Sunday, November 10, 2019

different perspectives

The view from a moving train is different from that on a platform, although the two viewers may be within meters of each other.  The experience is different in so many more ways than vantage point.
The noise, the speed, the shaking, the momentum, the humidity, the voices of fellow passengers, the smell, the temperature, the path traveled prior to that point, swamp the  experience of the train traveler.  Glancing at the person on the platform, how can we begin to see through their eyes?
Cultural clashes are like that.  but this relativism is a truth for all humans.  Even those who share the same culture, the same house, the same family, have starkly different experiences.  We are each on our own train and our views are peculiar to our own experiences.
But we crave understanding.  We need it for our survival.  As social beings we collaborate to solve problems that confront us all.  Wherever we are born and whatever language we speak there is a field of inherent questions that arises as a natural outcome of life.
What are we?
What should we do?
What of birth and death?
And no matter the diverse social constructs that form our reality, the answers from one lone traveler can always intrigue and be of use to another.
This is the spore that art can carry.  At the same time that we are never able to truly empathize with another human being, we can share at a deep level around the absolute pillars of existence that are not socially determined:  We are born.  We may love.  We will die.
At a time that even gravity is not a constant, our shared biological and neurological truths are common and infinitely unchanging.

The amazing text in this post is by Will Stubbs and is from his essay,  "art of the artless"  about the artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu in the book Marking The Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, catalogue for the exhibition curated by Henry F Skerritt.

The images are of  my new piece, Noble Tenderness, a different perspective of my Awakened Heart.  I packed it up gently and brought it to Toronto last week to deliver to Karen from Guildworks gallery, Prince Edward County Ontario.

There is also an image of a walk in the park near where my grand children live in the city.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Path of the Heart: Lenore Tawney

To be an artist, you must be brave.

You can't let yourself be scared by a blank sheet of drawing paper or a white canvas.

But what you put on that paper or canvas must come from your deepest self.
To discover this place is our aim and our goal.

Your attitude of openness toward this place in yourself can be like the thick layer of leaves on the forest floor, in that it is always there, no matter what goes on above.
Our instinct drives us downward to the source; there we have visionary experiences made visible.
This can be what motivates you to keep on what I call The Path of the Heart
This path and the seed of your own work are within each one of you.

(her work smock)
One thing I must tell you: what we most try to avoid in life is, in fact, our greatest teacher
- that is pain, anguish.
This pain and this anguish, take us off the surface of life and into the depths where the treasure lies.
This is your life, dear friends.
Meet it with bravery and with great love."   Lenore Tawney
(the black coat she wore to her openings)
The text in this post is Lenore Tawney's commencement address to the graduating students of the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1992

The images are from my visit to the exhibition Mirror of the Universe at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan Wisconsin.   The main exhibit remains up until March 7.  Cloud Labyrinth comes down January 19 2020.    I have written about this exhibition with more clarity on Modernist Aesthetic.   go see. xo

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

magic break

 we took off for 6 days into the colour
 stayed in hotels, had nice dinners
 listened to an audio book
 it was a break
 it felt like we were in our own time capsule
 just the two of us, specks in this awesome world
I stitched,
looked out the car window
This is your life, dear friends. 
Meet it with bravery and with great love. 
Lenore Tawney 1992

Sunday, October 13, 2019

the aesthetic of craftsmanship

meticulous workmanship
utter concentration
traditional techniques
learning the skill takes time
making the object takes time
 don't look for a short cut
the flow of work is what is important
not how many hours it takes
 bring all of yourself to what you do
simplicity is arrived at through complexity

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

not sure

(These leaves are called gunnera and I love them)
not so sure about my work
not sure if it is necessary

yes, it gives me reasons
to get up
to dream, but
it will not save the world
when I was a young mom
I took my first fine arts degrere from Lakehead University

I wrote an essay about Kathe Kollwitz
and Henri Matisse
( I thought it was a rhubarb plant when I planted it 25 years ago)

My thesis was that Kollwitz made her work
because she wanted to change the world somehow
She hoped to make a difference

She was against war
and her paintings and prints about human sorrow
about mothers mourning
and women raging
moved me

they moved me a lot
I was irritated at that time
when I was young
by Matisse
who went to the south of France
and said that he wanted to make
art that soothed people

he wanted his work to make them feel
as if they were sitting in an armchair
and could forget about the trouble out there in the world
(it's sometimes called Dinosaur food)

my teacher at the time criticized me
for these ideas
She was right
I based my argument on nothing
but gut reaction

I looked at Kollwitz's work and saw her clear message

I loved Matisse, but didn't know why
and his words
made me

not sure
now that I have matured as an artist
I understand Matisse

My own work
is about finding heart in the inner world
not the outer
but these days
Kollwitz comes to mind

and I'm not sure 

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

new biography

Judy Martin was born (1951) in the Fort Frances area of North Western Ontario and grew up on a large property with a lone elm tree that could be seen for miles.   Her father built and constantly renovated the family home,  her mother landscaped the yard with evergreens and filled the house with books and art supplies.
Judy married Ned Martin when she was 22 and the couple raised four children in three beautiful Northern Ontario locations, Thunder Bay, Kenora, and Manitoulin Island.  Judy and her husband continue to live and work on Manitoulin.
 Martin made her first quilt when she was 20, undaunted by the difficult pattern, Crown of Thorns.   She continues to make quilts but although her work has become simpler, it has not become smaller. Her textiles are like drawings, made from plant-dyed wool, silk, or re-purposed fabrics that have been sewn into artworks measured in feet rather than inches. 
 Martin believes that the sense of touch is the most effective way to make an emotional connection with another and her surfaces are covered with hand stitches. 
The repetition and weight of these marks over broad expanses of cloth seem to give access to our inner world.
While living in Kenora, Martin acquired an honours BFA degree from Lakehead University.  Her thesis exhibition included a sewn walk-through house and a wall quilt entitled Hold Me.  
Throughout the 90’s, Judy exhibited tender watercolour paintings of her children as well as quilts made from dyed and over-dyed fabrics.  In these textiles, she worked with two or more traditional quilt patterns in order to create a story or a poem using that feminine code.
 In 2012 Martin acquired a second university degree.  (first class honours BA in Embroidered Textiles from Middlesex University in the UK)  
She continues to study fine art and literature on her own, and keeps notebooks to help organize her constant search for meaning. 
Judy’s work has been widely exhibited across Canada as well as Europe, the United States, Japan and China. 
 In 2015 her stitched artwork was featured in the book Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art by Claire Wellesley Smith and in 2018, she received the Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee Mid-Career Award for Excellence. 

p.s.  It has been a while since I put information about my parents and my children into one of my biographies or about that lone Elm Tree that I grew up with.  More about the images can be found in the New Work blog, here  and here