After several years of carving, crafting, working and whipping up huge sculptural stories, tonight in Johannesburg the opening of my husband solo show will showcase all that work in one space at Graham’s Fine Art Gallery (photos from the gallery)
The sculptor was amazed to see himself larger than life. ( I see this everyday!) but literally plastered all over the building.
A month at sea, a stay in the port and then the drive from Durban to Johannesburg to the gallery, the sculptures arrived not quite without hiccup.
A few damaged and the repair kit missing added to the drama. However, hoping today that has all been fixed. I haven’t heard any updates so praying that everything is going well.
So he spent an intense day unloading and setting up.
Yesterday, he had interviews.
Tonight the show will open. I am so excited all the way back home here in North Yorkshire and anticipating hearing all about it….find out more tomorrow.
Here is a sneak preview :
At the beginning of the year my husband took a trip to Johannesburg to check out a gallery there which was interested in his work. His trip turned into his usual adventure with tales to tell and amusing anecdotes to recount. Excitingly though he was really impressed by the space and what the gallery could deliver.
So began the next process of getting the sculptures ready and wrapped. Arranging meetings with the shipping company and which sculptures were going on the voyage. It was almost a huge relief when they left the studio revealing again space to start creating again.
The pieces looked like Christo’s work, wrapped and draped:
So I think a total of 24 sculptures and a sketch book to be framed and mounted were all at sea for the last month. Now the anticipation is of them arriving safely from Durban travelling to Graham’s Gallery in Johannesburg for a large solo exhibition titled, ‘Seasons’. This is including the collections, ‘Mother and Child’, The Giants and the collection of heads.
His work explores the human condition and the human form, paring the visible shape down to it’s most minimal to describe the body as a simply a vessel which houses a shared human experience.
‘Seasons’ is a word I have only recently come across, being used as a term to describe the period of time we are in, not only the climatic shift from Winter into Spring. I am in a shifting season I think to match the time of year. Especially in motherhood do we experience extreme and often changing seasons but anyone experiences different times in their life and approaches to those moment. There is always the potential for change.
It seams a little surreal that this month on May 25th it will be the opening to his large solo show. There is still quite a lot of preparation to do before then and the sculptor will have to fly out before hand to check out each pieces do any necessary repairs and set up the exhibition. It’s going to be amazing to see such a collection in a professional space all together.
This is the latest piece in the Giant Collection which I wrote about in an earlier post, the other two now stand proudly in Berkeley square house, London. Yesterday this piece, with much relief just about fitted into the hired van and went down to London with the sculptor and his right hand man. It is to be exhibited this week in Flux exhibition which was covered in FAD magazine. ( which you can see in the link). Anyway, enough of the promotion.
The Giant collection looks at stages in mental depression. Despite class or education most people all share a high level of knowledge and depth of thought. Looking through the history of art, some of the best art has been produced at a time of depression that the artist went through. The “Giant” collection speaks of three periods of depression which resulted in three sculptures presenting, the beginning with the silent period (Bird whisperer) and the middle period when every small thing becomes a heavy weight on your shoulders (Atlas). Lastly, the break through when the person comes out through the other side (Big Step). This collection is brightly coloured even though its portraying a dark period. Some of us agree that the period of depression is a period of realisation and self discovery. Sometimes we need that grappling with ourselves to become enlightened.
I like this photo above because of the shadows, which play an important role in my husbands work. With himself in the picture we can see the scale of this work but also his shadow is cast within the shadow of the sculptor, as though the sculptor is within his sculpture.
When asked how he created his masterpiece, Michelangelo said, “It was easy. You just chip away that which does not look like David.” I think my husband works in this same way. He sees the sculpture within the material.
Whilst my husband is focusing on the art of creating art. I have been looking into the art of tidying and de-cluttering in order to make more space within the space of our home. One of my discoveries was Maura, who uses the Michelangelo quote and goes on to say. “What if our lives are our masterpiece? What if we chipped away all that was unnecessary, all the clutter and the busyness, and focused on that which really mattered – our passions and our relationships.”
A few months ago I read Marie Kondo’s book The art of tidying which prompted me to start with clothing and thinking about what ‘Spark’s joy’. But now I am more in a state of purging, of de-cluttering and de-owning things that really don’t serve any purpose. It’s an interesting battle as I look at a shelf and think I want that to be empty and free, that’s easy. It’s hard when you first look at something and somehow it has memories and attachments for what ever reason. However, It is so liberating though when it works. In my kitchen, I got rid of things I wasn’t using, re ordered the cupboards and have created more work surface area. As the sculptor is now in London for a few days with the exhibition, I have boys and business and home and school to manage. Yesterday evening we came in late after Taekwando and despite being unorganised in not knowing what we were having for tea, the tidy kitchen surfaces aided my ability to create a vegan concoction (as it was world vegan day apparently). So ratatouille was rustled up and couscous and stuffed peppers, thanks to Deliciously Ella, but alas in an attempt to de-clutter the freezer I had to cook the world’s most spiciest sausages (not so vegan) for the boys just incase the veggie attempts were too scary. They had great pleasure in daring each other to eat as many pieces of sausage without drinking any water. Needless to say those sausages will not be bought again,though they did have the advantage of being in a cardboard box not plastic. This is my other consideration at the moment, as I de-clutter and then look at how much waste we produce from a household of four- a ridiculous amount! The zero waste movement seems to be the next step after de-cluttering, not sure how I will get everyone onboard with that idea!
As I delve into this strange cyber world of woman tidying up their houses, I realise and am reminded that in normal everyday conversation we rarely speak of the state of our house work. This leads me nicely to a writer in New Zealand who’s latest published piece ‘Homework‘ looks into the demands of domesticity and how perhaps we have lost the dignity in priding ourselves on how we keep our house. When people ask me what do I do, do I say home maker?
So, to my last link, of this very heavily laden linked post, and back to the sculpture: what breakthroughs are you making today? What big steps forward are you taking? At home, at work, in your art? What are you chipping away at? Keep at it. Best foot forward.
The concept has so many levels to it. Entitled ‘The Bench’ it could be any combination of two people, sat for any number of reasons.
Bring to it what you will as a viewer.
Without going down to sad a route. I couldn’t help thinking of the Bill Withers song ‘Lean on me’: “Sometimes in our lives, We all have pain, We all have sorrow.” Feeling down or having low mood is something we can all relate to, all understand and all sympathise with. Clinical depression is something very different and there has been a lot of discussion over the last few days about it. “Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together” NHS. Recent events remind us that no matter how rich or famous one is depression does not discriminate. We need to keep in mind that on a human level we can only hope to be there for people, to help, support, listen and care when they need it and when they think they don’t want it. To be there for someone as non-judgemental as possible and understand and accept people for who they are. It is the very essence of human nature to be a shoulder for someone or to have a shoulder to lean on.
It isn’t what this piece is about though, there can be so many different interpretations. The colours are so joyful and have a reason to them. But for now, so proud. This feels an amazing picture on so many levels. Mostly to have a sketch realised into a sculpture furthermore then to have it installed in a public place. This is a sculptors dream and now a reality. A real sense of achievement.