Wednesday, August 17, 2011

speaking about one's art practice and current project

Since early June I've been telling the story of my art practice and current project in varied venues and contexts. After the velocity of last year's residency schedule the most welcome change of pace early this year meant time to reflect, process and plan anew. So... in late May ... when I conducted the Colours of Nature workshop at Caloundra for the Queensland Colour Society things started to take off again... plans rolling out... then a host of other opportunities sparking into life all at the same time.

the colours of nature: the nature of colours

All I can say is that it was crucial to have had those nourishing few months of quiet time...not that I wasn't busy in my studio. Years spent writing and documenting in a visual journal have made reflection  a critical part of my Art Practice. I'd be lost without it. And, for me, the way I find a project matures is to have such stretches of time for 'burrowing in'... to hold still with what has formed to date and consider it more fully.

This school setting was an excellent community hub for a brilliant program of events, presentations and speakers on Sustainability - nothing had been forgotten in the planning and because of that I was able to link with all kinds of initiatives and people throughout this event.

It was also an opportunity to  rethink the focus for the public talk and presentation stand. Photocopying pages of my journals and adding quotes ...all in black and white (very inexpensive at the copy shop)... I soon had a great wallpaper of ideas and images for the backdrop to the stand.

Preparing for this helped  find the central things I wanted to communicate + earmark things to develop further. There's so much synthesising with this project...gathering endless info is pointless without the necessary sifting and distilling as I go.

The children I've taught in the last few years after school, when time permitted, have reminded me constantly of how they see the world. Very often this 'seeing' is dismissed... the value of observing how they navigate, learn and arrive at their conclusions not considered... yet... they can surprise one constantly with their perceptions and what it is they hold close to their hearts.

if we are very honest with ourselves... certain traits and passions may reveal themselves quite early on in our own lives and no matter what influences bear down over the years there's an underlying truth for each of us that can very often be spotted in the early stages of our individual journeys ...and may well be of perrennial resonance.

Last year was an immersion in ideas and experiences at a great rate of learning. The Seed Lab,  the Botanic  Gardens as a whole...and the web of connections they inhabit or orbit around. Thinking was a veritable banquet of possibilities.

This year has been about extracting essential components of the bigger picture....seeing the paradox in things... the more time to see and drill down the more complex and layered everything becomes.

And yet... the desire to speak to things of importance... to give shape and meaning to ideas.

Format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each, 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame. Pecha Kucha Brisbane is an event where any designer, artist, architect, interactive media or alike, are given the soapbox to present their designs, thoughts and ideas. Founded by Klein Dytham Architects (KDA) in Tokyo in 2003, Pecha Kucha (Japanese for 'the sound of conversation') has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown. It has spread internationally to over 170 cities.

The Pecha Kucha evening was a grand example of this. On July 7th I joined 8 other speakers at  Pecha Kucha  ... 20 slides and 20 seconds each slide was certainly a gripping challenge. I wrote about it in my blogs in July... if the year was about this defining of the central story this night was it!

I became involved in July in "Homegrown - life in the Slow Lane" a project established by the Design Institute of Australia - Qld for the Southbank Corporation's 'Flavours of the Region' festival. I found myself on a team with 4 others creating an installation called 'back to basics'. It was actually an interesting collaboration. I got to really like the 4 on my team even though I was easily old enough to be Mother to them all. Our work was awarded second in the competition.

However I must say I was distracted by the ideas getting time and space through this project... like minds and curious minds...

This was the lectern for the empty shop come pop-up hub of the project. Vegetable boxes made a great stand. And below are the table settings which gave each of the teams a place to focus their theme.

This is the place setting for my team - team 8..... note the seeds of course!

Natalie Wright who was at the centre of this entire project... an amazing Tour de force!

Team 9: Seek, and you shall dine

Bunya nuts... looking at the indigneous food plants of this region.

Araucaria bidwilli - bunya pine 

Team 5: Green Digital, Homegrown Variety.

The ordinary kitchen herb is the hero in this project...

I brought this herb home and planted it in this cup below.

I soon realised this was not such a good place to plant this herb and shifted it to the wheelbarrow garden outside. No photos of that yet!

In the last month or two I have presented about my project easily 10 times... and also run a whole series of workshops 'the colours of nature : the nature of colours'... for all ages and levels of experience. Each time though I was fascinated to see how the interactions with others and changing contexts shifted the focus considerably and the exploration of the topic. 
I felt like I came away with far richer perspectives many times. Its been a densely satisfying and informing period.
And so many of those moments have led me to reflect significantly on the paintings I've done and wish to do. Interesting how the world comes to meet one as much as one goes to meet the world!

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Blogging for me is an extension of keeping a journal which I have done in various forms over the decades. The difference being this is not a closed book! I like that it offers an opportunity to explore that which concerns me as an artist and as an individual about living and participating in this vastly complex, unquestionably exciting yet unnerving time in human history. Through the blog I hope to increase the possibilties for cross-pollination which I believe can strengthen the sense of being part of something both personal and universal that is vital, expansive and refreshing.