrobats when the teacher, Debi Frizelle , herself called me in to see something... there on the floor of the studio was "Fluzy" an impression that reminded her of her beloved dog. That day she added pencil to this impression on the cement floor. Now that is fusing art with life indeed.

Talented supreme, Debi has gone on to win many golden awards for her calligraphy year after year at the annual Royal show and indeed, she came fourth in a recent drawing competition out of 80 entries at the Artisan Gallery.
Debi's father inspired me to paint him as the legend ( find the painting under Faces, Fields, Forests and Fantasy). He is a perfect example of an artisan, someone who is able to produce fine work from whatever his hands touch, be it making the easels from my studio, dabbling with paint in his youth and fixing up vintage cars, nothing was too impossible. On one of our visits, my son and his friend were so inspired by this man s spirit that they came home to bang together a wooden table for my studio.
Deb's mother was equally talented in producing magnificent carvings out of wood, tables, clocks, headboards and such. And of course we were blessed and touched when Shirley or what I called her " Serenity", produced a fine embroidered bag for my little girl. Their home in Glenwood is a pleasure to seek out for it's heavy laden in history and love of family. This family will always be remembered by me, folk come across your path, and one knows one will not forget.
The folks behind some art-embroidery

Debi carries the blessing of her parents generation in her loyalty and faithfulness towards her family, and to her acrobat girls that grace her studio. Her delicate gifts of flowers and orchards to me over the years remind me of the soft way in which she paints. Brush marks are not her thing for her love for perfection and stroking of surfaces with colours that vibrate in quiet luminosity gives her great pleasure to see.

As we embark on yet another Acrobat championship this year, we wish you all the blessings of unity and glory that that brings and in this month of September we wish you a wonderful birthday month, we celebrate you...

A tender moment of holding hands.
One of Debi's paintings of a loved Acrobat .


Sunday, September 14, 2014

THE ART OF CONVERSATION IN COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITION

13 September 2014,walkabout at Kznsa

UNDERSTORY@ THE KZNSA GALLERY

What a pleasure it was to do the  walkabout of Lara Mellon and Joan Martin's work yesterday.The audience and I conversed with the work and with the artists.

Collaboration has taken place throughout the history of art. It happened between the old masters and their apprentices, it happened with the impressionists, both opening up opportunities for conversations but also as a means of standing “not alone”. 
The latter is certainly true of this exhibition where the respected relationship between Lara and Joan allowed for their to be a feeling of support and input. 

Joan's work, skilfully drawn, pushing line to dance in every which way, elements of shape clearly defined, together with Lara ,whose boundaries become blurred, the  “mush mash “(as Lara describes) of a reality blurring its borders into another world both take us , the audience to other  head spaces. Both women physically  work and scrub their surfaces before the art work can be born. Both construct and deconstruct until the feeling within them is at peace and the work is laid to rest on the gallery wall. Both two different people come together in this exhibition, both women meet on this stage of their life and CONVERSE! CO INSPECT ,  CONNECT! (CO-LABOUR)ATE and COMMUNICATE to us in their COMMUNITY.

Joan came across some beautiful words written to her by Lara over a year ago and I now share this...In expressing the obvious NEED for each others input, Lara used words such as “INTEGRATED”, that “ the work needed to depict not only a conversation but something of each other in the work...each others strengths pushing and pulling  on the others” 

The term to collaborate has and should be increasingly popular in the 20th century society we live in today. Many note how the pace of life has picked up from the slow trot of a horse to the speed of a car on highways flashing 120km as the speed limit. And still that is not fast enough.
Despite the technological age we live in, where mails of conversation go back and forth like the ebb and flow of the tide that licks our very shores, there is still a sense of 
“fomo” - fear of missing out, bewilderment  and isolation.

On asking Joan about some of the benefits of collaborating , Joan responded that it not only made them as artists “more productive but often led to a refinement  of ideas through discussion. The support when feeling unsure about the work, disenchanted with an artists life was invaluable”.

The postcard series evident in this exhibition is worth spending some time on.
More than the exchange on paper was what goes behind the scene, backstage and that is this.... the act of transferring the card across to the other brings about a physical connection  that the computer cannot offer for in that very moment of anything from 5 to 15 minutes , there is a reading of body language, warmth of touch, gift of giving, an affirmation in words such as “ this is wonderful, thank you, I am grateful”. 

The physical exchange in the postcard offers each other ...a gift of time . Time given to themselves and to each other to value the moment of meeting enough to get off the highway and stop to respond to the other person. 

Gary Chapman, professional counsellor and relationship expert speaks about  the five love languages of “words of affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch” These simple categories I believe have gone into the success of this collaboration. The postcard series alone incorporate these characteristics and furthermore the audience can feel it. In the artists vulnerability to share such thoughts, a tenderness is fragranced to us like incense and we are able to identify with significant and meaningful thoughts, findings and at times give words to our very own emotions swimming in our minds landscapes.

LOVE is not the answer to everything but it does create a climate of security in which we can seek out answers , ask questions, construct, throw out , rub out and redo. The rewards of this love and trust is that the best of each other will be brought out. Incidentally, talking on the topic of love, behind the scenes two men work hard each time these two women exhibit. Fred and Patrick , Joan and Lara s husbands respectively take up their hammer, drill bits and precise engineering skills to hang the exhibition for them...the co-(labour)ation goes beyond just the artists  and I am sure they are well appreciated ! 

The conversation that transpires out of this collaborative exhibition...the one that both artists are well aware of....is with the audience. 
The conversation between Joan and Lara extends to us the viewer for as much as they were seeking and discovering the secrets in the undergrowth of the forests, so do you and I discover little gems... we find Sam beckoning us to look deeper as he lazily gazes out at us and in another image he looks away and our eyes follow his gaze to discover other symbols and elements of the exhibition. Andile Andries Ndlovu  had wonderful observations to share about Joan's trees, fascinated by the actual production of the work, the many hidden symbols found within it, he engaged Joan in discussion. 

We find the Vasco da Gama monument  entitled“ Monument” with historical significance constructed of paper, fragile looking. Unbeknown to Joan at the time ,this  monument was abandoned. Joan was working on this when I received a email from the portuguese consulate asking people to sign a petition in order to preserve and restore this monument. Just this week Joan connected with the consulate. And here it is bringing about public awareness.

We find butterflies in Lara’s “ Dreams Up ahead”,  symbolic of freedom, transformation trapped beautifully in resin . Reading deeper I am reminded that Lara founded the non profit organisation everyone counts which raised money for various charity organisations  to assist in abandoned babies and more recently the “Speak Art Against Human Trafficking”. 

Both Lara and Joan collaborated on this massive time consuming project for the betterment of society. It is therefore apt that the very gallery that housed the latest everyone counts exhibition , now displays these two incredibly able, community orientated artists.

Let us now meander for a moment and discover “things”.... In the walkabout yesterday I asked the artists questions, some  folk ( thanks Rayne Dancaster and Daryl houghton ) read out from the postcard series and so began  I encourage  a living extension of these artists conversations..  enjoy and relax in the moment now and take a look at these artists websites.



Finally the art of conversation becomes a melting pot of good food for those who see and experience it, for not only are we exposed to a world of escape, different reflections and encouraged to participate but we then add to the response and by sharing about it to others the circle opens up. Being authentic in conversation and in art making leads to a successful result , with more people identifying with the work. This is what makes this exhibition successful and what makes us sit in community. 

Poignantly the words under the exhibit in the mezzanine summed up the feeling in this exhibition, I share this with you now....have a blessed week.

"...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.For the things that are unseen are transient and are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18