Monday, August 23, 2010
Communicating with the Cosmos... Mysterious Threads III
Communicating with the Cosmos... Mysterious Threads
Feeling like I have been responding to something on another level for a while now,
'Communicating with the Cosmos... Mysterious Threads', continues my investigation
into some strange language of half formed monsters, creatures and body parts that
Gustave Flaubert describes so well in 'The Temptation of St. Anthony' when writing
about the same.
The series, half abstraction is mirrored with semi-figurative counterparts. For example,
the elephant headed god Ganesha, a god of new beginnings, wisdom, good fortune,
a grunty, green, fleshy beast almost plant like in abstraction is described in the most
linear, hollow and skeletal form in the figurative with 'Ganesha and the Mouse'. 'Flight'
suggesting the essence of flight has 'Flightless', the skeleton of a Siren standing stock
still. 'All mucked up, guts squishing in my toes-D' has 'Blemmyae', a monster with his
head in his chest. Then separate pieces, 'Lemure' or a ghost, holding a hollow flag
whose head has fallen off and he holds this in his hand. Underneath a Daphne image,
in 'Growth Emo II', someone has hung themselves. Also, 'Big Ears', a creature with over-
sized ear lobes which flap to his side and dangle on the ground as he runs. In the
figurative form, the colour has gone and is pared down to the natural colour of beeswax,
a wonderful, luscious, organic substance coupled with some stitched, painted fabric
pieces, painted white. Some of these creatures run as if in a state of panic or are trying
to escape there fate, others are stumped, have given up and are immovable. Matter is
disintegrating, disappearing completely in parts, is transforming and transcending into
another state. Perhaps like the god Shiva as Nataraja (Lord of Dance) who in his
cosmic dance, dances the world into extinction only to dance it back into existence
again, these creatures do a cosmic dance of there own.
These hybrid forms, part human, animal, god or plant seem to have been with us from
the beginning. For example, the New Zealand Maoris depict beaked, three-clawed,
bird-like monsters in there mythology, the ancient Egyptians have a number of animal/
human gods like Anubis, part human/part jackal or Horus, the falcon headed god and
Sphinxes, then there is ancient Greek mythology. I am interested in probing further
into questions of existence that these strange beings also bring forward. Those that
perhaps have not been brought into conscious awareness yet or at least not my own.
Other artists work seem to throw up similar questions such as Mantegna's 'Minerva
Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue' 1500-1502, a painting I was fortunate
enough to view, in a show in Paris, at the Louvre, late in 2008. The exquisite flying baby
creatures with owl faces and others with butterfly wings or some part deer/part human,
a centaur and Daphne seem so natural in there hybridity. Another favourite, I always
make a pilgrimage to see when in Munich, at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, is
Tilman Riemenschneider's, 'St. Mary Magdalene', 1490-1492, her animal fur-like coating
and the feathered breasts and bodies of the surrounding angels have a similar realness
about them, something unexplainable.
In my art viewing, other than contemporary art, I am often attracted to museums of
ancient sculpture such as the Glyptothek in Munich. Although in some ways it is
tragic that there are only fragments left due to the ravages of war and time, I prefer
the work in this state and imagining something else entirely in the bits that are missing.
Also, in the collection of ancient sculpture at the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna,
there are two fragments, one of a centaur, the other of Eros that hold my captivation
I can only describe so much for you and the rest hopefully the work will communicate