Sunday, 30 September 2012

Walkabout with Estelle Hudson

Estelle's talk  yesterday surpassed my expectations. The words she spoke contextualised my journey and my work absolutely. 

It was just beautiful. The language she spoke, the language of myth, story, dream, archetype...  It’s as though the essence of the Transpersonal, the Collective Unconscious, the magic of ‘The Journey’ and possibility of Individuation becomes tangible when it’s spoken about like it was by her yesterday. 

I am not good with the spoken word, particularly under the spotlight when I forget what I'm called and what I'm doing there, so it took Estelle with her knowledge and insights to bring fully the message that lay behind the work to those that were there to listen. 

'Visit to Ros Cryer's Studio

I was met with a table top of her ceramics. Ceramics, vessels standing tall, bone colored, decorated with Mendhi patterns, the traditional designs from Hindu culture and painted on hands and feet to celebrate special occasions. The interior of the vessels are glazed with a beautiful blue..

Ros reflected with me on the Process of her work:

She felt it reflected her journey through two bouts of serious heart surgery, real doubt that she would survive the surgery while at the same time the amazing skill that was required to correct, repair and create an alternative way for the heart to do its work.

While working on the vessels she felt herself enter another space, a place of being which was both emotional and physical. Looking more closely at the vessels she pointed to carved out spaces, left unadorned, the spaces which for her were about stillness, silence, meditation,  and which reminded her of a moment after surgery when she felt encompassed in a bubble of bliss - where silence and non attachment dominated. 

Working on the vessels included meditation,  Focused energy,  Interiorority, Nurturing.
The reciprocal relationship between artist and art has been one of engagement and respect - the vessel would tell her when it was finished, the creative act was more about being than doing.

The blue interior of the vessel is no arbitrary choice.  An experience in France  some years ago, and a visit to some underground caves, entering the caves, floating on water, then swimming in the water which seemed to leave her body with a fluorescent glow of aqua blue links with a sense of entering the womb of mother earth, floating in the amniotic water of the womb and then emerging and being birthed , if you like the rebirth after the heart surgery.

The title of this exhibition is Body, Vessels, Archetypes.

The latter is a concept developed by Carl Jung who is known for the importance he places on dreams as a means to bring the Unconscious to consciousness. Archetypes are universal  patterns which come from the Collective Unconscious. In other words patterns which are shared by the whole of the human race. 

Archetypes present with images and motifs that come through dreams, visions, and fairy tales; and I would like to add in art;  Archetypes are filled with psychic energy; Attached with strong emotion; And appear when transformation of the psyche is about to take place. Carl Jung's word is individuation, a journey to whole-ness. Apply this description to Ros' s work. (repeat the descriptions of archetypes as above)

The strong archetype in this body of work is the vessel as body. Body created, body broken, body mended and healed, body explored, body deeply understood and valued. 

When I think of the Collective Unconscious then I know why this whole body of work has touched me so deeply and I hope you too. I can identify with the archetype of the vessel as body, the color blue as the birthing waters, and the white, carved out spaces on the vessel as the need for the silence and the place to just be... A time of mystery and sacredness.

If you go behind the screen you will be enveloped with the sense of the sacred by the installation of the broken pieces on an altar-like table in a space that is about brokeness and mystery. Joseph Campbell says:  "Sacred Space is everywhere, but you can only say that after you have learned the discipline of Sacred Space and appreciated the metaphoric significance of the objects found therein.".  We do need to ask ourselves what is the significance of the broken pieces of porcelain and the broken, repaired vessels. When we have answered this question, as Roz did in her work, then we can feel the mystery of the sacred space.

At a psychology convention Elizabeth Martini delivers a paper entitled Broken Vessels - a Container for Individuation. In Roz's work she uses the Vessel Archetype as body and the thought of body as container enlarges our understanding and concept of all the potential contained in the body: The conscious and the unconscious, the richness of different archetypes 
which inform, direct and through a commitment to make the journey which ultimately brings us to Wholeness.

And just in case we haven't got the message Roz turns to a second medium: painting. 
The paintings are a continuation of the Journey to Wholeness. There are the paintings on the rich fabric of texture, patching, embroidery which follow the same theme of the vessel, the body, the soul, if you like, being patched, put together, using the skill of stitching, engaging with life encountering its roughness and it's beauty and emerging not without pain but always with beauty and healing.

The third step is to reproduce, to emphasize, the final product. There is no evidence of brokenness, scars, but every evidence of creation. I am reminded of the words of the Creator who after creating the whole of the universe was able to sit back and say it is good and love what has been created. Roz has recreated through her art a whole new understanding and appreciation of the archetype of 'Body as Vessel'. Her body traumatized, her mind and her psyche deeply affected becomes re-created and we enter her world and can say of this creation it is good and love what we see. 

The paintings on canvas of the actual ceramics were described by Maggie as monumental. A perfect word to describe this whole body of work MONUMENTAL'

Friday, 28 September 2012

I've become a member of my own blog!

What a plonker. Still learning and finding my way around the whole blogging thing. I've made myself a member of my own blog. Don't quite know how to undo this so for the time being I'll just follow myself and find out what I'm doing via my blog.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Walkabout on Saturday

I'm very excited about this. Check out the link 

Britta and Anne's photos from last night's opening

I wonder whether everyone who wakes up after their exhibition opening, or something equivalent, feels so raw and exposed and desperate for confirmation that they did ok. Well that's how I felt this morning. Such conflicting emotions however as this is combined with a real sense that I had managed to convey something very real and profound and I'm proud of that. (This was not without input from some very dear friends mind you, so a big thank you to them).

There was a good turn out which was wonderful and Carina opened the exhibition. I'd asked her as she has been so involved both as a very dear friend and my ceramics teacher. She is an inspiration at 89 years old; beautiful, wise and more youthful in her approach to her creativity and life in general than most people half her age.

Britta and Anne took these photos. I'm being rather self indulgent here. just going to throw them in here unedited to give you an idea of the evening.

 Karen and Carina photo by Anne

 Oh man isn't she beautiful photo by Anne

 Me and Carina photo by Anne

photo by Anne

Karen, me and Carina photo by Anne

photo by Britta

 The Installation photo by Britta


These two pics are rather fun. Sarah, Kevern, Paul, Simone and myself with some aliens.
These pieces are from the exhibition in the middle gallery
“A Life In Common”
Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Matthew Ovendale,  Muziwandile Gigaba, Peter McKenzie, Rob Mills  and Wayne Reddiar
 photo by Britta

 Sheila and Iz photo by Britta

Hayley photo by Britta

 Mands photo by Britta

photo by Britta

Donna and Anne photo by Britta

 Britta photo by Anne

Iz Biz and Carina photo by Anne

Carina photo by Anne

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The night before & the finished paintings

Well tomorrow I head down to the gallery and put up the exhibition. I feel uncharacteristically under control and am adequately pleased with the various elements I will be displaying. How it all fits together in the gallery space though can make or break ... 

... I suspect I am a little more nervous than I am admitting to myself as it is way past my bedtime and I am still buzzing and unable to sleep.

Anyway, here are some of the finished paintings. I have five on plain canvas and six on the embroidered canvases. These are the ones on plain canvas.

It struck me (only) yesterday as I talked with Anne and Britta that for me these paintings ar not just paintings of the porcelain vessels I made but are themselves archetypal. Perhaps not only because of their significance to me as 'Body as Vessel'  but also because of their 'monumental' size in relation to the canvas. I was talking with Estelle Hudson, a clinical social worker and narrative social therapist who also conducts dream groups on a regular basis and who will be doing the walkabout at my exhibition next saturday, and she talked about how when a dream or an element in the dream stands out or is 'large/ larger than life' and seems to have extra significance then the chances are that there is an archetype at play. And if we take note of this and work with it then it can help us towards becoming more whole. More fully who we trully are. Moving towards 'Individuation'. This is such a fascinating area. One I wish to spend a lot more time exploring and learning about. 

Vessel 3
Oil on canvas 

Vessel 1
Oil on canvas

Vessel 4
Oil on canvas

Vessel 5
Oil on canvas 

Vessel 2
Oil on canvas

 Eating Bowl 1
Oil and embroidery on canvas 

 Eating Bowl 2
Oil and embroidery on canvas

 Eating Bowl 3
Oil and embroidery on canvas

  Eating Bowl 5
Oil and embroidery on canvas

 Eating Bowl 6
Oil and embroidery on canvas 

  Eating Bowl 4
Oil and embroidery on canvas

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The vessels to go with the quote

So you can read the quote in my last post. Last night I worked on the vessels that will go with the quote.
"... because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs."