Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Morning After

This morning my mind is not racing and is enjoying this... this... fluffy wordless bliss/emptiness filled with satisfaction and closure. (But it's taking extra long to write the post.)

I shall now conduct a debrief, by myself, here in public, because Annabelle is away and by the time we three meet my head will/should be filled with clothy concerns, and because I'm shamelessly happy. You may stop here and go on to the next blog in your feed if you like.

From the start I was on my usual soapbox of visual cohesion of group exhibits vs. plural persons showing disparate works in a shared space. Early on I was dissatisfied with the time spent  brainstorming but soon realized we all continued to think, shared freely, and held key aesthetic preferences in common. That we are used to seeing all manner of drawing in class helped.

Easy but costly methods like all works in the same colored, same style frame works for larger groups, but fewer constituents and less money prompted us to exercise our imagination. I personally like the clinical look of all white frames, for e.g. but we've seen it before, and in case of Go Figure, we would have lost the immediacy/intimacy of nude gesture drawing, our central theme. I can't remember who came up with the common wall idea, and how to present works; I know it wasn't me and am grateful she did.

Sam and Annabelle go to the same painting class and live near each other, so naturally they discussed ideas often. Early on I kept begging them to let me in on some of the discussions, as I felt I wasn't given the same length of time to mull over matters, but I stopped worrying as their "decisions" were either not dissimilar to my thinking, better than mine, or I didn't have strong feelings. A problem was at times I presented obstacles while I mulled over, and felt guilty but didn't hesitate to halt progress. In once instance, on a rather trivial matter of foamy back board to the matted pieces on the common wall, I dithered while I looked for biodegradable cardboard, but couldn't find any light-weight enough.  

We were lucky we shared a vision of sorts, because with different degrees of busyness, proclivity for communication styles and methods, and "lifestyle", I felt I was left "herding cats" on the admin side while they felt variously harassed by torrents of emails from me, bewildered by my panic, or left out because they hadn't read my emails and attachments. My emails are long. And frequent. Because I can't manage multiple in one go, and make many mistakes.

For me it was an eye-opener to communicate with people, my age or younger, who didn't adhere to what I and people near me consider the bare minimum of "communication" à la the 21st century. I often said I respect those who can resist, but I learned I didn't know how to communicate with them otherwise. This experience also gave me a glimpse into the richness of their unplugged lives. I am humbled but enriched for it. And still clueless as to what I can do should I find myself in a similar place. (Dot uses food to herd real felines, but I can't stress enough what spectacular cooks Sam and Annabelle are. Forget Facebook; let me taste the ginger and beetroot relish!)

We were mindful of the fine line between the common wall looking overcrowded/messy vs joyous/plentiful. That, in the end, was ten hours over two days of trial and error, youngest, tallest and fittest Sam going up and down, up and down a tiny metal stool putting up, taking down, swapping, and holding temporarily works while Annabelle, (with a temporary balance problem,) and I, (shortest and bung hip,) yes-ing, no-ing and good-but-not-the-best-ing, revisiting and revamping, until suddenly we fell silent because what we saw we knew we couldn't improve upon. Annabelle yesterday likened it to a ten-hour performance.

This morning I wondered if the common wall took the spotlight away from individual walls. Initially the entire, big, wall facing the entrance of the gallery was going to be the common wall, and I asked for the small one opposite, the one hidden as you enter the gallery, because my pieces didn't need much space. After hanging Annabelle's and Sam's works, Roger proposed, after much coaxing, we move my work to the left half of the big wall and use the remaining three walls collectively; his logic was to make the right half of the gallery a common space, and the left individual, because he saw four exhibitions put into one room from the start.

At first I didn't like it as it intervened with our vision of the spectacular common wall, and because I felt like I was being treated specially. Annabelle and I thought the space between my vertical and square pieces could be lessened to give more to the common. But I'm glad we went with Roger's vision. Annabelle and especially Sam have strong large pieces you can't ignore; mine are nice/fine but puny unless you took a closer look, and the more visible position works. More importantly the gallery is cleanly divided into two in about the same size, and we love our Women Cave especially after Vicky installed the couch.

I am besotted with our exhibition, to the point of feeling almost smug. Considering the small space; the freedom/support the gallery afforded us; the extremely tight budget; our collective experiences, knowledge and imagination; our body of work; the absolutely unstinting willingness by all three to make this "good"; the lack of competition; and though Sam and Annabelle will shake their heads in disbelieve, the relative abundance of time as exhibiting artists, we managed to show a best, if not the best, show we could.

And I tell you I started wondering how to top this visually, theoretically, cuz I'm not doing another for a long, long, long time. Nice to be so pleased with oneself!
Our hero, Roger Thorn, after he got our go ahead

The one last piece/series I wanted to work on, based on the perils of aging, I decided against after I did a few experiments. Ergo, no further work/photos of the colorful stuff on the floor requested by Donna; sorry. The subject is a personal one so the model would have had to be me and I realized I could either "whip up" something, mull over it, or abandon it, but I didn't want to see me in an exhibition. I have a cute caption that's good for another nine months:

I had all the answers in the world at 16. 
I had all the right questions at 26. 
So why am I so bewildered at 56?

Though I have weaving plans at the back of my mind, and was imagining a few more up until Friday, I'm having a hard time switching from paint to threads today. I must interrupt the natural order of projects and put on a couple of cotton warps, I think. But first is the short black and white warp, then I want a couple of short warps experimenting and attempting pleats.

In 29 days I go to Australia so I need to prep, pay, book, get a visa, confirm plans with friends, and prepare art materials for the mixed media workshops some more. But before all that, dust bunnies on the kitchen floor of all places are complaining of overcrowding. (They are bunnies, so I'm not saying it's my fault.) And Ben has precious few shirts outside the ironing basket.

And then there are fields of that which rhymes with "weaves" waiting outside.

3 comments:

  1. The more I reflect, the luckier I feel having done this with of Sam and Annabelle. I really didn't know them much before we started, other than that I liked them and what they did in class.

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  2. Wonderful, I'm thrilled for you all. Take time to enjoy it, the threads can wait.

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  3. Housework is much higher on the ladder - the floor is gritty with bits from firewood.

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