I have been working hard on my new piece everydaymatters.

Within an ordinary space are hidden the building blocks of the structure of the universe – intangible and unseen. I am exploring the similarities in our search for a spiritual encounter and the urge to understand the origins of our universe.

1502 Everydaymatters 6

The RCA Second Year MA interim show at Café Gallery Projects in Southwark Park was a chance to test out ideas to take forward for the upcoming final show.

It was also a chance to be in the park in early morning sunshine with the first hints of spring in the air and the sounds of waterfowl and birdsong.

1502 Everydaymatters 1

This bird is a bronze ornament seen in the antique shop at the corner of Paradise Walk in Chelsea, a bit of imported tropicalia. I used images taken around the various paradise locations I visit that I felt had some connection to an idea of paradise; exotic birds, palm trees, sunshine, plants, spiritual reflections.

It had been a marathon of screen printing to get my work ready in time for Café Gallery; 6 mirrored circles to print with 11 layers on each one.

1502 Everydaymatters 2

With no straight edges to register to and often printing black on black it felt impossible at times to line it all up. The mirrored surfaces are very vulnerable so I  became rather precious about the whole thing.

1502 Everydaymatters 5

The fear that the structures I had ready to hold the circles may just lean to one side or even topple over once the mirror was attached added to the stress and my heart was thumping when I finally slotted the circles over the steel upright. It was an exhausting experience and a huge relief to find they stood straight. (like sentinels – thanks Zoe)

1502 Everydaymatters 3

Placing the bowls with the disperse images at the base of the stands was a last minute decision but it suddenly seemed that they belonged there to complete the work. One image of the everyday scattered into matter, dark and otherwise, and one paradisiacal image hovering illusively, both are about looking for something, an aura, an understanding of origins.

1502 Everydaymatters 4

In my crit there were comments about the small punctum of colour being an entry point to the work, a little view of the world or another world. Of being drawn into the image, looking through the surface and finding yourself absorbed into the work. The slightly runic quality of the placement looking religious or ritualistic but also having a cinematic quality. Exploded moments of arrested movement. The idea of trying to solidify a glimmer of a partial thought.

1502 Everydaymatters 8

The Sarah Sze exhibition at Victoria Miro fully repaid the effort required to traipse over there in a bitter wind. The first gallery downstairs was all grids and space, a bit like Tron, creating mazes of perspective as line and depth moved as you circumnavigated.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

So much detail, held together by dashes of  repeating colour. The long studio where Siobhan Davies dancers used to limber up was strewn with lichen crusted boulders in vibrant shades.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Some real, some not. Finally the grand arena upstairs laid out a response to all matter and all questions.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

The Times newspaper, the everyday, a record of time passing with every image scalpeled out, leaving a high definition replacement showing the real news; the elements, the forces of nature. Ice, fire, earth all spotlit in the grand experiment of life.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Stripped back to basics, revealing the true beauty and complexity of the universe. Everyone who saw the show was awed and everyone felt it spoke to them and their practice.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Back at school there was a general consensus that Sarah Sze has cracked it, should we even bother to continue our pursuits.

The French writer Xavier de Maistre suggested back in 1790 in his essay ‘Journey Around My Bedroom’ that is was possible to enjoy the thrill of discovery without having to embark on a long voyage, travel to foreign parts or even leave the confines of your own room. To look with tourists eyes upon the familiar would reveal hitherto unnoticed phenomena offering an equally rich experience.

I have recently been playing the tourist on my visits to Paradise Row in Bethnal Green and Paradise Passage which runs alongside Paradise Park in Holloway.

1502 Paradise Row 2

Delighted to discover an appropriate spiritual behest above a more direct pursuit of happiness in one frame

1502 Paradise Row 3

and a personal reminder of old bosses from chefing days – Balls Brothers legacy

1502 Paradise Row 1

Paradise Passage is worth a visit at dusk

1502 Paradise Passage2

for the ethereal light of the sports pitches

1502 Paradise Passage 3

turning Holloway into holiday destination

1502 Paradise Passage 1

Any exhibition involving Esther Teichmann is going to be a sensual experience. We Come From the Water at Jonathan Miles new project space/gallery Lychee 1 submerses you in its dialogues like the water it speaks of in terms of a weight, an origin.

Esther Teichmann

Esther Teichmann

It was wonderful to encounter Chantal Faust’s work for the first time, her Plantlife series is stunning.

Chantal Faust

Chantal Faust

Carol Mavor weaves language and image to create weighted slippery moments.

Had the pleasure of attending Mark Ferelli’s Magic Lantern Show : Devil Daddy

1502 Ferelliweb

A ritual flame is brought to light the oil burner of a nineteenth century magic lantern.  A twist of fume travels out the painted tin chimney as a slow disc of warm, broad light illuminates on screen.  Within its orbit develops the image of a ruined chapel, alone, deep in the hills of a cruel heath-land landscape stricken by winter.

Weaving original film stills, contemporary location shots, bird song and spoken word, Ferelli re-imagines both time and setting of the ‘lost’ british folk horror film classic ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ (g.b.1970) evoking, prompting, the ethereal return of the film’s central character, ‘Angel Blake’, seductress, priestess and idiot savant to the monstrous, blood-thirsty hunger of an old pagan god. The ritual operation of lantern image, sound and spoken text navigate uneasy layers of simultaneity, born of the past film location and ever present film story, a performance crossing this uncanny landscape.

This event was prefaced by a selection of Edison’s Black Maria films and an excerpt from Hans Jurgen Syberberg’s 1977 seven and a half hour epic, Hitler: A Film From Germany.

Hans Jürgen Syberberg Hitler - A film from Germany

Hans Jürgen Syberberg Hitler – A film from Germany

I may never get beyond the opening credits of this surreal film but was captivated by the romantic backdrop and the voiceover which sets the premise on which the film evolves as an investigation into evil and guilt stating that if man is offered any amount of material wealth or the paradise of the imagination he will always choose paradise even when he knows it is false.

Our relationship to nature is close to the heart of one of my classmates, Gloria Ceballos who has just had an impressive solo show – Nature: a cultural artefact open at the Instituto Cervantes. Her work explores our experiences of nature in an urban environment focusing on the idea of three natures. 

Gloria Ceballos The Three Natures

Gloria Ceballos The Three Natures

I was recently asked by a male visitor at an exhibition if spiritual concerns were predominantly a female pursuit.

For Ana Mendieta in the 1970’s when a lot of land art was being made by artists such as Robert Smithson she felt her works were more spiritual and in tune with nature as opposed to the brutality of the industrial spirit. She left little trace in the landscape unlike her male contemporaries who were interested in the earth as material. She was interested in the earth’s sensual qualities, exploring the primary relationship of humanity with the earth as mother.  Through tapping into the ancient spirits of a primordial age and using the same elements of earth, fire and blood in her art as her ancestors used in their rituals she hoped to infuse her work with power and magic. She was often aligned with feminist and goddess groups but held firm that her work should not be tethered to gender issues, it was more universal.

Exploring the complexity of the female perspective today Disturbance was an exhibition culminating on International Women’s Day featuring Hermione Allsop, Alexandra Drawbridge, AnnaMaria Kardos, Paula MacArthur, Kate Murdoch, Mitra Saboury, Wendy Saunders, Susan Sluglett and Geraldine Swayne at Atom Gallery in Finsbury Park.

Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch’s silent gathering bears witness to those unheard voices from the past when a girl was not expected to speak out.

My time at the RCA will soon be over. It’s been an incredible experience that I never imagined I would participate in.

After spending last summer wholly immersed in writing my dissertation I have had the honour of receiving a distinction. It wasn’t an easy birth so it’s really rewarding to find my energies were worthwhile and I ended up with something I can be proud of that will be archived at the Royal College of Art.

1502 Cover dissertation

The visions of paradise that we conjure in our imaginations will be influenced by our culture, personal aspirations and spiritual beliefs but however paradise manifests itself in our consciousness it will symbolize the promise of bliss.

Formed from joining the ancient Iranian words pairi, ‘around’ and daêza, ‘wall’, paradise was first used to describe a walled enclosure. Over time its meaning expanded to include the landscaped parks local nobles created to hunt animals trapped within their walls. These royal parks were lavishly planted with beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers and so paradise came to refer to any delightful garden. Ultimately used as epithet for the Garden of Eden, imagined as the most exquisite garden of them all,  its meaning became ever more sacred, taking on the very idea of Heaven itself.

Also I have met some personal challenges so am feeling good about that too.

One of the reasons I initially hesitated over applying to the RCA was the knowledge that as part of the MA I would be sent on a teaching placement. This terrifying possibility is now in the past. I went to Manchester School of Art and was made very welcome.

1502 circle of influences

My fears were unfounded and I was able to give a talk and tutorials which although an intense and exhausting experience was not the horrific one I imagined it would be. So I feel ready now to set a new challenge.

Advertisements