Dissertation sickness. Gaining knowledge should be enriching – Bill Viola talks about a pollution of the mind from too much information, he means a flooding from advertising and media and such like that has a negative impact on our well being. Walter Benjamin was also concerned that post industrial life was overwhelming our senses in such a way that we couldn’t process the volume of experiences we had in order to gain any knowledge or understanding. I think I may be overloading my mind with too many books – too many threads to follow – so that I can no longer process meaningfully.
Nostalgia – the wounds of returning.
Ruin Lust at Tate Britain was a chance to revel in the beauty of decay – to feed desire for the lost idyll. Desire is such that it is eternal.

Jane and Louise Wilson - Azeville

Jane and Louise Wilson – Azeville

I have just been reading about critic Neil Hertz comments on Gustave Coubet’s La Grotte de la Loue 1864 as an example of the move from the romantic sublime to the post modern sublime.

Gustave Courbet - La Grotte de la Loue

Gustave Courbet – La Grotte de la Loue

The Wilson’s photograph Azeville seems to share the same unnerving dark space where there is no escape into infinity only a reflection back to self meditation.

John Martin the master of the fantastical sublime shows the devastation of Pompeii.

John Martin - The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum

John Martin – The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum

With the sublime there is always the possibility of death.

If a dark space of contemplation is post modern sublime what is this …

1405 Pompeii

feels like a brash disrespect for the dead to me.

Finlay Taylor, tutor in printmaking at RCA, brought together an impressive selection of works for an exhibition at Camberwell Space – Against Nature.

In his introductory speech at the symposium held in conjunction with the show he spoke about cause and effect of environmental interventions.

The extinction of the Large Blue Butterfly in Britain as habitat is eroded as land use changes and the introduction of a butterfly from Scandinavia as replacement – a near match.

The high mercury levels at the top of Mount Fuji brought on the winds from China’s expanding coal mining industry.

Dr Joy Sleeman and David Cross, speakers at the symposium, discussed our shift in perception of landscape after the moon landings.

The iconic image earthrise – looking back at earth from space apparently very nearly didn’t happen.

The highly trained military scientists had been instructed to only photograph the surface of the moon with the precious amount of film that they had taken into space with them.

1405 earthrise

However, when they saw the earth as it had never been seen before and it was so beautiful they disobeyed command and pressed the shutter.

Optimum selfie.  It’s been a while now since the reverberations of that image were first felt, it was supposed to unite us as a planet, to position us within the enormity of the universe so that we could appreciate our lives as being part of something amazing and vast.

Our skies, flooded with artificial light means we can no longer see the stars. Our territory has shrunk. James Turrell makes work to try and open up our skies to us again. By creating an enclosure to look out from, a vaulting occurs in our perception, bringing the sky closer, and as the light changes throughout the day and the seasons a myriad range of colours can be observed.

James Turrell - Roden Crater

James Turrell – Roden Crater

His friend and art collector Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo believes that if everyone could visit The Roden Crater then all violence would stop.

Also we wouldn’t need any hallucinogens.

Crossing the channel to see Bill Viola in Paris. Dissertation research isn’t all sitting in the library.

Bill Viola - Fire Woman

Bill Viola – Fire Woman

Enjoyed some favourite pieces and saw some new ones.

I found ‘Three Women’ very hypnotic and moving. For me it was about cycles of separation.

The mother figure steps out from a grey mist through a wall of water, with all the wetness and rupture of birth, she emerges glistening into full colour.

Bill Viola - Three Women

Bill Viola – Three Women

She reaches back for the older girl and guides her on her journey through the baptism of water to be at her side, the older girl in turn then takes her sister by the hand to join them.

Bill Viola - Three Women

Bill Viola – Three Women

No sooner are they all together than the mother figure steps back through the veil, the older girl soon follows, leaving the young girl suddenly alone.

As she reaches back and takes her older sister’s hand to return from where she came, she turns directly to the viewer, her gaze holds us in a grief of separation.

Bill Viola - Three Women

Bill Viola – Three Women

Who steps over the threshold willingly?

Crossing Oceans – ‘The Stuart Hall Project’ film is a poetic collage of archive footage set to the music of Miles Davis, directed by John Akomfrah. Stuart Hall emigrated from Jamaica to the UK in 1951 to take up a place at Oxford University, and became a founding figure of cultural studies in Britain.

Stuart Hall

I have Jo Stockham (head of printmaking at the RCA) to thank for screening this film of a wonderful man sadly no longer with us.

This film is now part of an exhibition at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston Upon Thames – Your Tongue in My Mouth

1405 Standing on the Frontier (22)

Honoured to be invited to join the artists in Standing on the Frontier, a group show at Unit 24 Gallery curated by Takayuki Hari and Noa Edwards.

“One of the tasks art has assumed is making forays into and taking up positions on the frontiers of consciousness (….) and reporting back what’s there.” –Susan Sontag, ‘The Pornographic Imagination’.

Takayuki Hara with his work

Takayuki Hara with his work

The images presented by the artists in Standing on the Frontier depict views taken on a redefining the frontier between reality and the imagination. On this meandering journey the viewer weaves his or her way across the line that demarcates the boundary between the mundane scenery of familiar places and the surreal landscapes of the individual mind.

Noa Edwards paintings

Noa Edwards paintings

A review can be read here

Susan Eyre - Yellow Sky

Susan Eyre – Yellow Sky

The boundary I was thinking about here was the one between outside and inside a controlled environment.

A dystopian future where all life is sheltered in a sort of Eden project.

Coming up soon –

I have some work in the Ochre Print Studio Summer exhibition

Would 1/2 ve

Would 1/2 ve

Some exhibitions I hope to visit –

Arkipelagos at Beaconsfield

Fleursdumal at Charlie Smith

Suky Best at Danielle Arnoud

Laurence Kavanagh at Marlborough Contemporary

Chris Marker at Whitechapel

TTTT at Jerwood Space

Daniel Malva at ArtEco

and of course Royal College of Art SHOW 2014