Thursday, April 18, 2019

Alicia Henry

I went back to the Powerplant last week to see Alicia Henry's powerful exhibition, Witnessing for the second time.
 "Henry creates two-dimensional singular figures and group compositions that are commanding in their grace and expressiveness. "
 "Tender renditions of mother and child appear, as do groupings of more females that signifiy formations of families within communities"
 "Through their direct gaze and erect composure, Henry's multigenerational survivors exude a powerful strength and confidence.  They stand in anticipation of an egalitarian future - a utopian goal that underpins much of Henry's work"

 I am visiting the Powerplant in Toronto more this year because our daughter April (in above photo to demonstrate the gigantic scale of these wall mounted figures) is working right next door at Harbourfront craft and design studios as a resident artist this year.
I want to share the powerful simplicity and the confident handling of materials by Alicia Henry.  I was really moved and inspired by this exhibition. 
All text in quotes is from the pamphlet provided by The Power Plant. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

monumental simplicity

The installation of the work in this space at One Sky is celestial.
The pieces are like stars in a constellation, each in its place yet connected to the others with invisible power lines.
Monumental Simplicity is part of this exhibition.

I made it in 2012, the thesis piece for my UK degree. 
A large ‘empty’ square.
with a horizon
and repetitive small marks that distract the eye just enough.

More images of this exhibition are here.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

beauty emotion spirit soul

This post is about the gathering up and the installation of  the 18 pieces for my exhibition in Sudbury this month,  beauty emotion spirit soul.

We hung the show last night with the curator, Cristina Masotti,  and two of her friends.  Afterwards, Ned and I found a place to eat and then we drove home.  It's a two hour drive and we got home at midnight.
I have not been able to do a thing today except an instagram and a facebook post about the show.  I'm blank.

I want to put a poem into the guest book, or a quote by Pema Chodron.

I read something about Milton Avery's paintings this morning.
About how he instilled emotion into his paintings.  And optimistm.  And wonder.
I think that describes the work in this serene exhibition.
There is a lot of positive feedback about my work on social media.
A 15 minute kind of fame.
It makes me glad that I live with the ice-covered lake in front of me and the deer
who come by every morning and every evening.

Simple and quiet things that ground me.

Tomorrow night is the opening reception.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

are fairies real?

  I drove myself into the city last weekend so that I could spend some time with the 5 year old.
mommy-princess-fairy by aili
I usually avoid doing that drive by myself because of the merges and the exits and the speed of the 400 highways in southern ontario.
 I'm home now and finishing up this small piece for the Perivale gallery.
daddy-prince-fairy by aili
 Are elves real?
My friend Jane has advised  that I put this section of piecework into a frame.
(rather than insert it into larger textiles like I tried here and here.
So that's what I am planning to do for now.
fairy king by grandmom, daddy-fairy-prnce by aili
My grand daughter and I took turns with the ball point pen in my journal.

( what the world needs now is time to think - alighiero boetti  )
fairy nanny by aili
are fairies real?

Friday, March 15, 2019

an infinite changeless reality beneath the world of change

It's raining outside.
Our driveway has a slight up hill onto the road and it is ice.
Slippery wet ice.
I began a new journal today.
I fill one book a month.
When I die, they will be able to build a small house wtih the journals I've kept over the years.
Yesterday I walked on the road.
I used to love my walk but now it's such hard work.
I want to get back to loving it again.
I want to look forward to the moving meditation that was part of my daily routine.
Now with the leg, I look for reasons not to walk.

I long for the talking-to-myself-out-loud kind of walk,
not the counting-my-steps kind of walk that I do now.
Also, about the journals, if I didn't have them and the inner life they contain,
the poetry would be gone from my work.

This week I'm finishing up the three pieces I took with me to Mexico.
It feels good to be able to stitch again as much as I need to.
I've started to read the Bhagavad Gita, a book that Gandhi used as his personal guide.

Some say that this text is India's most important gift to the world.
It tells us that we are meant to be as much at home in our inner consciousness
as in the world of physical reality.
My copy is translated by Eknath Easwaran.  In the introduction he sums up the perennial philosophy of the Gita.

1. there is an infinite changeless reality beneath the world of change
2  this same reality lies at the core of every human
3  the purpose of life is to discover this reality through life experience
Representative stuff comes from out there.
Abstract design comes from inside.
The combination is what separates a work of art from the every dayness of experience.
It also gives the work an alien feeling that is mercilessly intimate. 
 (Frank Webb, painter)
journal paper stitched to an old table cloth
the deer in my driveway
my fragile life

Sunday, March 10, 2019

isla mujeres

a photo essay 
 taken from passenger seat of a rented golf cart
 as we zipped around the roads and streets of Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of yucatan penninsula, Mexico
 we were there on Mardi Gras day (not planned)
 the colour of the walls, doors, and window trim is joyous
 so much vibrant colour gives me the feeling of being loved
 Isla Mujeres translates to Women Island in english 

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Love absolutely

Q   How did you develop your own style and inner voice?
Q   Was there a defining moment for you or was it a gradual process?
A   I think it was a gradual process.  The main thing I did right from the beginning was to choose a subject that I absolutely loved.   It had to be something that I needed to personally communicate, not caring if it would be acceptable in the larger art world.
I started my career with what many would term gendered subjects and gendered techniques.
When I was a young mother, I painted my children in watercolour.  I started stitching when they were young because I could take the work with me to the sand pile or playground and it could be picked up and put down when I was so often interrupted.
I also read anything I could find about women artists and writers and found out that the best were true to themselves, and this inspired me to do the same.  It sounds easy, but to follow an inner voice or dream is actually quite a brave thing to do.
This self-directed study helped me to do my art while at the same time living my so-called normal life of wife and mother.
Once the kids left home, I started the embroidery degree from the UK through Julia Caprara’s school of textile art, OPUS.  My inner voice became even clearer through this directed study and I continue to work from the thesis I developed at that time.
Particularly important are Gaston Bachelard’s writings about inner immensity, Agnes Martin’s writings about paring away the unnecessary, and Ann Hamilton’s ideas about how we arrive at knowing through every sense, especially the sense of touch. 
I’d like to especially thank my tutors from the UK, Catherine Dormor, Kay Swancutt and Joan Richardson.
I do believe that making and exhibiting art is the best way to express our inner selves and communicate heart to heart with others.