Art Making Art Thinking

Making art - ideas from anytime and anyplace

Tag: http://www.culturepk.org.uk/

Art times . . .  The Art Thought Train steams on . . . and on

Six weeks since the last blog in April and there has been too much happening for me to speak about everything. This blog will have two parts;

Part One – I choose to focus on this .  .  .  many artists are uncomfortable with the mechanics and the machinations of the art world and choose to withdraw their labour because the art world takes away more than it gives .  .  .

Lee Lozano was active in the New York art scene during the sixties until she chose to step away from the art machine.

Between March and June2018 the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh is exhibiting ‘Lee Lozano – Slip Slide Splice.’

 

A series of supporting events have included discussion groups one of which I decided take part in – ‘Refusal’ facilitated by Ruth Bretherick.

Attendees had been sent two articles of preliminary reading material.  ‘Tune in, Turn on, Drop out: The Rejection of Lee Lozano’ by Helen Molesworth and ‘This moment: a Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making’ Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry.

Both articles address the complex nature of being an artist and a woman in capitalist society. Please read them if you have time.

Both articles discuss Lee Lozano’s art practice and speculate on her decision to withdraw, to refuse, to turn away from being an artist.

And  her more controversial decision to stopped interacting with other women.

Our discussion was time limited to one hour and meant people had to focus on what to say, ask, explain and disagree. Realistically if it had continued for a longer time the initial statement of position of each participant would have diffused into a sequence of monologues.

Points and questions touched on;

Given her refusal of the art world would she have wanted to be in this exhibition?

Lee Lozano’s privileged position within the art world begged the question of whether her conscious withdrawal would have commanded so much attention were she lesser known. Her refusal to interact with women was another indication of the ‘abnormal perceptual systems’ (sic) possessed by artists, (both these points were raised for discussion by the single male present)

The overt and the hidden patriarchal systems existing both in the art world and wider society

The use of language in art

The idealistic and intellectual difficulties entangled within the word feminism

The role of self-sabotage

How little has fundamentally changed for women artists since the sixties

The complexities contained within such a short space of time are analogous to those contained within a work of art, there is only so much time to make what matters. . .

One thing bothers me though. . . why didn’t she destroy her work?

 

Part Two – visuals

 

I haven’t spoken about how irritating I found Paul Morley’s Sunday Feature on Radio 3 ‘Too Many Artists?’ his discussion was elliptical and self-absorbed and I remembered how I didn’t like his music writing in the 70’s and 80’s when he displayed the same arrogant opinions masked as knowledge and intellectual debate.

Less opinion and more reality . . . I found the Dawn Chorus parts 1 and 2 entrancing, then listened to 2017’s with Will Young whose delight in learning was tangible.

I read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and was dismayed again by our western society.

I was overcome with admiration for my daughter, Rebekah L Stackhouse, who ran the Edinburgh Marathon on 27th May to help raise funds for refugees after all the line between being secure and made homeless is a fragile one . . . and all the other runners who crossed their personal Rubicon. I cried . . .a lot.

Coming up. . .The Saturday Draw at Eastfield House has 2 dates in June, the 2nd and the 16th. We will be walking and drawing – Sign up 

The next Art in Nature, Drawing and Well-being on 21st July, more on that in the next blog

 

 

Super Moon – What would Galileo think?

a week on from the blood blue super full moon and  snow has fallen deep and soft in the night everything hidden and lying beneath this all resting against each other randomly it is not dry small flakes it is large wet flakes in clumps on the branches of trees and houses  the sky is blue grey no stars or moon this morning dark no hint of the sun rising behind the sidlaws to the south no robin sings toward the dawn no wind

I can play with our northern dog outside in her element where she would rather be all the time

I have been wondering what all the great thinkers of the past would make of our world now, what they may have achieved with the resources we have at their fingertips, does ease of access to our technologies for some of our societies make us intellectually lazy, does lack of access mean people think harder to solve problems or do they become worn down by life’s inequalities? Galileo’s life was intellectually hard, his support and enhancement of Copernicus’ theory was challenged and threatened by the Roman Catholic Church and his reasoned analysis of the Earth’s place in the Solar System meant imprisonment, yet he kept working and eventually was able to come home near the end of his life. Sometime in the early years of this century I looked at Galileo’s drawings of the phases of the Moon with close attention and seriously thought, for the first time, about what was actually involved in his process of moving his gaze through the telescope (the lenses ground by himself) at the Moon and recording what he saw when he drew the Moon. The drawings were published them in his book The Sidereal Messenger (1610), I had seen them before but I had not previously fully considered what these drawings actually are and what they meant for society then.

This thinking about thought is cyclical, like the Moon it moves out of sight then returns when I see or read something which reminds me, in this case the BBC’s programme about the Moon scheduled to take place on the same night (31 March 2018) as a Super Moon. What moved me was not only the images of the Moon, it was those of peoples’ reaction to this natural event, their excitement showed in the way they moved, how they spoke. . . all these people all around the world responding . . . this is as beautiful as the Moon itself. Throughout the programme the camera kept returning to an artwork made of the Moon and showing audiences’ reactions when they encountered it. Although this moon was not real people who came to see reacted in the same way as they would to the real one. The artist was not credited during the programme, I waited for the end credits to confirm who I thought it was. I have not seen the artwork itself, a Radio 4 programme had caught my interest and I was pleased to see that this moon looked like my imagining. The artist is Luke Jerram, have a look at his work on his website.

I think Galileo would have liked Luke’s Moon, and I think he would have liked all the technology  we use now to see the Moon, technology which can be traced back to him grinding lenses for his telescope so that he could look at the Moon. If you want to read about his life and its complexities then Dava Sobel’s (2009) book of his life is fascinating.

For the rest of February and into March I am BUSY. Writing my Final Research report for Creative Scotland and sorting out from the project what I’m going to show at Platform 2018, Culture Perth and Kinross’s yearly festival of the arts. http://www.culturepk.org.uk/

 

 

The North Wind Doth Blow – River Ericht in January 2018

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