Where to begin after a painting stasis? My friend Helani recently put together a zine - funny and sad in parts. "Stuck for an idea". That really rang true!
I have been concentrating on two activities in the past month. Painting and packing, which don't really go hand in hand. Packing is melancholic and comforting but I like my studio (my bedroom) to be properly organized. Not clean, but tidy, everything should sit comfortably in its place. Now, though, there are boxes everywhere. To begin work in this environment is overwhelming, but it is so good to be painting again. I have been making work here and there for this show and that, but I realised the other day that I haven't actually painted since Nooks and Crannies. I have missed it. And I am rediscovering that feeling of being lost on a blank canvas. Every time you begin a new painting you re-learn how to paint. The act of painting is not simply an execution of learned skills, it's a dynamic and ongoing response to the subject and materials. You fight, resolve problems, enjoy the moments when the material seems to work on its own, you penetrate the object as it penetrates you. It is deeply personal, it is hurtful, it is ecstasy.
In other words it has been nice to remember this process. It has also reminded me of the process - the event - of the gallery. I am glad whenever I can show. Over coffee a friend of mine told me she didn't want to take part in shmoozing, the self aggrandising that is so much a part of exhibiting, and so apart from anything meaningful or artful. This is an inevitable part of exhibiting. But to exhibit is also part of the process of art making. The event doesn't cease when the production of work stops but continues into the gallery space - a space for viewing and experiencing. This interaction is not between the artist and the work, it's between the viewer and the work. I have experienced real clarity when viewing exhibited work. Like Suzanne Moss' paintings, which shimmer and shift optically and spatially - it's important that they be seen, it is vital, a part of the process. That experience travels with me now, just as the mountains and the mists of Canberra do.
This work was for a show called Model Citizens. It is a lot of fun making again, and showing. Ahh, the shenanigans. I will be starting an ongoing project soon, and I'll use this space to tease out thoughts and ideas. Shortly I will be leaving crossroadz and leaving Australia to spend some time in Hong Kong! There will be a blog about all the comings and goings which will be set up soon. I will link to it when it is ready.
The winding little rivers of Hong Kong.