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.
There is a bite in the air, the season is changing. As my eldest son and I drove to swimming lessons the other night we spotted trees turning from their summer green into autumn shades. We saw a miraculous site of birds glistening in the sunset like pieces of glitter floating in one contained space. My son described them like ticks using his hands and saying it’s how Baba makes birds, he was transfixed. The shift from summer to autumn always feels more significant to me then any other season. It’s a reminder that all things fade away. We also had news this weekend of a family member in Egypt passed away. Deeply saddening, life changing news. But, there is always change. A kind of transportation, from one realm to another. Transformation.
“When change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait a while and have faith in the process, you will see that this is true.” (Taken from someone-lost the reference)
I have been thinking about this as my link to the transportation of sculptures. We’ve done so many trips to London (I write we but it’s the sculptor, the sculptures). I just sort out the congestion charges and ‘wo’-man the shop. Over the summer ‘we’ ventured into Europe with ‘a man with a van’ for exhibition in Germany. The sculptor flew out to meet them and then back out to pack them up. In a quick turn around ‘we’ then had pieces going to Paris.
I had a whimsical fantasies of going as well. In fact with this trip the sculptor didn’t go. We relied on the driver taking them to the gallery and the unload and unwrap happening without my husband. The exhibition opened last Friday. But really that is much more cost effective than having to fly out to meet the sculptures on the other side. It’s amazing how memories can take us to a place though. Thinking of Paris transports me to a time in my early twenties, still searching for myself. I took myself off with a black and white SLR and not enough warm clothing for a February weekend in Paris. Consequently the cold somehow lured me into a ‘Coiffeurs’ and I came out with my hair red.
Well as I reminisce, the reality of this trip was that the driver had problems finding the gallery so I had to practise my very rusty A-level French with a hotel reception staff which our gallery contact number went through to. I couldn’t ‘unlock the language’ and was a little disheartened, when he asked me if I preferred to speak English and he continued to speak in received pronunciation.
Yesterday the sculptor was down to London and back to take ‘Aphrodite’ to Passion of Freedom. At the end of the week he will be back down again for the opening and picking up other pieces to then go somewhere else. At the moment my husband is almost constantly on the road. I am loosing track as to where pieces are! The difficulty with sculpture is the cost and space of moving them from place to place. Transporting them.
There is something about the space that transforms the sculptures. Having space around them to be able to view from different angles makes all the difference to sculpture. Space, dimensions and time all have connections both in sculpture and thinking. Which links me nicely back to this autumn days which have come around so fast again. This year has past by me again making me reflect that I am still waiting for that moment of transformation. When I am totally in the present and not wishing away time or clock watching, waiting for the next milestone or event. I am definitely better at it than I was. The best of thinking is to reflect on creation ‘How am I’? Taking ourselves into account, especially when we don’t know what the future holds. If poetry, art, sculptures helps to give us those gentle remind us then it’s a useful vehicle. The chrysalises gradually transforms into the butterfly. Transporting us from one way of thinking to the next.
Perspective can be everything. In order to make myself see the positive I am starting with the highs of summer. At the beginning we had some glorious weather and plays in the park. We had good days out walking to waterfalls, scarecrow festivals and train journeys to a new city. We were together with family and friends. We played with Lego, had picnics and tumbled around. I had energy. The second half has seen a dip in my energy is levels and my patience has been none existent on some days mirrored by the weather with more overcast cloudy days rain. As the six-week school holidays draw to a close I berate myself for getting cross and now at the end I feel mournful of the times I clocked watched and marked off the days on the calendar in achievement. As I was reading a fellow bloggers entry to break from writing and gain inspiration I related to a similar idea about the idea of what we chose to let our memories focus on and how that can influences our thinking. I am therefore being mindful to focus on all the positive things I have done with my boys this summer at home.
The sculptor has been busy setting up his first solo exhibition and public art pieces in the park. Beautiful images were taken and it felt such a good achievement. Then we had another dip as despondency set in on discovering the outdoor pieces were getting ‘worn and torn’ much quicker than we anticipated because of people climbing and jumping on them. We debated whether they should be taken out, that the cost of upkeep was going to be too much. A few alterations made, they are there to stay but highlighted a need of education about art in public spaces but also the interest physically in the art. Bringing us back up we successfully sold five pieces in one fell swoop to one collector and so we are very excitedly putting plans in motion for a big trip to Egypt in December. A well-earned holiday, time with Egyptian family and something to look forward to for us all.
There are rainy days and sunny days and blessings in them both. There are highs and lows in life and wisdom in it all. Rhythm and flow occurs throughout our day, week, month and the whole year changes. In the midst of it we can appreciate those daily rhythms, depending on our perspective. Change can be welcome or sometimes unsettle us. There is a change in the air as summer ends, school starts and autumn approaches.
Something can be constant. We all have something which becomes our aim, what governs our lives and can sometimes dictate the way we focus our day. We all have something that structures the rhythm of our day. In effect what we submit too.
‘The Bow’ at Damside Mill In Haworth,below, see it next at Saltaire Arts Festival as part of the Sculpture Trail. September Sat 13 – Sun 14 2014 1.00pm to 4.30pm Free Entry.
The summer has really felt like a summer this year, dry and sunny days, picnics and playing in the river, riding bikes and long evenings. The shift into a new season will be a noticeable change. My youngest is starting nursery preschool and so we are having a change in our daily pattern after the holidays and return to school routine. I feel nostaligc but a sense of renewed energy to come and a chance to refocus. Change is a necessary part of life.
The new work needs considering,more time to prepare the words alongside them. We need to do the writings now in preperation for the exhibition at the end of October. The sculptures had their photoshoot and we have a set of fantastic images to use.
I am reshowing one of the ‘Souls’ here. The idea of a ‘sculpture within’.
I will leave it with you to sit and stare at the image and let me know what you can see within it.
Some people change, some remain the same, unwilling or unable. As we head into autumn we need to start reflecting on how to improve our characters, to be a little kinder, be a little calmer, draw a little closer to the depths of our soul. Think about our attitudes, our belief systems. There are some disturbing things happening globally. Behaviour which need to change.
Change comes from within.
It struck me whilst walking in the park that it wasn’t long since a thick blanket of snow lay across the land, out of the depths of winter new life burst through. How quickly things can change. Like our mood, like the highs and lows of daily life. The rhythm of nature mirroring our own inner worlds. The flowers are finally starting to appear and little burst of sun shine pierces through the april showers. We have to ride the storms of life with patience and wait and hope for those joyful moments that makes us appreciate all we have. Happy Friday, enjoy this blessed day.
It is such an age-old theme tackled by artists time and time again and it very difficult to name it anything other than ‘Mother and Child’. For those with an untuned eye at ‘the art of seeing’ in abstract/ minimalistic art; if you look at the top image, the shadow on the wall created by the sculpture gives you a shadow of what could be the shadow of a reclined figure. You can see the head and then the knee and lower leg. I wish had the serenity of a mother lying down, with this ‘calm pink’ oosing out in an aura of loveliness. The curves of the piece, the natural flow of line gives the shape of natural peaceful parent. I feel, however, that these last six weeks of summer holiday was more an image of me as a cartoon cardboard cutout and a mama with the blues for one reason or another. So this piece sums up my own ‘head and heart’ grapplings with motherhood at the moment. Today was the first day back at school for my eldest into his second year and it felt more emotional than his first. He is growing up and I think in tandem with my youngest reaching two years, those early baby days are starting to become days of the past. (The baby hopefully obviously the negative space in the middle of the sculpture)
I noticed this morning that the wind was whisking the leaves of the trees already, autumn approaches and yet where was summer (think this contributed to the bluesy feeling in the latter part of August). Change is in the air again. This week the anniversary of my husband’s mother’s birth and death. This in itself, a reason why the theme of mother and child is so prominent in his work. Part of the cycle of life, we watch our children grow and we watch our parents age. The seasons change like the stage of life. Everything has it’s moment to flourish and grow and the time to withdraw and slow down. We have to remember to be in the moment to appreciate what we have.