Month: June 2016

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas, June 2016
Blank Canvas, June 2016

Every artist's greatest fear is writer's block.

Now more than ever, I wonder how to even venture onto this pristine white woven canvas. For me, it represents a Utopian Universe, and the moral imperative of making marks that are meaningful is overwhelming and incapacitating.

 

Today, facing the shock of Brexit and the associated political upheaval both locally and internationally,  I feel the need for an art that reflects these issues.

Historically, I have always resisted slogan driven, agitprop gestures in my practice. Whilst living in South Africa, my paintings addressed censorship and control through the prism of representation and Eroticism. As a Feminist, I reclaimed the nude pictorially and repositioned the work in the Patriarchal narrative. An early exhibition at the Wolpe Gallery in Cape Town was often visited by the Secret Police and media response reflected the Zeitgeist from the Left and the Right.

I hope to find a way of reflecting this time and place in way that is meaningful.

Boris Johnson. 2008. A moment in Time.

Portrait of Boris Johnson, marks the moment when he was elected Mayor of London
Boris Johnson. 2008. Acrylic on Canvas. 100x100cm

 

Boris becomes Mayor of London.

Iconographically, this image stylistically alludes to it's source which is the Press. My aim in making this work was to highlight the impact of the Media on power and politics.

Today, 8 years later and Post Brexit, what does Britain have in store? 

What kind of relationships are we going to create with old Allies?  How will the Media affect our reading of events? Has the electorate learnt anything from History?

Facing Brexit I revisit portrait of Boris Johnson from 2008

Portrait of Boris Johnson, Morgan Tsvangirai, Gordon Brown.
Boris, Morgan, Gordon, May 2008, 2008/9. Oil/Acrylic on Canvas. 100x100cm

 

This painting was made in May 2008 when Boris Johnson was newly elected as Mayor of London.  

It includes psycho/social portraits of Morgan Tzvangirai, the Leader of the Opposition in Zimbabwe, and Gordon Brown, Labour Prime Minister of the UK. Showing May 2008 - the actual date of work (indicating a specific moment in time) and the blue ribbon like shape, link these heads together referencing my questioning and concerns of the dynamics of power/politics globally. 

YouTube Channel Nudes in Studio

Oil and acrylic paintings on canvas of male and female nudes

Always need to have a bit of distance from work to see connections or not between paintings made at different times of the year. Wish I could make these images double their size. 

Memories of Gordon Joffe

Gordon Joffe, 1982 Oil on Canvas
Gordon Joffe, 1982. Oil on Canvas

The challenge in making a portrait of Gordon Joffe was that he was much more than his handsome physiognomy suggested. Insouciant of the seductive trap of Beauty, this fabulous facade did not limit his curiosity in exploring the world.

Whether fashion, sport, history, travel, food, language, religion…..Gordon pursued everything with panache and creative energy. Friends and family were spoilt by his stylish sense of occasion. Rugby at Newlands was never just another game, and a drive to Paarl was a multi layered outing never to be forgotten. Old or young, learning with Gordon was an adventure.

For me, time shared in the studio went quickly. I included elements surrounding the four heads in the portrait as references to his many worldly concerns. I hope that the work also includes some aspects of his inner world.

London 2016

 

At the Beginning

The image of ‘Adam Standing’ reaching out for the hand of ‘Eve Standing’ encourages the viewer to assume that when juxtaposed as a diptych, these two hands would actually meet. These works support our intellectual imagination to make visual assumptions that are in keeping with familiar Western narratives of a Utopian promise of existence.

Adam an Eve

In reality, iconographically these paintings don’t extend directly from one to the other. Interesting Leader/Follower relationships are in question where each of the protagonists exists independently yet comes together on another plane. With no indicators of place or time, the nude figures here subversively co exist seductively and rationally.

Similarly, in building this website, my techno savvy  Sister had to take me by the hand and somehow try to reconcile our inherent temperamental differences in another medium.

Diving In

My website was compromised 2 years ago.
I have always been concerned with maintaining boundaries between the private and the public. Naively, I only realised the absurdity of that dream when my professional identity was put in jeopardy through the Internet. My response was to retreat and hide.
This new website, the creation of my sister Angela Scialom, has allowed me to re emerge with vigour and optimism. Her intelligence and intuitive curatorial rigour have encouraged me to re visit ideas and places long ignored.
No words can begin to express my gratitude to this formidable woman for bringing me (kicking) to a brave new world. I am in awe of her patience, perseverance, resilience, wisdom, insight and endless love. Little sleep, coffee and cigarettes have sharpened her watchful wit…..there’s been no getting away from her celebration of cyber.
Let’s hope I don’t let you down with this blog business……