Tuesday, 31 August 2010

wall painting

A second wall painting from St James church, part of a repeating pattern.As with the previous image, there is a naivete and simplicity profoundly touching to behold.

wall painting

The church of St James, Cameley, Avon dates from the 11th century. It has a number of wall paintings from different periods, revealed by 20th century repair work, the earliest being perhaps as old as the church itself. I would imagine that the image pictured is early. I found its simple delicacy and naivete most moving.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

on recognising one's own egocentricity

From the preface to the 1975 Penguin edition of Dark as the Grave in which my Friend is Laid, by Malcolm Lowry, written by Douglas Day, University of Virginia, August 1967, on Malcolm Lowry:
"..He was never able to define himself to himself....he was acutely egocentric: his gaze was almost always inward, so much so that he was very nearly blind to the world outside- except in so far as it reflected his own thoughts and feelings. From time to time he would try mightily to focus on something outside himself-the world situation, friends, wives, the sound of a voice, the colour of a sky...."
I read these words with something of a start of recognition, for I read of myself within them. I am by no means comparing myself with the greatness of Malcolm Lowry, but recognise that I am myself, "acutely egocentric", and that my gaze is most often inward, rather than directed outward to the world beyond the narrow confines of the self. It was therefore somewhat reassuring to read later in the preface, that the writer did not consider egocentricity to be "synonnymous with conceit". I can assert that it is not, although the two conditions appear to lie so closely alongside one another that one may be mistaken for the other.

dark rainbow drawing II

This is the first drawing that I made for almost a year, and is not a new drawing, but instead represents a visit to an earlier work, now 'finished' in July 2010. The drawing dates from 2008, and was originally untitled, one of the rainbow drawings made whilst living in Turnpike Cottage, shortly after return from hospital in the late Autumn.
On regarding it with a critical and not altogether friendly eye several weeks ago, the notion of obscuring the bow with crumbled, dark pastel suggested itself to me, a possible development that could have meant the ruination of a drawing. Instead, the drawing has been revised, I think successfully, and I can look upon it with something of the feeling of relief.

on intimate material

Is it more or less intimate to write of, or make visual work about a love affair, for example, or ones' struggle with depression and difficulty in making art? I would now hesitate to write of, or make visual work about the former, yet have written about and made drawings about the condition of depression and of the intense difficulty I experience in making art.
Illness is intimate; depression is a condition striking at one's innermost self, thus to write about one's personal experience of it is to expose oneself. Icannot but question my motives in so doing. However, I believe that I am attempting to put forward my own experience in a way that may be helpful to others; after all, I read the accounts of other people's experience in order to gain an insight into my own. In comparing my older work with more recent, I must accept that the polaroids of the floor texts, for example, were made at a very different time of my life; then, personal material had sexual content, now it does not. At the time of making them, I had no difficulty in writing, now I find writing only slightly less difficult than making visual work. The writing of the floor texts issued forth in a sensuous flow, now I am excrutiatingly self conscious, and find my voice stifled, my sentences devoid of lyricism.
I have lost confidence and struggle to find a voice that seems true to myself, a voice that endures, that distinguishes my words, that identifies me.
The person that made the floor texts has disappeared, yet I long to resurrect her, make her substantial once more, give her chalk and see her fashion living material with it.