Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Consigned to Oblivion
  In which I almost get melodramatic, but manage to stop.

Left Behind I and II
15 x 20 cm each
Acrylic on Canvas

Tonight is the opening night of the Miniature group show in which I have two tiny little paintings. I only found out when I saw the invitation that the group show is actually accompanying a solo exhibition by Theo Paul Vorster, which is great, as I'm a huge fan of his work, and I've never seen so many of his works in one space.

I'm still not sure how I feel about these two paintings, I think I'll know as soon as I see them on the wall - when it's too late to do anything - I was in a strange head-space when I made them, they were supposed to be tightly cropped bright pomegranate pips, but after restarting 3 times, and still just getting nowhere, I decided to do these buttons. Now we've spoken about them before, so I'm not about to leap into deep analysis, but I'll give you a quick run-through.
I was feeling a little low (translate to pretty depressed) so bare with me: These buttons are left overs from forgotten garments, some from my dad's navy uniform, some from clothes my mom was gifted by her older siblings, and which she then remade into outfits for us kids etc. They wait around willingly to save someone from a malfunction, but will probably wait forever. And so they are now immortalised in their desperation. But what I had in mind while painting them is this sense of being left behind, my mom comes from a large family and recently two of her older sisters passed away after illness, and it was really hard to deal with. And I kept thinking about those left behind; husbands, children, sisters and brothers, who have to keep everything going, and what it must feel like to lose a companion after 40 - 50 years.

So while I realise this is just a still life of buttons, quite plain, I was working through some things while working on them. And now they stand as a reminder of a couple of gray months, and sadness. Which is what leaves me confused about how I feel about them, as I've gotten quite used to being all about large, bright and playful, I almost feel like I'll be exposed tonight, people will get to see this very personal thing, and not understand why it's supposed to be significant.

I waited until the day I had to deliver the paintings to the gallery to name them, 'Left Behind' perfectly encapsulated what I meant, but I didn't want people to think of the books/movies/games, or anything 'rapture', it works, but it's not the intended meaning. And so google thesaurus delivered a bunch of excellent options, including 'consigned to oblivion' which I just adore, so dramatic, with the pun on 'consigned' of course.. but after chats with my brother and dad, I decided to tone down, and go with my initial gut feeling to name them Left Behind.
And secretly refer to paintings that have not yet sold in galleries as

And that's that.
Will post a update about the opening soon, and about other news and awesome things, until then, happy painting!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Finally, a good week  
In which one painting gets rejected. but five are chosen.

Space, contained
50 x 50 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

I completed this painting a while ago, for a competition where the works had to be 50 cm round, to fit on the tops of wine barrels at the exhibition. Out of 80 entries, 20 were chosen, and this poor guy was not chosen..
The theme for the competition was Space and spaces, and in keeping with my recent marbles theme, I thought it would be perfect to do a detailed work of the inside of a marble. As kids we always believed the insides of marbles looked exactly like space, or we'd go so far as to believe that they had somehow managed to capture a little piece of the heavens inside marbles (after all, who really knows how marbles are made?) But alas, the curators cared not. Which leaves this guy locked up in a store room for a month before I can collect it, which is a sad fate for something made to be seen.

On the upside, all five of the paintings - mentioned in my previous post - at Absolut Art Gallery sold in one week, to two different buyers. Which actually leaves me in an awkward position, as I only had one new piece to replace the five with! 
But what a fantastic sense of relief. It's a wonderful start for my relationship with the gallery, if I had 20 available pieces to give them, they'd take them all at this point! And it's one of the greatest feelings to sell my favourite paintings, as opposed to commissions, the buyers and I are seeing eye to eye, even though we'll most probably never meet. 
And that's great since I'm continuing the marbles series. Right now I'm working on a large piece for an upcoming group exhibition at Everard Read - it's invites only, but even the chosen artists' work have to be approved before-hand, so I am upping my game. I don't know if they expect that, but I think it's good to challenge yourself. And so in this painting there are colour reflections of the marbles in their shadows, and the trees and sky's reflection actually pattern the background, instead of the flat grays I tend towards. Of course, I have no idea how different it will turn out, I have to figure it out as I go, and anything could happen. 
I'd like to keep pushing my use of reflective surfaces like the brushed steel, copper and glass, and perhaps some patterned materials as well. I realised recently that the paintings I like, the work that I'd buy, is radically different from the works that I produce, and I want to bridge that gap, and experiment a little. Anything that pushes you is good, I figure!

And so, drinks are on me! And have a gloriously productive and joyful week!