I’ve been converting an A5 notebook into an art journal for the coming year. I usually have more than one art journal on the go. This one’s role is to encourage me to draw more often, and make notes of ideas as they flash though my brain. I coated all the pages with gesso, and have spent a few afternoons painting, inking and stenciling to get rid of much of the whiteness. I’m nearly finished and the process has been very therapeutic as I mourn the loss of Mum, and incredibly messy. I can’t wait to start gluing bits and bobs into it, drawing on top of the paint, and generally just using it – not storing it, putting it on the bookcase and leaving it there or making it too precious to use.
I’ve been interested in modern Aboriginal Art for the last 5 years or so, since being exposed to it as part of the theory side of my art study with TLC. Being in New Zealand, there’s little to be seen in the flesh, and really only the internet for exploration. Any books available tend to be about older, more traditional forms.
And then along came this – a beautiful new glossy magazine dedicated to Aboriginal Art and Artists. It has lots of beautiful full-colour photographs, scholarly articles, gallery adverts and more. Completely stunning. The second issue has just come out, that’s the one shown here, and it’s every bit as good as the first.
Did I mention that it’s around 180 glorious pages? And that I’m not on commission! Anyway, it has got me thinking about why I like modern Aboriginal Art and the short answer is – I’m not sure. The easy answer that springs to mind is joyful, colourful abstraction. But then I love some of the simpler, tonal works that have a Rothko feel. So it’s more than just colour, or abstraction or joy. I also love the aerial map feel of many of the works.
In the last few years I have worked on numerous series, obsessions really, such as the full moon, orange, shadows and pears. Only a tiny fraction of that study and obsession has ever been shown to anyone, even via my blog. And much of it is ongoing.
Now I think I might have to put all that aside for a while and delve into this obsession. Not that is is new, because it is not, but because suddenly I have this resource that I can study, pull apart, replicate, dissect and pore over. I suspect I’ll end up sewing, painting, drawing, collaging etc my way through the images until I begin to understand just what it is that draws me. I don’t want to produce Aboriginal Art – how can I when I am not an Aborigine? That would be mere copying. But if I can understand what draws me to it, I can transfer that joy to my own art practice.
Well, last week I had an exhibition in Wellington, with four other students, as the final step in my Advanced Diploma of Art & Creativity. Approx 300 people attended over the opening night and three days following, so that was excellent.
The Advanced Diploma is the equivalent of a BFA so I am really happy to have achieved it. It was fantastic fun. Hard work too mind you 😉
These photos show just 6 of more than 100 photos I have worked on over the last year. I used the same photo of each – of shadows on our concrete driveway. Early on, I coloured parts of the photo, then replicated the shadow lines. Over time, things got both simpler and more complex. I stopped “colouring in” but started playing with how the marks I made with paint or oil pastel did things to the shadow lines. In real life the white acrylic lines, in particular, seem to stand right off the photo, sitting way out in front as though in another plane – like they were on a transparent surface laying an inch or so above the photo.
(post edited 1 Oct 09 to replace slide show, that was playing up, with photos)
I have a lot of work to get through this term, so I have got into it already, starting with ORANGE. I painted test squares of 11 different orange paints and inks, and then mounted then on white, black and blue. It’s amazing what a difference the background colour makes. I guess this all sounds so very basic but there is a lot of theoretical thinking, and experimentation, going on. Great fun.