How to read art: Understanding Sculpture Shakespeare, & Shendi.

Colour, Conceptual, Connections, Philosophy
section of the branch

Side view of ‘The Branch’ by Sam Shendi

Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? …people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.”
— Pablo Picasso

One perspective of 'The Bow'

The Bow, Sam Shendi

Sometimes we try too hard to understand what art is and what the artist is trying to say. Any art form be it; music, singing, poetry, writing, painting, drawing and sculpture, dance and even sport (if you see can go as far as to see that as an art form) is an expression from the artist. The creator. It’s their voice.

section of mermaid

How, as someone trying to appreciate another’s voice, do we try to understand what someone else is trying to say? Like with any conversation, it is best to let go of any judgements, any preconceived ideas or opposition. Easier said than done when in a discussion or a debate.  However, in the case of art. The art form isn’t directly speaking back to you in any kind of altercation, so the ability to let go should be easier.

So, with the case of sculpture if you want to understand it, you can consider these following things:

 How does it make you feel?

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‘The Toy’

And any emotion can be relevant. See what comes up. Accept. Don’t try to force meaning or words. Relax and think about the sensations.

Does it evoke memories? Give you ideas, inspire you, does it open your imagination? Relax.

Shelter 2012 Sam Shendi

Let your eyes wander around it. This is why seeing sculpture, live in its three-dimensional form  is important and can help understanding. We can only appreciate or connect so much from an image.

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Look at the colours or lack of colour, how do the colours impact or affect you?

Consider  the materials and whether that makes you feel a certain way?

I saw recently on the Yorkshire Sculpture Park instagram page the quote, “Sculptures often explore the edges of objects and spaces, overlapping, puncturing or touching”. What about the shape, the form, the surface. Is it smooth, soft, sharp, curvy, does it cast shadows?

cropped-kiss1.jpgHow do you interact with the piece when you walk around it?

Take your time.

Does it speak to you?  What does that question mean to you?

‘Urgency’ 2012 Sam Shendi

Art is an experience.

It is about analysing your emotional response to it and the potential for the work to open your imagination and idea up into potential a higher plane.

We might look at a Van Gough, Monet or a Rembrandt, a Da Vinci or a Michelangelo and think that we can understand the painting and sculpture because it visually makes sense to us. But go beyond what you see. How does it make you feel?

When I first saw the Mona Lisa, I was shocked by the size. When I wandered around Rothko’s large abstract paintings I was in awe. I’ve seen work that is brilliant, baffling and beguiling.

Often we don’t listen to a piece of music, whatever genre and try to understand it. Art appreciation seems a little harder, a little more perplexing. Why?

ripe 2In both there is composition, creating a scene, a mood, a form of expression.

My husband would say that it isn’t about ‘understanding’.  He thinks that unfortunately what is happening now is a generation of people who are driven by materialism and money and are spending too much time thinking about what to create and it that so much of art has become an object or a product. True artists should be simply driven by the desire to express their imagination. He says for example, “if you look at a Dali painting, what he has done is capture his imagination and introduces it to us. We have the opportunity to see inside Dali’s head”.

I went to see Othello with a very good friend of mine. The performance was modern, minimal and had a very shocking scene in the middle of it, which we were not sure needed to be there. Perhaps, we were seeing something that was inside the director’s head…eek! However, what was very noticeable to us both was that because we had studied it for one of our A-level texts we could understand it ( to a certain degree). Where as, we mused that had we not, much of it would have gone over our heads. Watching this Shakespeare performance 20 years after first reading it, seeing it, analysing and taking it apart made me realise that it is important to learn about an art form. If you do want to understand it to a higher level then it is about deconstructing it and putting it back together.

Living with an artist, a sculptor has enabled me perhaps to deconstruct my own way of thinking and put it back together. I wonder if that is essentially what marriage is asking you to do, when you live in a shared space and choose to share your life with someone different from yourself. Communication is so important.

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand.

We listen to reply.”

Susan Stiffelman.

The same in art, we look to form an opinion, we don’t look to observe and learn. In Othello, we are shown how character and emotion plays a vital role in understanding ourselves and others and how the dangers of not harnessing those emotions can them can have. We can either analyse and learn from it or put up a barrier in opening up our channels of understanding. So perhaps Picasso was right, we can’t explain art. We have to be open.

“Observe, accept, release, transform” Yung Pueblo.

looking up

 

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‘The Wedding Dress’

Colour, Relationships
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‘The Wedding Dress’

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‘The Wedding Dress’ 2013

Today is our wedding anniversary, I am now a number of years in to life as ’The Sculptor’s wife’. Last year I wrote about our day. It’s most often in the holidays and like last year I have been busy with the boys and have had less time for blogging. I have had several things I wanted to write about but for today. ‘The Wedding dress’ seemed rather appropriate. The amount people spend on them to me always seem so astronomical. I am not sure I see the point in spending thousands on a dress you only wear once.

“The average UK wedding in 2012 cost in excess of £20,000, 2013 brides are becoming more astute with their wedding spending with the average wedding expected to cost around £16,000, this is likely to be due to the economic climate.”  Top designer dress for £4,000 or more! This still sounds so huge when you could buy a good quality second-hand dress for just £100 or less.

The white wedding dress has not always been the traditional choice of colour. In the 16th and 17th centuries brides wore different shades of yellow, green, brown, blue, even black, according to their age, those colours would symbolise fertility or maturity. Brides from a wealthier background would wear something more splendid, a bride in a white dress would be showing her poorer background and lack of money!

Looking back over the years at the history of the wedding dress, we now seem to have returned to the original starting point of the pre-Victorian era when brides could let their imagination run free to choose the colour of their dress, incorporating other colours either as part of the dress or completely for a more dramatic effect. In eastern cultures, brides often choose red to symbolize auspiciousness.

This piece shown above is currently in a photo shoot so this is just a quick snap my husband took in the new studio (will blog about that soon). It not only reduces the human figure into geometric shapes it highlights an issue about the price tag we put on getting married.  The simple act of joining together two opposites. The geometric, decisive sharp, angular, strong and bold, out on top with the  much-needed support from the  smooth, curvy, flexible, calm, moody, full but dependable base. Very symbolic of our union. Here’s to more years as ‘The sculptor’s wife’. Better log off….we are celebrating !

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy

Colour, Connections, History, Making, Relationships, Soul searching, Steel

Crazy Day. Crazy Good Day. Took the boys out on a relatively big trip for us. So, exhausted on the way back in the car, they both fell asleep. So much for my

good plan of wearing them out so that they will sleep well at night! We came back in the house which was still looking like a bomb site from the mornings antics and my husband in the living room with a new sculpture sticking small question marks all over it ????? I waded through the kitchen to make a quick tea and tried to tidy up whilst the boys ran around the table with various kitchen utensils and my husbands asking me for various spellings whilst he ‘twittered’ away on his laptop. It all seemed a bit crazy in my head. The development with his art work has been going a bit crazy over the last few weeks.

Easter Holidays has meant having both boys at home for two weeks and before that my eldest was off school so I have failed to keep up with blogging. I am now into the third week of trying to keeping my sanity levels stable. Consequently, perhaps, my eczema has gone crazy. And, in all honestly I was going a bit crazy in this blogging world. Checking up on stats. and reading others blogs was not helping me to be creative. I was comparing my writing skill and style to others and becoming negative about my own and then constantly checking to see if anyone had read or remarked on what I had written. So the break has been good. The fresh air today has given us all a new energy.. and the sleep on the way back a later night than I had hoped for the boys.

Six years ago it was also a crazy night, It was the eve of my wedding day. We didn’t have a traditional English wedding nor did we have a traditional Egyptian one. We did it our way! A week before I cut my hair very short and dyed it bleach blond. Crazy! Maybe, but it looked great with little red roses in and set off my black and white spotted dress! We drove back from the registry office listening to the very current track by Gnarles Barkley ‘Crazy’ and the words kind of summed up that time. Now the words do have an echo, and they do take me back to that time and place. It has been an amazing 6 years, bought a house, bought a business had two boys and started to establish a name in the art world. Crazy busy.

Getting down to the art work then, I will have to blog more about that next week when I have a little more time to myself. The image here, is not a great one to show the quality of these works, and I ironically made some odd remark about just that, to my husband after he put them on Facebook. We’ve had some great quality images recently but can’t keep the imagery to the frequent entries in the social media! Anyway, they have been repainted and renamed Adam and Eve, seems appropriate to be mentioning them at the time of our wedding anniversary and also when there has been so much in the media recently about marriage. I don’t often have black and white views more like shades of grey indecision but with the discussion about marriage and civil ceremonies of late I am very clear. In relation to our marriage, the fact that these fantastic stainless steel sculptures have been given a facelift making them even more vibrant and exciting symbolises well, our relationship. We are very different personalities and characters, (will have to go into more depth about ‘My husband, The Sculptor’ another time) so together we are like ying and yang. I guess that is how it works for most couples and it just seems crazy to me! Crazy Day, Crazy life, Crazy Love!

If you are interested, I just looked up the definition of Crazy;

1.mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way

2.extremely enthusiastic

3(of an angle) appearing absurdly out of place or in an unlikely position

I am not sure I meant any of these for any of the times I wrote the word in this blog. That’s the English Language, or perhaps I need to start reading a thesaurus. Crazy!

'Adam'

'Eve'

'Eve'

'Adam and Eve' painted Black and White

Black and White