www.studioarc.co.uk interactive exhibition space Fair Maid’s House Perth
I met my artist friend Kay Hood outside the Fair Maid’s House in Perth, we were going to see the two artworks she had been commissioned to paint. Kay had been asked to make the work by Mike Robinson, CEO of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society because she lives in the house in Blairgowrie where James Croll stayed in the nineteenth century ( see Jo Woolf for background as to why he is so important). The exhibition and education spaces at the Fair Maid’s House are designed by Studioarc and work extremely well considering the house’s size, Studioarc have redesigned the garden now renamed The Croll Garden. It’s remarkably compact and still waits for the appropriate plants which have been chosen in consultation with the Botanics in Edinburgh. The central sculptural work is based on the Earth’s orbit and visitors are encouraged to move a small metal planet around the Sun while reading the texts etched into the surrounding stone panels on the ground. The tactile interaction of the physical movement between the observer’s hands, eyes and body echoes the complexity and magnitude of the Earth’s own relationships with the solar system and beyond.
Wisteria Anton Cottage ©Kay Hood2016
What makes James Croll and his like such singular people is that they worked out so much about our existence without access to the tools of learning we have now. Could I do that? No.
Excuse the extremely short sentences.
I am thinking in snatches and glimpses.
I am catching my breath in gasps.
My breath is catching at the air.
I am attempting to push against repeating patterns (again!)
Early morning walking brings clarity of thought.
Never mind the weather.
Maybe because the body is moving.
Away, through and towards.
Rather than being stationary or moving within and around a circumscribed space.
Such as home, workspace, shop, garden, car.
Maybe this walking action allows self to escape from
Snags, hooks, holes and obstacles.
Since last week the dog walking time does not last long enough for my thinking.
The dog herself would walk for as long as I would let her.
That is not fair because she is not yet two years old and her joints are still malleable.
And in fact it would be too long for my body since it does not have the stamina it had BC.
At the beginning of this week I walked to the trees at the top of the hill on the other side of the Lornty Burn.
I saw a new horizon ahead of me to the North and the River Ericht Gorge below me towards the East.
again I have been reading and not making
I finished reading Rebecca Solnit The Faraway Nearby and in the chapter Flight she writes of an artwork (Path by Elin Hansdottir) she encountered in Iceland
“ If Path was a book, it was about not knowing, about being lost, and about darkness, the darkness of the deep interior,
into the woods©aileenmstackhouse2016
a book you read with your feet. But it was wordless and so had the penurious privilege of visual art, of being able to invoke many meanings without being pinned down to the specificities of words. Too, it was the thing itself, not the representation of the thing. It was darkness, a convoluted route, a throbbing sound, faint zones of light, perceptual confusion. It was a space only revealed over time through motion.”
I am enjoying working through her writings and her words strike true although I sometimes find myself wishing she would give more. More what? Explanation? That’s precisely when I can become annoyed as a visual artist, when I am asked to explain further, to explain why.
If I knew the words, the answer, I would not be making the art.
Yayoi Kusama lives voluntarily in a psychiatric institution in Japan, is this to give her space to make her art? Her work is beautiful and in parts and details reminds me of many other artists ( e.g. Louise Bourgeoise, Alan Davie ).
Although I complain about having not enough space/time for creativity I would not want to experience being limited and shut away.
I prefer walking to make space.