Difference

Colour, Connections
Mime c5

‘Mime’ by Sam Shendi.

“The art of showing a character or telling a story using body movements and gestures without words.”

This is the definition of ‘mime’ but it could also be a definition of my husband’s art work. Each piece telling a story. A visual cue. This piece might tell a story itself having just got back from being on display with Paul Smith in London during Frieze art fair week.

We are programmed, taught to read words and interpret but less so  with picture, paintings and sculptures. It is interesting considering this when thinking about my boys, both extremely visual. One more of a ‘reader’ than the other but their comprehension high. We can read words forming pictures in our imaginations, perhaps it is more difficult to see art and then create our own stories and ideas. Always just needing that extra nudge or prompt to point us in the right direction. Last night after tea the boys were talking about what they could see in a large egg box tray ( we have gone through 25 eggs this week!) which was propped up against the radiator. They both saw different things, soldiers and feet and all sorts. Perhaps you and I would  just see an egg box.

Wonder if that is the difference between the artist and the viewer?

 

Hidden Symbols

collections, Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries

I am sat with a hot black coffee and some jammy figs trying to resist the urge to pick up the book I am currently reading. The problem I have with reading is that it is incapacitating, I don’t want to do anything else. This week however I am solely in charge of our business and the boys as the sculptor is in London at the Saatchi gallery with a solo booth at Start Art Fair.

This is a tick off the bucket list, although not a complete solo show in the entire space which would be the next step.

The pieces look something again in a totally white space and the advice of ‘less is more’ definitely paid off.

start art pieces

Sam Shendi, Start Art Fair 2018, Saatchi gallery, London.

When we look at art I wonder if we always want a quick fix, we want it to makes sense to us, to understand what we are looking at. Photography, painting and sculpture in the past always portrayed some kind of reality even if colours were at odds with the world around us or angles and lines in wrong places.

Someone interestingly asked the question whether my husband used the golden ratio in his work. With artists who have natural talent the rules are somehow embedded within their psyche they have a sense of why and what looks right. They aren’t necessarily following rules by prescription.  What they see makes sense aesthetically and their way of seeing and thinking is different.

These particular pieces maybe seen by some, as abstract forms, colourful piping for the playground or an object to lock your bike to. Shape or space. For the journey of sculpture it is about a three-dimensional form, how to visualise something from every possible angle. What inspires the form for my husband is all rooted in the human figure. The outline or the line that one would sketch becomes manipulated to show a position or body movement. If you look at some of Henry Moore’s abstract piece they look like pieces of vertebrae, focused on mass and volume. If we were to take the outline of those shapes we have these Shendi pieces. The negative space which the colourful line creates could be the sculpture. Or the line itself the sculpture which simultaneously casts a shadow also creating meaning and symbols. Hence, the name of these pieces: Hidden Symbols.

From this angle, the sculpture on the left shows the infinity symbol which becomes a very different shape looking at it from a different angle, an example of how we can all have alternate view points. The sculpture on the right could be a graph, a symbol of communicating information visually.

It is a journey to abstraction based on reality. In a world where we are over stimulated with reality, in the era of social media and screens of visual reality we no longer need to see sculptures of human bodies literally.

Art can take us into new ways of seeing, expand our ideas and if we sit down long enough, make us think for ourselves and use our own imaginations again.

Tiptoe, Tully and I .

collections, Mother and Child, Philosophy, Relationships

Last night as I stood at the sink washing up, I finally got an idea about my writing this week. Every six or seven weeks I go to the homeopath and initially it was for my eczema but it has helped unravel a whole lot more. Yesterday’s session peeled back another layer of the onion. The problem is, what ever ideas were flowing to me whilst I bathed the dishes in washing up liquid they are not quite streaming to me this morning as I write. I knew I should stop and write them down but the boys were bashing each other upstairs and I needed to get the pots cleared up so I could go and sort them out. The sculptor was at the studio, if you were wondering.

At bedtime, sometimes the sculptor (from a culture with a history and background of oratory) and also with his imagination tells stories from his head but more often that not it is I who reads to them every night. Except this week, I have used the consequence of their brotherly squabbles turning into tears, as a reason for them going to bed early. Which actually last night, I pondered is probably slightly counter productive, as I  think reading to them calms them down before bed. “I think left, I think right” (Dr Seuss). However, we have all been slightly under the weather so the thought of sitting in-between two snotty coughing boys was not so enticing.

This cheeky sculpture is now in Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer which opens May 12th.

tiptoe outdoors

Tiptoe, looking like a Dr Seuss creature exploring in the woods.

It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss character ‘Cat in the hat’ with the red and white stripes. I have loved reading his books to the boys and as much as they haven’t grown out of picture books, poetry and reading time, the boys put them in the pile to give away. It is hard passing on books but when you have limited space there are only so many books you can keep. I am trying not to discourage them  as they always put the strangest things on the discard pile and keep the little odd plastic bits! In our house this week it has felt a little bit like a Dr Seuss book. We have all got into the habit of speaking in rhyme the biggest culprit, well guess! Honestly it is a mad house. I think living with an artist it is bound to be.

Over the last two weeks I keep seeing the trailer for the movie Tully. It immediately resonated with me, as it will probably do for most mothers. But I also really felt, from the brief snippet of the film, that it portrayed my life over the last ten years. I hadn’t realised at the time but when our eldest was one years old we opened our own business and so my husband had to pour into that. So I guess I was home with the baby ( or in Egypt where I spent 2 months of my maternity leave).  This year marks our ten-year business-owning anniversary. Within that time though, we had two boys and I stopped any paid work, so my role has been one of pouring into them. Often, when we are within something we can’t see what is happening and I very easily forgot to re-fill myself. I have been learning about self-care over the last 18 months, a bit like when you are on an aeroplane, they tell you to put your own mask on first before your children. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. I have often looked at other mothers and wondered how they had so much energy and attention. My sleep deprivation definitely had an effect on all areas of my life. Even with the power of knowledge and hindsight ten years later, sleep deprive me for a night and I am not fit for much.

From what I gleaned from the trailer of the movie, a woman called Tully comes to care for the mother in the film, played by Charlize Theron, who still looks pretty good despite gaining 50 pounds for the role. I guess everyone needs a Tully to come and care for them. I think this is what we lack in the west now as we live and bring up our families in isolation. Perhaps, the African proverb , ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ has underlying wisdom. So, this past year I have sourced a kind-of care from several woman globally and I feel I am slowly coming back to the woman I was. The woman I am. Not the Sam I am (that’s the sculptor and Dr Seuss talking again).

We tiptoe around motherhood in so many ways. Although we may not be able to get a Tully in our lives ( I will have to see the film and probably should have before writing this post) but if you can then do. More importantly you can affect your own life with the story you are telling yourself. Stay positive, words are powerful and find your own inner Tully.

dr seuss

Links for woman needing any help rejuvenate themselves!

May 13-19thwoman’s health 

For un uncluttered life, become unstuck with Allie

Mother like a boss with Kendra

Get fit with Zehra at The Fit nest or Yoga with Adriene

If you are local and looking for a homeopath :

Emma Colley

or

https://wwwfindahomepath.org

Getting back into a routine and flow

Colour, Connections, Public Art

Apparently it is 2 months since I last posted and I have been very aware of that fact but I just haven’t been able to sit down and write. It was the summer months with the boys off school and other things seem to have taken over in my to-do list. So I have slowly been getting back into my routine but still need to be a bit more productive when it comes to blogging! I have been a little too preoccupied with Instagram which I have just discovered, although haven’t completely got my head around it yet. I have also done lots of interesting reading. In one book which I will relate to more in my next post (see getting a bit organised!) the chapter opening is entitled, ‘Flow. The Genius of Routine. Routine , in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition -W.H. Auden.  Although, generally my husband I would describe is not quite a creature of habit as am I but when it comes to the studio he definitely is in a routine and it pays off. Over the summer the following pieces went to new homes:

Defeated Butterflies, in his new home in Johannesburg

‘The Wedding Dress’ in her new home in Johannesburg

 

 

‘The King and Queen’, in their new home in SouthSea

‘Witnesses’ in the entrance to the Tennis Club in South-sea

Press Article in South Africa

 

Summer & Sculptures outdoor

Exhibitions
black swan at hannah pescher

‘Black Swan’ at Hannah Pescher Sculpture Gardens

Summer time sees sculpture gardens and exhibitions outdoors. Although we seem to be having a particularly wet summer and yesterday on my dog walk I came home drenched in my winter coat and wellies, but the benefit of the dog is it does get you out. I feel like there is some older wiser alter ego stomping this mantra into me. When my husband took these pieces down to Surrey it was a pouring down so he didn’t take any photos in situ so we have waited for the one above from Hannah Pescher Sculpture Garden more photos on the site and Surrey Life Magazine took the one below.surry life

As it has been so damp I have had my head stuck in a good book but it has meant I have been transported into a different world.  Reading has that effect on me where I am consumed and I am unable to do much else. Fret not, the children have been fed and chauffeured and a little bit of team Lego building has happened. Otherwise I have been burrowing away with snacks and duvet and a novel like a sultry teenager. Thankfully I have finished it this morning whilst in the shop and so normal life can resume. Meanwhile, the sculptor has had a video film take place in the studio this morning (I guess more to follow when we see the results) and on Friday he goes down to Doddington Hall with an array of pieces for their sculpture exhibition, Fine Art outdoors and Indoors from July 30th- September 11th 2016.

DoddingtonHallGardens-logo

Read, Write, Draw, Sculpt.

Connections, Philosophy
painitng sculpture

Sculpture framing painting ‘The Thinker’

I have been reading much more recently partly because family and friends have gifted me good books and writing courses (very grateful and much enjoying). I am also more aware of how reading helps my writing and have started reading more factual history books too, this always starts off with great enthusiasm on my part and then quickly wanes as it requires far more concentration and mental athletics. I am trying to slow down my reading and take in each word rather than scan the page just to get to the next chapter and really take it in more. This is tricky, especially when I just want to get to the end of a good book. It affects me though I find, reading alters my mood.

 

painting sculpture

Section of sculpture framing ‘Sisters’ painting

scuptures two

Looking through one sculpture towards another

 

Emotions definitely have the impact to change us, our feelings can be seen visually in body shape, facial expression and mood. All I want to do when reading a book is read and be in the book, everything else becomes secondary, I feel I become the character(s) only when it is well written. At the moment can’t understand how someone can create this. I can only get so far in my attempts to draw up a fictional person with words. A scene or one moment. Some of these writing exercises are making me think more visually and using words to describe, it’s like sketching verbally. The sculptor uses emotions both observed and experienced in both his paintings, drawings and sculptures. His work is a visual diary, both his drawing and his making. Drawing inspiration from the everyday.sketches

Sketches, visual thoughts, pictorial diary

sketches 2

Symbolic sculpture forms signature

Colour, Philosophy, Steel
Signature 1

‘Signature’ by Sam Shendi, 2014

 

Language is symbolic. Words are symbols. Even our own signature becomes a symbol of ourselves. This new piece entitle ‘Signature’ is one of a collection in which my husband is focusing on the outline of the human figure, it is almost the abstraction of form. His own work becoming progressively more ‘abstracted’. Following a contour of the body producing a language of its own rather than creating a solid object. It is as I have mentioned before like a cursive writing style, a sculptural calligraphy. I have started reading around the subjects I am writing about in an endeavour to improve my writing and think about what direction to take my writing in.

So I have finished ‘Notes from an Exhibition’ by Patrick Gale I borrowed from the library alongside reading ‘The inspired heart’ by Jerry Wennstrom. On the subject of libraries we are lucky to have a library pull up practically in our back yard which means we visit every two weeks and drag a bag piled high with children’s books back up the path. We have done this since my eldest was a baby and consequently they both enjoy sitting and turning the pages, looking at the pictures absorbing the details. It is one of few things I am proud of instilling in them, if it lasts!  I enjoyed taking along my long list of books I had researched that might assist in my own creativity. However, they only had the one for now. The library is under threat though with ideas of community led ones. Why funding for libraries and librarians should be pulled makes no sense at all. We still need real books and real spaces.

Signaturye 6

‘Signature’ the shadows playing part of the art

Abstract art a way forward or a dead-end? was my first art essay title I wrote during A-levels (many years ago) I loaned it to a student I worked with once and never got back which is a shame, it was before the digital days and so I no longer have any record of it. Perhaps it is no bad thing, it would just be sat in a plastic tub in the attic. Although there were some photos of my visits to galleries including my 17-year-old self stood proudly next to large Rothko. Currently ‘Whitechapel’ has an exhibition entitled ‘The adventures of the black square”  a journey of abstraction,  which if I could get to I probably would go and visit, but I got a nice flavour of from the ‘misadventures’ blog link above and also listening to the director’s introduction. The exhibition follows four themes, utopia, architectonic, communication and the everyday.  I definitely used to see abstract art as contemporary and new, as a progression  “a springboard for the imagining of new tomorrows” and “freeing art from the dead weight of the real word”. As the director, Iwona Blazwick introduces, “Geometric abstraction influenced around the world and was crucially linked with politics and society,”

Signature 2

‘Signature’

 

Signature 3

‘Signature’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Abstraction’, whatever the word means has certainly influenced and is increasingly used in this ‘dehumanized digital age’ we live in. Now I wonder how far this abstraction  has led us. For me, I feel I am going in a full circle with it, on a journey as I learn more about art and sculpture. My husband’s work offers a simple solution. Although the work is rarely as simple as it seems. It is the abstraction but with the humanity. It has the modernity in colour and the spirituality in meaning. I have started to think even more about words, the meaning and the choice of words. “Language is marvelous powerful tool” I heard this recently on the radio 4 programme ‘Life in Suburbia’.  It is an important addition to abstract art, many people needing the addition of words to hang along side the ‘black square’ or the large canvases of pure colour.

Signature 4

Part of the ‘Body Language’ collection

So to add some words to this piece. To many it may still seem completely abstract, a wavy whirl of colour. Even if that is what you see, it is visually appealing, there is a harmony and a high aesthetic quality to the piece. It is still however, the contour of the human form. In this image above the ‘green’ forms the head and arm. The ‘red’ the back and leg. Sit and stare at this one a while and you may start to see it. The fact that each image above creates its own unique shadow and picture in itself is an art. Seeing it in reality in its true three-dimensional form adds to the experience. The image below shows it in situ and the realisation of the scale of it is perhaps enlightening, smaller than the blank white back drop suggests. My husband’s sculptures all have the will to grow and they would look so amazing on a huge scale in the centre of a town square or in the fields of a sculpture park. This is the next dream.  In a world where we text and tweet and use words often devoid of meaning. This sculpture embodies meaning of living in the dystopian present.

Signature at 88 wood street

On display at 88 Wood Street, London

signature 5

from a different angle