Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Latest Images of the work I have been practicing from the residency La Fragua, Belalcázar.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Pilgrim: Mapping Reality - Thoughts of this Day in the Present Moment

 Our reality is a world we take for granted as we look around ourseves and take in the image of the world.  A world we can not entirely be sure of, yet accept as the only way in which we can negotiate and try to understand in its complexity.  Through the natural elements we gain an understanding of what IT is that lays before us, even though what we see is only an interpretation of what our minds' think is real.  What is real and how do we place upon a two dimensional surface the response and reaction to the reality we see before us?


 Throughout the ages society has sought to map reality, to grasp the world and contain it on rock (rock art), walls (cave art), Art, minds (myths passed on through the ages containing vital information - Hamlet's Mill), paper (scrolls, Atlases), globes, monuments (Stonehenge, Great Pyramid, Henges) and now satelite GPS (Google Earth, Street View).  Mapping influences the way we view reality and how it is presented to us, changing the way we see the world and giving us insights into the way our ancestors viewed their world (Hereford Map, Piri Reis Map).
  Yet, we can not be sure what is actually outside of our mind because we can not see the world without our mind.  We can only create a simulation/ simulcra, a copy, a mime, a creation of symbols that have replaced reality.  [For example:  Alan Watts, a British Zen philosopher points out that money is a symbol we have come to believe in, forgetting it is nothing more than a symbol akin to 'inches'.  Not having enough money is like saying we haven't enough inches... an absurd reality when dealing with the econmic system that ultimately affects lives].
  Through various ways of interpreting the world, using symbolic representations we re-construct the world-view and reveal something about the negotiatiated reality.  I have been following these ideas over the last two years - trying to understand how we interpret reality and the ways corporate media presents the world to us.  I did get lost in this world of the media and the facts and figures.  These symbolic constructions that replaced the very reality we are gradually losing, due to giving over true reality to a symbolic reality of order which now destroys the very environment we depend upon.   A time-loop, a 'Groundhog Day' of repeating imagery and information fueling the very fires which seem to consume the real - and we await a new birth of the Phoenix, a new age.  My Phoenix was to lose oneself in the landscape in another land and nationality, seeking the voice of nature - re-focusing and seeking another path to lead me back to the real.

 Moving to Cyprus led to new ways of seeing the world and in-turn gave me the opportunity to partake in the residency Flow and Art in Málaga, expanding on my ideas and here now in Belalcázar I have found my way to mapping.  Nature and the landscape presented new ways of seeing the landscape through the very ground I was walking upon; erosion, weathering, borders, religion and time.  The histories of another culture and the effects of the inter-mingling of cultures, the importance of immigration and emigration; their histories spoke to me about the layers of time, culture, art, mythology.  Time from the past existing through artifacts and language, left behind for future generations to research, see and understand - giving us the sense of times past and the influences these have upon the contemporary.


  I have become a Pilgrim on a journey of rediscovery.  We are all pilgrims through time.  Re-finding who we are each day and for me what my practice has been leading me to.  The realisation was having no expectations, no clear and set ideas, allowing the fluidity of time to create work, regardless of the outcome, and reaching some surprising stations along the journey.  The work in Cyprus at the Cyprus College in Lempa opened a new door - I walked through the portal into another reality.  A reality far removed from the one I had been living previously in Cornwall where I had bogged myself down in the media, internet and the realities of the news, consumerism and the endless debates of politicians who only seemed to love their soundbites.  I escaped the media and politics, seeking another way to comment on the world, without having any plan.  My last painting before leaving for Cyprus dealt with these issues and seemed so apt - a symbolic representation of my polemical death, which at the time was an attempt to claw back Michelangelo's La Pieta from a media image used to propagandise the U.K. government's attempt to have another war/ conflict based on their perspective of truth (Syria: The Final Image) [Though I make no comment on this area due to not living in Syria]
  Now I allow the polemical to come through the work subconsciously, natural via line, marks, colour.  The erosion, time, weathering, division, history and mythology - all leading to my current ways of mapping reality and the way I make sense of the world, and in a way as a symbol of the culture I grew up in.

 Through writing I am exploring these ideas on Pilgrimage - a passage way to greater understanding of who and what I am through the 'stuff'' I create.  The layering, the stratification of time via rocks, the abstraction from observation.  Two areas opening up to me - two streams of thought are beginning to merge.  Mapping and Abstraction & Reality and Imagination converging in work that explores 'Identity and Relationships', free to become with no expectations.  It has taken an investment of time to explore lands afar through various residencies - living, working and learning a way of living and learning through another language and culture, taking shape into a new potential futures for my working practice.

 Thank you Cyprus College (Stass, Margaret & Michael Paraskos), Málaca Instituto,  Málaga (Flow and Art Project - Ida and Nieves) and La Fragua in Belalcázar (Javi and Gaby) - you have all given me a valuable year of growth in time.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

Today's thoughts whilst painting: Reality through abstraction

Over the last couple of weeks I have become more aware of my interest in abstracting from observable reality.  Case in point in my observation studies from local rock formations and how my mind makes judgements.  When I paint I extract information from the observed object, through this I make decisions based upon my experiences from the last 25 years. 
The decisive marks made try to capture the moment of decision and evidence reality;  reality grounded in the way our minds' choose particular realities we live by - based on a past that is remembered and the choices we have made which have led to our present moment we are living.
For me painting evidences many realities which are competing for a position of authority and the artist has to make judgements to reign in the authoritative position of the mark and colour, seeking an aesthetic balance between all the marks and results of the decision processes. 
This has led me to the process of abstraction in making, drawing inspiration from the natural world and seeking syntheses between the reality of the observed and the reality of imagination.   We could say, possibly, that everything we see and experience is nothing more than our imagination and it is us, in our denial, who creates a false reality based upon the needs and desires of our inner-self.  Of course this can lead to such problems in our personal reality.   In this case we must get to know ourselves and not rely upon others' ideas of ourselves to construct our reality.

  We are the result of experiential realities, therefore we as a species need to become fully aware of our contribution to society and the world through the interactions we have.
For me the abstract is the only true reality and therefore one must submit to the abstractness of reality and see the world for what it is... abstract information which is used by our ideologies to construct a linear reality grounded in desire.
This is an inescapable truth - we are seeking the pleasure of living - how we find this pleasure is different in us all.  For myself the pleasure gained from seeing something beautiful is the key to syncing out of the time/ space continuum and into the other world - a world of no thought, no ideology and no questioning.  This is possibly, as Krishnamurti in his Flowering of Life booklet makes one aware of: The only true reality is when one gazes upon something of such aesthetic beauty, which is independent of another person's thoughts of 'ideal' beauty -  it can then be possible to say we are touching the edge of the sublime reality of truth and full awareness of 'being'.
  The act of creating something, of seeking the necessary truths of balance, composition and arrangements is the seeking of the divine within all acts of creation.  This goal in seeking a synthesis of various competing realities that inhabit the Universe, metamorphosing into forms which encapsulate the sublime, is possibly an emotive garnering of 'existential realities', moving towards a coherent understanding about what it means to 'be' and what we as 'beings' contribute to the understanding of ourselves, and the world, through the Art we create, see, experience and love.  

Image in progress

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Picasso y mi en Malaga.


Friday, 28 February 2014

Semana 2 & 3 en Malaga.

Hola, Buenas Tardes.
 It has been a very busy two weeks since last I wrote - Firstly I'd like to apologise for the time it has taken me to upload this text as promised - The time has flown so quickly whilst here.  When having fun the time moves quickly.  Three weeks in and I have been busy creating many sketches and writings, formulating ideas and bringing together research that I have done so far.  I have been learning Spanish and slowly it is sticking - I feel a little part of my mind creating a special area and finally can start to see how the words fit together and how the grammar works. It takes a while but once you see how it fits together then it sticks in the mind.  It is exciting when things begin to click... practica makes perfecto.
 I have been visiting many museums and galleries in and around Malaga and soon I will be travelling further a field to explore Sevilla, Cordoba, Cadiz and more to finalise research on La Historica de Espana for the intended murales (mural).
 I hope to begin the actual piece from Lunes 10th March - at which point I will be in the room most days from the afternoon through until the late evening.  I am itching to make a start - but I need to research a little more the region of Andalusia and its history/ mythology to form into the images that I proposed to produce.
 Currently I have been taking lots of photos, although I do not rely on photography to create my work - mainly I use my sketches and memory - drawing and painting the variety of objects and observations I have made so far.
Vallo from Estonia
 On Saturday 22nd February we visited Grenada and the Alhambra - WOW!  Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to take many photos due to circumstances out of my control - though thankfully a pencil and a sketchbook is generally all I require and my memory too.  The day was amazing and the opportunity to visit Grenada with the other artistas and estudiantes de Malaca Instituto was an great opportunity to know many I had not yet had the opportunity to converse with before.
 One of the problems with drawing though is not keeping up with the rest of the group and in this case I managed to lose the group on a few occasions and towards the end of the visit too - which was embarrassing to say the least - although it all worked out okay in the end, but it was still an event I do not wish to repeat again.  The moral?  Draw fast without looking at the paper, bring spare batteries for the camera and stick with the group. ;D
 The Alhambra is amazing and no words can really describe the experience of standing before such a great piece of work.  The intricately designed and constructed geometric designs are simply breathtaking using Nasrid Proportion.  The amount of work and time put into the majesty of the palace is overwhelming and begs for several visits to absorb everything.  Even so, with the reality that all of the work was made by the hands of people and not machines is something I am sure is not possible today, due to the loss of skills and/ or the cost involved in producing something on this scale.
 The geometric designs reminded me also of the Celtic designs from my home county/ country of Cornwall (South West England).  The way the lines interweave between one another, connecting elements of various areas into a cohesive whole - creating form and shape; like frequencies of sound creating form.  This abstraction brought a sense of the hidden reality or realm beyond our normal vision.  I equate it to how the world might seem if we saw the world without the mind which brings form to the vibrational patterns of energy.  Here the Islamic design makes apparent a reality that both exists and informs the material, without relying on 'recognisable' imagery of people, animal and nature - yet in the design the forms of nature come through the intricacies of the Nasrid designs.
Celtic Design
 Through the images and observations I have done thus far I intend to experiment with applying the techniques of the Nasrid Proportion to my piece in some way - although firstly I will need to research and create work exploring this style of proportion.  I will apply elements of nature to the design, using the many flora and fauna I have accumulated over the last three weeks and in my final piece/s on the wall (Pared) I will apply this proportional technique to the structure of the design, as this appears to be an underlying architectural and artistic reality to Spanish design from the past - the Islamic influence within the culture of Spain and a clear demonstration of how cross-fertilization of ideas, design and artistic creativity enhances the creative culture in the region of Andalusia.
 Throughout history we observe the way 'outsiders' influence and enhance another culture - using the best of both to form new synthesis' of artistic creativity, in turn pushing the evolution of art, design, architecture and ideologies into new areas of investigation - leading towards a new cultural enlightenment.  As a maker of 'stuff' (artist) I respond to this form of energetic creativity and it is one of the key factors for travelling to other countries, exploring at first hand the influences of the past upon the present and the seemingly indeterminable future.
 Below are some sketches I have been working on.  In these you can see that I have over-laid many images, creating a saturation of information from various subjects.  Each intersects and connects with one another, abstractly, from various 'eras'.  This exploration in the effects from the past and how it relates to the contemporary is key to my research, as well as using elements from the environment that I am currently surrounded by and taking part in through observation of space, forms, ideas, cultures, learning Spanish and its history. 
 I am also influenced and inspired from the local landscape via abstracting colour and form from local rocks - something you might have seen during my time in Cyprus.  In a sense my work becomes a form of history painting, set within the style of the collage with an interconnectedness between different eras/ times, through chance elements and intellectual rational.  My goal is to seek a synthesis between the past and the present and how these influence the development of our identity and our relationship with the past.  More on this later as I develop this line of inquiry.

 To finish I will also be exploring the use of a limited colour palette -  introducing black line work, bringing a mix of drawing and painting together, using the colours influenced from what I see in Spain (Grenada and others).  In this case the colours will be: Red (Rojo), Green (Verde), Gold (Dorado), Blue (Azul) and the tonal values of Black (Negro) and White (Blanco).  Again, more on this in another posting.
Hasta Luego.