Monday, October 24, 2011

What am I trying to say?


Artists speak through their art as do poets, writers and musicians through their chosen medium. So with my art what am I trying to say?
For a long time my answer was, "I really don't know." I just know there are certain things I need to express through paintings and sculpture. But then do I know this? I'm not sure. It is relatively easy to portray what I think people want to see; a woodland scene, a placid sea, a glorious sunrise/sunset, or a gentle portrait. Pretty pictures that might look good on the wall.
But what of the darker stuff that lurks within? Goya wasn't afraid to portray this nor was Francis Bacon. We used to discuss this in the kafeneons of Larnaka far into the night. Then it was something that Andros, a tutor at CyCA said, "Make art about what you feel inside yourself. You don't have to show it. Don't give your gold to fools." Now where have I heard that last bit from? It was a 13 th century Zen master, Dogen.
That was a lightbulb moment (twing!). Its not just expressing the dark side but being coy about material that is right under my very nose. I have spent nearly a whole lifetime trying to express things through art when really it is art that expresses me.
Take for instance the "Enigma" series. All the figures look vaguely like nurses. I denied that is what they were at the time but lets face it,  many of these pieces were painted when I actually was nursing. This type of uniform was just being phased out as I started my (nurse) training in1979. The Enigma pieces then, were stereotypical representations.

The picture above is from my recent exhibition, "Narrative Pieces", which was shown this last summer.It was conceived in 2009 whilst sitting on a beach in Larnaka and watching the sunrise. It is called "Contemplation" which is self explanatory, I think. The figure is nurse-like but while it is not a self-portrait, I reckon it is something of a character portrait.

Last week, the Storey Gallery in Lancaster hosted a lecture given by a ceramics sculptor, Christie Brown who along with her art very much spoke my language. We shared a lot of common ground though her (art) forms were quite different to mine.

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