Saturday, 21 January 2012

cogitating on the coincidentality of confluence

it was interesting to read Ronnie's thoughts over at 'art & ect' this morning
especially as i'd just participated in a workshop that centered on the premise of drawing from memory
and not just memory but specific memory
of a piece viewed in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia
[ie the first instruction being "draw a copy/your memory of a work by another artist"]

it was an intriguing and rigorous physical and intellectual exercise
and as the instructor [Christopher Orchard] very clearly pointed out
none of the pieces drawn by participants were "art"
and in fact, pieces made in workshops [of any kind]
should not be considered as part of a person's oevre
and certainly not exhibited as such
[regrettably something too often seen in the textile world]*

but continuing in the spirit of Ronnie's discussion
i thought it might be interesting to put some of my drawings up here
with a link or two to the original works

the visual information was gathered when i wandered into an exhibition at the AGSA titled "Terrain" and found this object by the late Rosalie Gascoigne, an artist whose work i have long admired [i even flew to Melbourne for a day a couple of years ago just to see a retrospective of her work]

i won't paste her image here [copyright issues] but you can follow the links

so my first image went like this

it then wandered on to

and then sanguine was introduced as a variant
but still using elements of the original image

followed by the instruction to call a figure to mind [again from the collection]
and bring it into the composition

the figure is rather less recognisable than the more graphic work, but was derived from Mortimer Menpes "alone in a shoe shop"  and you can see that by this time [in the afternoon, some three hours after viewing the original painting] my memory of the figure is more than a little hazy [and drawing figures ain't my strength in any case]

one of the points our instructor made along the way is that it would be pretty difficult to draw/paint something free of anything you had previously seen. our imaginations are inevitably influenced by experience and memory [subject food for discussion with a good glass of red]

i had a fabulous few days working at drawing and was quite satisfied with the marks i made. but again i stress they are not art. they are perhaps wobbly stepping stones in a stream on my path to somewhere else. breadcrumbs in the forest.

i told a student in a class a couple of years ago in response to her announcing she wouldn't be stitching together the pieces during class as her intent was to frame all her samples and present them as her upcoming solo show, that no self-respecting artist would exhibit workshop samples unless they wished to lose all credibility. i won't be exhibiting these either or using them as the foundation for deriving "new" work.

but you may well spot some distilled essences of them somewhere in the future...a good friend has already been pointed out to me by that the drawings i made under Orchard's direction in class could be seen as being influenced by the weavings of Sandra Brownlee with whom i spent time in Halifax recently [even though they were drawn from Rosalie Gascoigne] . they might well be. i'd have to be a stone NOT to be influenced at all by her work.

then again
it might also have been influenced by Greg John's sculpture 'Fugue' on the banks of the River Torrens. [i had my lunch on the grass nearby]

where am i going with this? acknowledge your sources, ask people for permission [especially if you want to publish their work] and play nice. it's better karma and makes for a nicer whirled.
and now it's time for a cup of tea.

ps and before you ask, yes, i made that big word up.

* and before someone takes up the issue of exhibitions and textiles and calls my bluff on The Talisman Dress, let me state that exhibitions openly described as being the outcome of a workshop process are an entirely different matter...especially where the stated intent of the class is to collectively exhibit the work


  1. Oh... pure delight... what a post India...dropped in by chance between jobs and am enamoured by things over here
    ...Including the new background as well as the mark making and various comments!
    Exciting images of sculpture too I must say!
    and YES to asking and giving credit ... makes for a much happier world as you conclude!
    Enjoy that cuppa!

  2. .... happy worlds for everyone is possible if we all played nice wot

    (and talking about being nice - thanks for typing my name in the same post as one of my all time fav artists - Rosalie Gascoigne....its probably the only time this will ever happen so I'm going to bask in the moment)

  3. yes to all this. and thanks ronnie for starting the conversation. in my "world" which includes book arts and textiles, i occasionally see a work exhibited that emerged from a workshop i participated in or know the teaching artist. it's sort of a punch in the gut. once i attended a local fiber show, and saw one of "my" baskets! turns out that it was a friend's built it in a class i taught. (she would never have exhibited this in a larger venue. she was honoring our local making together) this is an important issue, and india i love how you've illustrated it.
    and the new look is lovely.

  4. Oh what fun you had! Thank you to you and Ronnie for addressing such touchy subjects and addressing them so well. Love the new blog format! The background fabric is scrumptious. Enjoy.

  5. Thank you for sharing so many possibilities and concepts to ponder and consider. Thank you, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  6. art is everything made by hand by people to tickle the phantasy:))

  7. Whew, you really took on a lot! I love Velmas comment pointing to some of the finer distinctions when a group wants to share variations on a theme, and plans it as such. I can honestly say that I have never considered myself an artist. Too sanguine and pulled in various directions to be sure I am having an original thought.

  8. Great work. It's from you, it's free and it's liberating even when challenging.

  9. We are, as humans, influenced by our environment. We have access (mostly) to the same stuff. We are more alike than different and it's no surprise that I find marks I make are the same as those I see elsewhere. Except that I make them in my own little hovel and not at or during a class. I am influenced and informed by what I see, hear, touch, and eat and smell.
    I staunchly support your statement that we should not present work created in a workshop as art.
    Self-awareness is an important tool to creating one's own art.

  10. great images and ideas, thank you. I have been reading your blog in a reader and am so glad i came over to see the pretty new decorations x

  11. Your drawings are wonderful-- love them..I have always loved the suggestion of print and words. And I know what you mean about workshop work ending up in exhibitions.. in the art world I come from (painting) and the fact that I teach workshops.. I see that happening all the time...we can only control what we do in our own studios.

    1. donna.....first stop on the extended journey ... Grace shared.

  12. i came back to look at your last two drawings since they got imbedded. thank you. i love it when that happens, when images stay with me.

  13. i'm now richer! from GRACE shared through Layers...i've found this place of yours and feelings less "alone in the shoe shop"...

  14. Thanks for the inspiring post which has led to two hours of whirling around the interweb world - Nowhereisland to the art of Wilhilemina Barns-Graham, Sandra Browlee to Joan Didion and so many other interesting ideas.