Monthly Archives: February 2008

Art and Fear

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Above is a drawing I did (or my sister did) when we were small – these tickets enable the bearer to go anywhere and do anything. Fortunately they have come to light again.

Here I’ll be recording the artistic activities and projects that I’ll be involved in, as well as any insights and thoughts I might have along the way. By jotting it all down I aim to keep myself ‘falling forwards’.

I studied at Newcastle University, UK graduating in 1997 with a Fine Art degree. My work at that time was created by observing theatrical performers. I sketched all the students rehearsing at the other University (which had/has a strong drama department.) Later I would develop these impressions into compositions which explored elements of the human condition represented by ‘types’ caught in the interplay between spiritual and material realities. The ‘Cloud and the Pillar’ series title was taken from the biblical exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. They were guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Within the scope of this story I saw the journey of life played out; states of awareness and being, vision and doubt, knowledge and unbelief, going forward and turning back. I worked on a small scale, very intensively wanting some of the energy of a mysterious drama to unfold.

I’ve been working in different fields outside of artistic practice since then, so it’s an exciting leap to return on a second wind. I have just read an inspiring book called Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, 1993 which talks about creativity in the face of different kinds of obstacles, reconciling oneself to them and continuing to create.

With my series ‘Painting the Numinous’ I have been using solitude as a needed counterpart to community; a way to re-familiarise myself with the personal and material process of making art. By solitude I mean its role as a discipline and its rejuvenating effects in slowing down time.

My experience of solitude as a spiritual discipline involves moments of still contemplation prior to and during painting. This is centring myself. There is a play between meditative deliberation and decision making. During the painting process itself I have used no pre-gathered visual source material. Instead I have been interested in the role of the imagination in its relation to visual memory and spontaneity; similar to my own experience of musical creativity. It’s a process that embraces personal permission giving toward play and abstract experimentation.

 

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