Archive for 2013

Leave Evaluation Aside, Be Naked, Create For Yourself

Wild Flowers In Jug, 2013, acrylic on paper

I have just started reading, The Gift by Lewis Hyde, How The Creative Spirit Transforms The World.  I've had this book for quite some time and picked it up a few times but never managed to get into it however, I opened it this morning and wanted to share this excerpt as I think it will resonate with most artists.  Poet, Allen Ginsberg, talks about the importance of leaving evaluation aside to enable to creative process to truly flow:

The parts of you that embarrass you the most are usually the most interesting poetically, are usually the most naked of all, the rawest, the goofiest, the strangest and the most eccentric and at the same time, most representative, most universal... That was something I learned from Kerouac, which was that spontaneous writing could be embarrassing... The cure for that is to write things down which you will not publish and which you won't show people.  To write secretly... so you can actually be free to say anything you want...

It means abandoning being a poet, abandoning your careerism, abandoning even the idea of writing any poetry, really abandoning, giving up as hopeless-abandoning the possibility of really expressing yourself to the notions of the world.  Abandoning the ideas of being a prophet with honor and dignity and abandoning the glory of poetry and just settling down in the much of your own mind ... You really have to make a resolution just to write for yourself ... in the sense of not writing to impress yourself, but just writing what your self is saying. (The Gift, Lewis Hyde, Canongate Books Ltd, 2007 pp.147- 8).

At this juncture in my creative career, or block, one might say, the above quote reminds me of why I started making art in the first place.  The love and joy of it now lost, swallowed by the muddy waters of conformity; applying for shows, appealing to galleries and ongoing rejection.  With this is mind and thanks to Renoir, I painted a vase of flowers because nobody was watching.

Wonderful Art From History

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New Paintings, Gabriella's Ghost and Clara's Confession

I recently finished a couple of paintings inspired by British Edwardian Actress Gabrielle Ray. Born in Manchester in 1883, Miss Ray first appeared on the stage when she was 10 years old and went on to become a sensation. A music hall dancer, Gabrielle was extremely beautiful and one of the most photographed women of her time.

Gabriella's Ghost

To find out more about her life, this link will take you to an excellent blog full of information and vintage postcards.  'Thank you Chris for sharing your research and material.'

Clara's Confession

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Artfinder, A New Adventure

The Rich Boy, Homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald (detail)

I am delighted to have been accepted by new online gallery Artfinder. Artfinder work will leading galleries and museums and have created partnerships with organisations including, The Barbican, Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue; The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), home of the British avant-garde;  and one of the worlds leading art and design schools, The Royal College of Art.  This is a quote taken from their website, 

Of the startup pitches I’ve heard in the past five years, Artfinder must be the most ambitious yet believable of them all, Jemima Kiss, The Guardian. 

As part of my initiation, I was interviewed about my practice and inspiration; you can read it by following this link.

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What Is The Best Work of Art Ever Made?

In an interview last week I was asked, 'What do you think the best work of art ever made is?'

The Raft of Medusa (1818–1819)
I was surprised by being posed such a difficult question as it's virtually impossible to specify one piece, however I felt it was better to offer a response and settled on The Raft of Medusa (1818–1819) by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault. I saw the painting in Le Louvre a couple of years ago and found it to be absolutely breathtaking.

It measures a staggering 491 x 716 cm and depicts the tragic aftermath of the wreck of French Naval Ship, The Medusa.  The extraordinary power of the painting and the technical genius are intensified by the fact that Géricault was only 27 years old when he painted it. Five years later, aged only 32, poor Géricault died from tuberculosis.

I came across this post by Steve Durbin which is an excellent account of the painting and the story behind it.

If you were asked to consider the best work of art ever made, what would it be and why?

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The Volatile and The Vain

The Stillness of Life, Jane E Porter and Guyan Porter

A Collaboration with Guyan Porter

In late December 2012, my brother and I worked on a collaborative project of still lives, inspired by Guyan's fascination and ongoing study into Theology, particularly Athiesm and my absolute love of symbolism and Vanitas paintings.

Vanitas is a genre of still-life painting that was prominent in Flanders in the early 17th Century.  The word Vanitas is a biblical term referring to the vanity of one's earthly status, a preoccupation with image, achievements and possessions, dominant issues in 21st Century western culture. The Dutch Vanitas paintings had a strong moral and religious message; beautifully painted objects of the affluent, sparkling jewels, gleaming silver, sumptuous florals resting on luxurious fabrics are juxtaposed by a burned out candle, a brass pocket watch, rotting fruit and a skull.  The rich and overt symbolism of these paintings remind us that, our accolades and acquisitions are transitory and cannot outplay our brief existence.  The prominent position and depiction of the skull prompts us to remember the inevitability of our final outcome, and regardless of our social standing, mortality calls.

Guyan and I used digital media to create our images, utilising antiques passed down from our Grandmother.  These objects were chosen to illustrate the passing of time and those we loved, the questions we never asked and words we didn't share.

Guyan Porter is an artist and writer based in the South East of England. He set up his first studio in Glasgow in 1994, organising, exhibiting in and curating artist led projects and multi media arts events. His practice incorporates sculpture, installation, architectural intervention, political dialogue and events combining performance, music and visual art. Showing work in non arts spaces, he has also worked with major organisations throughout the world.

You can find out more about Guyan and his work by following this link. 

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