Sunday, December 23, 2012

Peace on earth...

Image by Yuya Horikawa, Kinkaju-ji Temple, Kyoto
The evening bell, solemn and bronze, sounds dimly in the melted
snow... slow beat of the mountain's heart perhaps.  Bell, mountain,
tree... symbol of quiet strength.  All seeking in this place.
All finding in this place... hidden but open to all...
Here are some images of my Christmas decor in my home this year.  I love naturals -- and have been collecting Santas for years.
xmas naturals added to my rock collections
basket of naturals with wrapped boxes
more wrapped boxes with fossils and naturals
Father Christmas, hand made by me
Another Father Christmas, hand made by me
My 9 foot tree decorated with Santas, bird nests, birds, natural balls, wrapped boxes
A new addition-- birched wrapped candle- hand made by me
Another birch wrapped candle
More birch wrapped candles
Leslie Avon Miller came for a visit and brought me this wonderful box of hand made gifts and naturals
Thank you Leslie... a very good friend.
My fireplace mantel  
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind 
And happiness will follow you
My wish for you in the new year...  happiness, peace,

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Poetics of Silence

Donna Watson, 8"x8" collage
"Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?  Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends.... or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak...Norton Jester
uploaded by miichan at here
Behind all creation is silence.
Silence is the essential condition, 
the vital ingredient for all creation and all that is created.
It is power in its own right.
The artist starts with a blank canvas - silence.
The composer places it between and behind the notes.
The very ground of your being, 
Out of which comes all your thoughts 
is silence.  --- Theresa Lasichak
uploaded by Nora Louise at here
The most wonderful silence is when snow is falling.  Sounds become muted.  Even the birds seem to be quietly waiting.  A moon-lit night is silent beauty.

October Moon, by Sarah Gillespie, more of her work found here

A wealth you cannot imagine 
flows through you.
Do not consider what strangers say.
Be secluded in your secret heart-house,
that bowl of silence.
Talking, no matter how humble-seeming,
is really a kind of bragging.
Let silence be the art you practice.
--- Rumi:  Bridge to the Soul

     Momoyama, uploaded by Michael Chandler, at Flickr found here  

It all happens in silence.  The way
light happens in the eye.
Love unites bodies.
They go on
filling each other with silence.
--- James Sabines, Pieces of Shadow

  Jo Van Rijckeghem

Sometimes a quiet piece of art can be achieved with subdued colors and minimal shapes.   Looking at art like this can be a place of refuge... of rest.

 uploaded by tokyo sanpopo at found here  

All that is cared for.
Left alone in the stillness
in that pure silence married
to the stillness of nature.
--- Linda Gregg

   Akhra Ajinja

uploaded by Yubo Mojao at Flickr, here

The way to silence is through meditation.
When you arrive in your own silence
You will know true freedom and real power.
Stop, take a minute,
and listen to the silence within you today
Theresa Lasichak, found at Flickr here 

Quail eggs in a Japanese bowl by Sarah Gillespie
come to my quietness
I shall cover you with it, like
a white sheet that has blown all day in 
the sun, like a mountain lake
filled with spring, it shall slip over you.
--- Diane di Prima

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Deconstructing Books

Donna Watson, Authenticity, mixed media, 24"x24", 2005
I am becoming more and more interested in book art.  I recently discovered this artist who uses books as his part of his mixed media pieces by deconstructing books down to their essence of paper and ink.

Jordi Alacarz lives and works in Barcelona, Spain.  His works have been shown at numerous exhibitions and museums around the world.

Alcaraz combines sculpture, paint, writing and woodworking into glass encased "books".
 The deconstructed books are created in layers:  first the paper object, ink, paint and pencil.  These are then enclosed in plexiglass which Alcaraz melts, distorting the surface image to which he often adds
more paint.  He then creates a wooden frame and a second, smooth plexiglass surface which frames the entire piece.

Here is an example of a surface of plexiglass that has been melted and distorted.

Alcaraz plays special attention to literature and the use of books.  The essence of literature can be found in the written word laid upon paper.  Ink is formed into letters, then into words, and further into text.

He focuses on the material aspects of writing by reducing them to their physical elements for artistic and compositional purposes.  There is a parallel between the work he creates and the literature that these materials represent;  both transforming books, paper and ink into windows into our imagination.

      "... Within the book, or doubled,
Freed, in silvered glass;
Into all other bodies
Yourself should pass.
The glass does not dissolve;
Like walls the mirrors stand;
The printed page gives back
Words by another hand."
                                                           --- Louise Bogan, Man Alone   

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Reluctant Artist

Donna Watson, altered digital image of nest, rice papers, acrylic

Miroslave Tichy was born in Czechoslavia in 1926.  He studied painting but never finished due to communism in his country in 1948.  Tichy dropped out and became a dissident and a hermit.  He refused to kowtow to the communist regime and spent 8 years in prison.  He retreated from society, grew a beard, left his hair uncut and wore tattered clothing.  He became interested in photography but had little money.

Tichy would gather trash such as empty cans, old glasses, shoe boxes, plexiglass and other junk that he could use to make his own cameras.  For his lens, he would cut plexiglass with a knife.

  Using these cardboard cameras constructed from found materials like clothespins, spools, tubes, string), Tichy shot about 2 rolls of film per day, mostly of females caught unaware in the midst of their day-to-day activities (sunbathing, reading, riding bikes, sitting on park benches).

By the end of each day he would have about 100 shots.  While there is an element of voyeurism to his images, the women became used to Tichy wandering about and taking their pictures from a distance.

Tichy never showed anyone his photographs.  As a matter of fact, he usually threw them into a heap on the floor.  They would be stepped on, scratched, crumpled up, or left out in the rain.  Old and neglected, many of them have partially oxidized.  They are covered with fingerprints, grit, insects...they are small and oddly shaped.

The photographs looked like the mistakes other photographers would throw away.  But for Tichy
the imperfections are where the beauty resides:  "The flaws are part of it.  That's the poetry."

Many of Tichy's photographs ended up in a big heap on the floor.
Tichy lived in a small hut most of his live.   He never traveled far from his hut nor the town he lived near.  He never showed his photographs to anyone.  He was considered an eccentric artist.

He may have had a foot fetish.  A lot of his photographs are of women's legs, feet, or shoes.

It is only a few years ago that the public was able to view the pictures he took with his homemade cameras.  His first solo exhibit went straight into the main exhibition space in the Kunsthaus Zurich.
Tichy refused to go to any of his exhibits.  A number of books have published his images.  Tichy passed away this year.

"Photography is painting with light!  The blurs, the spots, those are errors!  But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting." --- Miroslav Tichy

"Identity is gradual, cumulative; because there is no need for it to manifest itself, it shows itself intermittently, the way a star hints at the pulse of its being by means of its flickering light.  But at what moment in this oscillation is our true self manifested?  In the darkness or the twinkle?"
---  Sergio Chejfec,  The Planets

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Museum of Innocence

 Donna Watson Assemblage:  Antique Shinto Box, bird nest, bird eggs, sumi brush, Asian coin, Asian game pieces, joss sticks, reproduction of a crow skull

Orhan Pamuk, Turkish writer and winner of the Nobel prize for literature published his novel titled MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE in 2008.  He also spent years, and all his Nobel prize money roving and searching Istanbul's junk shops and market stalls looking for bits and pieces with which to furnish the novel he was writing.

In the novel, Kemal, a prosperous man has a love affair with a lower class shop girl and cousin, Fusun.  After ending the affair, Kemal becomes obsessed, over a period of 2,864 days, of obsessively collecting objects, like cigarette stubs that Fusun had smoked.
Pamuk, the author, also began to collect objects to assemble and correspond to the families and impassioned lover's stories in the book. 

Pamuk spent many years creating a museum to house the thousands of objects he collected for the novel.  The museum is housed in a wine-red four storey building constructed in 1897, in Istanbul, Turkey.

The museum consists of 83 cabinets, each representing a chapter of the book.  The novel's wealthy protagonist, in love with his cousin, soothes his despair by collecting everything that she has touched, and he decides that all these things must be displayed in a museum.

"The Museum of Innocence - just like the novel - is about the line between fiction and reality." -Orhan Pamuk

The first display greeting the visitor is the cigarette wall with 4,213 cigarette stubs smoked by Fusun.
The exhibit is accompanied by a film reel, shot by Pamuk himself, showing a woman's hand movements as she smokes and taps a cigarette.  Beneath each stub is a handwritten note about the day in which the stub was stolen.

"I think that if museums, like novels, were to focus more on private and personal stories, they would be better able to bring out our collective humanity."  Orhan Pamuk

"Most of us, faced with a traumatic loss of life or love, find consolation in attaching ourselves to objects."  Orhan Pamuk

Before writing his novel, Pamuk began to buy a large number of objects from shops at the flea markets in Istanbul.  Instead of writing about the objects and then looking for them, he did the opposite.  He went shopping first, and wrote his book based on all the things acquired.

When Pamuk was younger, he dreamed of becoming a painter and devoted himself to art.  As he became a writer, the visual artist in him became dormant.  "The artist lying dormant in the depths of my soul has been looking for an opportunity to come back to life." --Orhan Pamuk
The novel and the museum are concerned with entirely different sides of the same story.  This is why visitors to the museum do not need to have read the book to appreciate the displays in the museum.

A ticket to the museum is printed in each copy of the book.  When visitors arrive at the museum with their books, they can show the ticket page and have it stamped.

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your soul according to the fashion.  Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."  Franz Kafka