What I intended to paint and what I actually painted were two different things entirely.
Following a tutorial where part of the discussion was around whether introducing an image or object created a narrative or whether we attributed a narrative to it; I began to ask other questions during my practice.
A return to the source
I was exploring the idea and process of abstract and figurative work.
The way in which paint was applied to create the abstraction, with systems of both chance and intention both fascinated me and sparked my imagination. Where does one end and the other begin? As my practice expanded its boundaries; this was a development point I was keen to pursue and perhaps combine the two.
Could work be both abstract and figurative? I had worked recently in an abstract
Considering the merging of fields or the
In the article by Stanley Marcus for American Artist(1997) Combining abstract art and figurative
” I’ve continually been on the cusp between realism and abstraction.”
Interestingly in the 2004 exhibition Sheila Isham: 50 Years of
Such figures are reminiscent of shadows recalled from our ancient collective subconscious and caught in an ongoing hallucination where they exist in a bizarre suspension between reality and dreams.
The concept of being in a state between linked back to the idea of the viewer and the artwork; the ascribed meaning or felt experience and the significance (if any) for the creative.
Can we create this state by combining the two fields and blurring the edges between them?
Could this then be a contemporising of the mystical?
In this sense it could be related to the otherness of art. the transcendent space we try and define in words. Is it a wordless experience rather than an academic one to be deconstructed? Does this process elevate or destroy the meaning or experience? Are all
There could be said to be a mystical element to all artwork without accompanying text. It is then the communion or direct experience of the viewer with the artwork that bears fruit. On the one
Now, where I began and where I finished were two very different places. When I began to paint (applying straight from the tube and creating an abstract surface). The figure that I originally sketched
It began to take on a life of its own and I allowed it to emerge. Reflecting back at this point on the process: in some ways, the previous small studies were like a freeing up; an idiosyncratic warm-up exercise for this bigger piece. Additionally, this was a purposeful way of ridding myself of the initial ‘blank canvas fear’, beginning with an explosion of
The gaps between the stories
We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the
(Atwood, 2012, p57)
As the work was emerging and evolving I was reading the Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood. The above quote
(Taken from The song of Wandering Angus)
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk amongst long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
the golden apples of the sun
W.B. Yeats(Yeats and Webb, 2000 , p45)
I continued with the same strong yet limited palette as a link and developed my own visual language ( some of which was hidden below the hem of the cloaked figure. Using literature as a source and connection was a natural progression for me – it was also my academic background.
Poetry deals in essences as does
Yeats’ poetry draws on and reweaves Irish history, legend, and literature with threads of gold. On an ancestral level his subjects at times connected to my own Celtic lineage . Cailte is the Irish version of my surname and is the warrior and stoyteller of the Fenian cycle in Irish mythology from which my family traditionally claim descent.
These strands are able to be both universal and personal at the same time. A tantalising segment of words. The edges of meaning.
Taken from The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
(Yeats and Webb, 2000 , p29)
This poem spoke to me of resonance, longing, and connection to a place
A non-traditional triptych
Visual poetry, essences and images.
Glimpses of something personal and universal.