Friday, September 5, 2008

Envy, longevity and dance

Envy: The University where I used to work has had a 3 day festival to celebrate the opening of the new Art building these last few days. I was in awe of their screen printing set up – acres of print tables!! A special hooded enclosure with high pressure hoses to wash out newly made photo emulsion screens, a dark room, hoods for mixing dyes, washer/dryer right there!!! And best of all a whole wall of glass looking out over grass and trees.

Longevity: I attended a lecture on Art History and realized why studying for an MFA really wasn’t for me!!! Somehow I couldn’t get excited about the decisions of a 12th century architect on which gothic decorations to use on his choirs, or even more esoteric – how much paperwork still existed that showed the cost of his choices!! A second lecture on symbolism in 18th Century painting was quite fascinating, however – I’m not sure if the artist Really Intended it, or the historian Deduced down to the last degree of deduction! But the lecturer made a good case for every object, line, colour and direction, placement of objects and people being completely supportive of contemporary political themes. (William Mount, painting at the time of the Andrew Jackson presidency). Every aspect of the painting was present for both compositional reasons and in order to emphasize a specific political message. Nothing arbitrary at all.

It was also quite fascinating to see how Mount had used the same compositional structure in quite a different painting. Firm infrastructure leads to longevity! Paintings that stand the test of time have a clear infrastructure. And, a strong structure with a balance of elements and clear relationships between the elements can be used several times. You don’t need to keep on reinventing the wheel – but you do need to do it once, at least!!

Dance: Following the Art History lectures, was a performance of the university CORE concert dance company. They poured liquid acrylic paint onto a large plastic sheet pegged onto the grass and 9 or 10 dancers in white clothes then slithered and stretched and rolled their way across it! They gradually turned themselves in multi colored beings!!! More fun than screen printing to decorate clothing or fabric? I wonder if I could get people to try it in my next workshop. First take off your clothes, now wrap this white cotton around you.....

Of course I forgot to take my camera..but you can download a brief video archive which gives some idea of the amazing versatility of the CORE company. (click on the left hand white arrow shape, just next to the loudspeaker symbol and the movie should start).

And , if you have been, thanks for reading!


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