Studio

Moving

I can see the signs of the new season. You hear talk of the great European and American nature poets and the effect of the seasons on their lives. Not just their lives, but everyone's. In some parts of the world the coming of winter means a whole lot more than just chucking on a jumper. The loss of the sun and the loss of that green seems at odds with what it is to be human. And when it's over the spring brings with it such elation - I can only pretend to understand as I listen to their season songs. 

The dramatic change of colour and atmosphere is something I've never truly experienced, but I still feel sudden joy when I notice Canberra shifting. Though here the signs of change are far more subdued and I can't precisely say what they are. Of course we see slick new buds swelling on the naked suburban tees, but there's something more, too. A cleanness in the air? A cold clear bite on a quick breeze? Some small new fragrance? 

 Spring Tree Puss Spring Puss Slick

Canberra 2014

 

This year I only got to see the lead up to spring, and on the first day of September I got on a plane and flew to Taiwan. I'm here to study my Masters. It's exciting being back at uni, after four years pretending I was still a student I can now actually call myself one! I'll be working on a project examining the role of art as a tool for cultural repatriation in Taiwanese society. I'll be using this blog for general updates on my work. 

I'm encumbered with many half baked ideas. Luckily my little flat has room for a small studio, which I've been attempting to set up this week. It means so much to have a studio. Really it's a place to facilitate the mind, a space in which thoughts become actions of the hands and body. Without such a place I feel less. 

So - first thing's first. Set up a studio and establish myself in it. There's no rush to make work at a time like this, I can relax and take things as they come. Walking is of greater importance than ever if I'm to get to know my new home. I feel like I have time, and I want to use it to breath this place in. I want the city to follow me into the studio. I want the work brought out into the streets and mountains. I don't know what the results will be yet - but I have the time to find out. 

The Surprising Smell of Australia

un-felted

Slowly, slowly, slowly I'm exhaling mist - its physical form through physical action. I've been holding my breath for one entire year, and now, as I breathe out, this is what's forming in the condensation. And oh boy am I breathing heavily. I've been busy rolling, rolling, rolling these long strands of fog out of softly coloured wool.

"You look like you're making noodles."

I wonder if people who make noodles hurt this much in the morning. Every day I wake with a groan. But I love this feeling, my aching body feels real and present. It's making something true, something it needs to. This pain is the feeling of growth.

As I walk through the streets and parks I pretend I am walking through a classical Chinese landscape. Beijing is so far removed from these images and yet if you squint you can see yourself  as that eremitic wanderer. In Canberra, when I walk though the streets and parks, I imagine myself as forest-dweller, sometimes a fairy tale figure. In many ways the project reminds me of home but it's the smell of the work that's the strongest trigger, something I didn't expect. It's the wool.  I need to wet it in order to felt it, and the smell seems such an Australian experience that it's comforting to return to it every day. And every day I'm a little less sore as my body accommodates. Odd sadness here is frequent but these feelings assure me I'm on the right path.

early mists           early mists

layering

steed

At the Temple of Heaven

How to begin an indoor mist

Cathy was right - this place is so different from Hong Kong. On my first day I realized I was scared of leaving my apartment. I'm not used to that feeling. I think I'm scared because there's so much I am unable to define, so much I can't categorize.

studio window

Summer Palace

It is a truly unique city. I could love it here, if I could speak and if I could work I could be happy. On my second day things changed and I began to remember how travel alone. So I rode my bike to the station and caught a train to the Summer Palace and it was beautiful and sacred and tacky and vile all at once. What a difference it makes to catch a train, the city opens up and you  begin to find your rhythm. The beginnings of a rhythm only for you, between yourself and the city.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

This is like nowhere I've ever been, people seldom smile and I suck at Chinese. I live in a dusty village with tiny shops, convenience stores and wet markets, I ride my bike around and I love being scared on the road, learning to adapt. I love the Chinese music carried on a breeze from tinny shop-side speakers and I love the shop that plays Backstreet Boys back-to-back.

Fei Jia Cun

I have never been in a new place without a fellow explorer. That scares me more than I thought it would. I miss my companion so much.

But I will find my bearings. I will make the work. I know I can do it - now all that's left to do is do it.

Morning Mist 2

A Place to Rest, A Place to Run

Why This Blog? A place to illustrate early thoughts, and a place to rest.

When I started Surface Objects I had no real intention for what it would be. As it went on, its function changed again and again. At the best of times Surface Objects was my second visual diary. A place to air ideas - out in the open -  without the demand of presenting finished work. I really believe  you can do that with a blog, as opposed to a professional website. It's what the medium is built for! (sometimes).  That's what I want Surface Objects to be again. So I am relaunching it as a blog that will be a place for thoughts to rest, where I can take a step back to view things in a new light.

Knot

Steps

I have moved some of the older posts from here to an archive. I was contemplating removing them entirely, but looking back over the old, single sentenced, oddly phrased verse I decided against a mass deletion. Like finding an old diary, reading through the posts was surprising and insightful. And odd... and occasionally deeply embarrassing. But I have kept them, they are archived away now because they were made with a different purpose, but if nothing else I need to be honest with myself.  Go read them, GO! Some posts are pretty good.

Forest Out the Back

Surface Objects is going to be one of two blogs I intend to use over the next little while. The second will be about a grotto I will be living in. I'll link to it once it has been set up. This space will have a wider scope, the second will be for a specific topic. But more on that in a little while.

It is good to be back. I have missed you precious.

Nooks and Crannies - 2012

It's been a while since an update, and it's bad when a blog stagnates. I have been busy for a couple of weeks on a show I've decided to call Nooks and Crannies, which I have been able to do as part of the Canberra Contemporary Art Space residency program. (Which incidentally has been truly wonderful and enjoyable.)  The show opens on the 16th of February.

I'd like to think all the work, this learning, I've been doing this year is taking its next step. The show will be a part of the work, too, and as this is my first solo show, I'm actually quite curious as to how the work will change and what it might mean come the time when it all goes up on the walls.

I've also been working towards Blaze 6, the annual show which is the culmination of the entire CCAS residency program. I'll leave that for another update, just be sure to get there because it is always a fab show.

Speaking of CCAS, the 2012 residents are about to begin. I'll be keeping an eye out. My residency is coming to an end and I have had to move out of my studio, which I've really become attached to. I try not to be sentimental about these things, but that is ultimately futile. The studio, like nature and landscape, helps form my thoughts and ideas. It is a facet of my extended mind. It's been a melancholic afternoon.

I have some planed updates including new years resolutions (it's already February for goodness sake) and some more Blaze details but I'm still working on things leading up to the opening so I might be quiet for a time. 2012 feels like it will be a surprising and unusual year. In all the right ways.