Tag Archives: art

‘Tender Collisions’ Finally in English

the-windmills-fix

The Windmills of My Mind, 40 x 30 cm, watercolor and pencil on paper

In September 2016 I had my first solo exhibition in Bulgaria. It was organised with the kind support of Kinnarps Bulgaria in their Sofia showroom – terrific venue where the art could interact with the Scandinavian chic of the Kinnarps brand.

The exhibition was titled Tender Collisions and presented an entirely new body of work, which came as a result of the decision my husband and I took about a year and a half ago, to live round the world as nomads.

The nomadic lifestyle meant giving up my studio, which in turn forced me to revise my entire way of art making. As all our possessions are now limited the 23 kg per person – the maximum allowed by airlines, all I can carry with me is a set of water colours.

The self imposed technical limitations urged me to de-clutter and streamline my thinking and took my art to a rather unexpected abstract direction.

So it is not surprising that Tender Collisions marks a complete turning point in my work  – yet again. But, as Oscar Wilde once said, “consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”- and who am I to argue with Oscar Wilde?

Photographing the works with their white backgrounds proved a challenge to me so  I made some digital corrections, but even then the actual pieces look much more transparent and light. So, let’s hope that a worldwide tour of the show brings it to a place near you  one day 😉

Meanwhile, to read my intro to  Tender Collisions and see the images, click   here.

 

Intentional vs Unintentional

Self collage with mat

These thoughts were prompted by another self portrait which I produced yesterday – all of a sudden. Again.  I claim that I am not inclined to introspection and I never really take to self portraiture deliberately, so one can say that my self portraits, of which I already have five (??) are unintentional. Looking at them raises two questions – one, of course, is what do these self portraits tell me about me and the other – what is the role of intention in art – mine and in general. As a person not inclined to introspection as proclaimed, I am more interested in the latter.

In my view, intention has to do with one’s sense of mission and purpose – things undoubtedly very important. But then, sticking to intention, or rather, to the principle of intentionality requires control – the instant creativity killer. Is intention in art antipodal to creativity?

Looking at my work in general, I can divide it into two parts – completely unintentional – most of it you can see here, and intentional – or rather work that has started with intention.  On two instances already, I have started working on an intention – something a lot less specific than a plan, but with a certain vision in mind. Both times the end result has hardly anything to do with my initial vision/intention. One resulted in the Abduction series and the other – in the  pieces which I am working on at the moment – you can see them Here and here. What I found out is that intention, once I start working on it (and this is a long thought process with or without a pen in hand), leads me outside itself. It is not even a gradual shift but an abrupt revelation – an idea literally strikes.

Then there is the unintentional work, which usually occurs when I decide to try this or that technique, and which includes some of (what I believe are) my best pieces. I usually have no specific idea or outcome in mind when I do that.

The question which I am pondering over is whether creativity is born at the point when intention meets serendipity. Let me know your thoughts.

Insomnia

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Fabric, plastic sheet, polyester wadding, rope, PVC pipe, food colouring solution, wood, alarm clock

As much as it feels like a state of the mind, sleeplessness is a physical condition, a malfunction of the brain. Insomnia gives you a lot of time to think – of your insomnia among (endless) other things. The paradox is, that the grave anxieties which cause insomnia more often than not manifest themselves in trivial thoughts that roam in your head while you are tossing and turning in the dark.

Using trivial materials found in the drawers, cabinets, and the garden of my home and studio – the spaces I inhabit physically during the day, I have created an object which is a material embodiment of my insomniac mind. Assembling this entanglement felt like I was holding my thoughts in my hands. Weird, but fun.

Insomnia was included in Nocturnes, a group art show which I curated in The Grand Gallery in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Here are a couple of other images showing “the thing”:

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Photography: Christine Matthai

Self Portrait in REM

Self Portrait in REM Boryana

This is one of two pieces which were included in Nocturnes, a group art show which I curated here in Freeport.  Nocturnes opening was last night and generated a lot of interest. I am preparing a full case study of the experience, which will be published here in due course.

The piece is titled Self Portrait in REM and is executed in acrylic on paper. My amateurish photograph doesn’t do it full justice, but you can get the idea.

Rapid eye movement sleep, or REM, is one of the five stages of sleep that most people experience nightly. It is characterized by quick, random movements of the eyes and paralysis of the muscles. It’s during this stage of sleep that most people are able to have especially vivid dreams.

While most of us see dreams when sleeping, I have visions from my disturbed nights when I am awake. This image must have been one of them.  It came about spontaneously, in the midst of other things. The idea for Nocturnes was already brewing in my mind so it must have had something to do with it.

Rapid eye movement also alludes to the rapid movement of the hand while creating this entirely gestural piece. Gestural painting is possible only when one is deep ‘in the zone’ – a state of mind  as far from awareness as only sleep could be.  Maybe for this reason, even in retrospective, it is impossible for me to differentiate between intention and accident in the content and form of this piece, including its title.

The Bullet In The Eye Of The Beholder

… came from this pistol:

DeadOn… a piece, titled “Dead On” by photographer Jackie Black.

“Dead On” puts the viewer directly in front of a pistol floating in an abyss of darkness. Spend a few moments looking at this image.

In Jackie’s own words she is drawn to the pistols as a theme of her art because of their beauty. Not quite what you would have expected.  Some argue, that if she wanted to focus on the beauty of the pistol as an object, she could have presented it from a lateral perspective which would show its form and proportions.  Instead of a tame, catalog-style side view however,  she chose the energetic, frontal view which turns the pistol into a striking abstract shape of laconic perfection. Its single eye stares at you with such engaging intensity that you have an almost physical sensation of its presence.

The fact that there is no hand holding the pistol adds a surreal feel to the scene, of which you are now a part, whether you wanted it or not. Without the hand of the shooter, you are not facing a killer with his motivations and justifications – but the sheer phenomenality of the weapon and its unblemished, minimalist beauty.

A good piece of art always contains conflict at some level. This is as valid for the visual arts as it is for fiction, poetry, drama or music. In ‘Dead On’ the conflict is between the  pistol as a killing device and its irresistible beauty as an object. It is this tension between two extremes, which bursts into a myriad of associations and questions in the mind of the viewer. And this is what makes the depth of this artwork.

We are the only species on the planet, capable of creating beauty and tools – including tools for killing.  Where, in the complex puzzle of the human mind does the need for beauty, the appetite for killing meet?  How are they related?

If ‘Dead On’ triggered questions in your mind (pun intended) – please share.

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Jackie Black chooses difficult and often unforgiving subjects for her art  ranging from gender, death penalty, and arms, to children and animals. Her eye is both penetrating and loving and her visual idiom – austere and intense.  To learn about Jackie Black and see her moving, poignant and ultimately, beautiful work, go to www.jackieblack.com