Friday, 29 January 2010

Natural Beauty

Some discarded objects of unregarded beauty.

All these things have accompanied someone during a brief moment of their life, been part of a fleeting sensation of pleasure, and beyond that are a link to a whole personal world of experiences, thoughts and emotions.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


The recent study and effort has been good. I now understand Tschumi better and appreciate his cryptic drawings and his radical approach to architecture. Even better, I see more why I like Kiaer's work so much.

Experiments in my studio with silkscreen on paper

But I began to stall a bit. For several weeks I could not get to my studio. But the weather is better now and I can. It is a relief to experiment with materials as well as study ideas. I need the ideas to progress mentally, but the making is equally if not more important.

Yesterday I visited the print studio in Edinburgh again, first time since before Christmas, and it was a breath of air to be in that excellent and supportive atmosphere.

Monday, 25 January 2010

January - Bernard Tschumi and Ian Kiaer

Looking back at the month - the snow interrupted normal progress for almost three weeks, but it had its benefits. Life slowed down, I learnt to walk everywhere, and it was good to do less better.

I am focussing on the coming year and on the kind of work I would like to make. It is not predictable, but I like to feel anyway that
my work is informed by ideas and by the experience of other artists. I am looking again at the writings and drawings of Bernard Tschumi, the Swiss architect, made for his theoretical projects in the 1980s. He was exploring the idea that, rather than being a static entity, architectural space is enlivened and given meaning by human events and movements, and he includes these notations in his drawings. Later he built according to these principles.

Bernard Tschumi Drawing for Manhattan Transcripts 4 (detail)

I have spent some time reading about the art of Ian Kiaer. I have admired his work ever since I first saw it at the Venice Biennale of 2003. Amongst all the large pieces by famous contemporary artists (for example, Matthew Barney), there lurked tiny evocative installations made of waste and common materials.

Kiaer's show at the Bloomberg was in a huge white space with a few similarly fragmentary objects placed within it. These are usually everyday materials - chunks of polystyrene, tiny long life milk containers, scraps of cloth. On one wall was a battered sheet of reflective aluminium, on another Kiaer's faded and elusive canvases. The objects have a strong feeling of being unfinished and potential and of being alive.

A small (imagined) reconstruction
With apologies to Ian Kiaer
According to Melissa Gronlund, who wrote the text "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" that accompanies this exhibition, Kiaer is redefining the traditional contrast between the"creative" and haphazard process of the studio and the "closure" of the gallery. He does this by bringing the fragments and detritus of the studio (packing materials for example) into the gallery, and allowing these to represent not only themselves and the associations made by the viewer, but also a deep theoretical investiagtion, so that "the enormity and complexity of the object's references are almost inversely proportional to the modesty of their language" (Gronlund).

Kiaer's complex references are drawn from philosophy, history, film, architecture, theatre, poetry and literature and undoubtedly give power and energy to the work. But this power also comes unconsciously from the everyday nature of the fragmented pieces. Unregarded scraps can evoke memories and associations of what is absent, of moments when we are "off-duty" and unguarded in our minds and emotions. for article by Nicholas de Oliviera and Nichola Oxley

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Samuel Pepys and the beginnings of a thaw

Today weather is warmer and pavements and roads are clear, praise be to God. I went to the Apple centre in Glasgow because I wanted to learn better how to use my new iPod. Which I did. I was sorry to see the wonderful Borders bookstore in Buchanan Street now closed. Victim of the credit crunch. I have so much enjoyed visiting that huge opulent shop with its fabulous magazine collection and great range of books and music.

I am reading The Diary of Samuel Pepys. It is his private diary, originally written in shorthand during the 1660s in London, but is as fresh as if written yesterday, and particularly poignant to those who are familiar with London. Imagine nightingales in Woolwich and wild carnations in Vauxhall. But the cut-throat politics of Whitehall remain the same as ever, as we have witnessed this week. The Diary is also fascinating seen as a model blog, though I would be wary of being quite so honest in what is essentially a public document.

Yesterday I sent off my application to a printmaking exhibition in May.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

New prints on paper by Diana

"Field map" Screenprint on paper 31 x 24 cm Dec 2009

"Winter 2010" Screenprint on paper 31 x 24 cm Dec 2009

New prints by myself - these may look very simple but they express something deep for me, perhaps a particular mood, and, not least, the random, even throwaway, method of making them and the simple materials used.
Because of the method used, and because each print is different, they are more like drawings than prints.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

January freeze

It is SOOO cold here tonight. I walked to nearby town this afternoon, and underfoot was solid ice often a few centimetres thick. I am wearing several layers of thermal clothing indoors and am only just warm enough. I feed the wild birds two or three times a day and make sure they have fresh water. Thank goodness we have a wood-burning stove and plenty of fuel!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year 2010 and Venice Biennale

Thomas Nozkowski at Venice Biennale 2007

I was away before Christmas - in London again and visiting relatives. While I was away there was a big snowfall here in Scotland. I have now been back almost a week and have so far been unable to get my car from the driveway.

Lots of walking through ice and snow to get necessary shopping. But it is also a chance to catch up with research and studio work. I enjoy this time of year because of the quiet atmosphere. Most people are off work and it feels more acceptable just to be at home and relax.

So I am looking through papers, and found records of a trip to Venice Biennale in November 2007. This is the chance to go through my photos and notes and recollect what I saw there . This will take some time, as I keep stopping to check out the artists on the internet! There is so much information on you tube and through interviews. Thomas Nozkowski, whose work I remember very well from the Biennale, commented in an interview that he always deliberately works small in order that his paintings fit into domestic interiors rather than in large institutions.. I have never heard an artist explicitly saying that before.

Today I have also packed up some work for an exhibition in Yorkshire which starts mid-January. On Monday I can walk down to the post office! This walking, often 1 or 2 miles a day, is relaxing and is getting me fit.