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Posts Tagged ‘Edmond’

Read this book

I found myself raving about this book to someone earlier in the week so I thought I’d rave blog about it here too.

Edmond sets out to trace the route of Colin McCahon when in 1984 on a trip to Sydney 1984, he went missing in the palm grove in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, and was found by police early next morning in Centennial Park, kilometres away. Framing the journey in part with the stations of the cross, Edmond explores not only the city but the nature of art, faith and loss. Personal experiences and stories intertwine with the McCahon narrative and tangents led on to diverse subjects such as Carmen Rupene, John Calvin and circus elephants. A certain sadness permeated the book, and to me it read as a kind of secular requiem for McCahon.

Yet again Auckland University Press has shown faith in it’s authors with this modest and yet courageous book. I loved it.

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon by Martin Edmond
July 2011,
ISBN 978 1 86940 483 3
Paperback, 208p,
$37.99

Pie Jesu

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Ray of Light

It has been gloomy. I’ve been doing a little research about memory and the things we remember with and it led onto an exploration of loss; loss of our memory anchors, the objects of memory, our built memory. You cannot consider these things without sadness and frustration especially when you read things like this and this.

However today I received some slightly heartening news,  if trivial in comparison.

In terms of subject matter, most of Clairmont’s major series are implied in this set of drawings: there are chairs, tabletops, doorways, windows, a fireplace; with the exception of his nudes and self portraits, these compromise his major preoccupations. It is not an exaggeration to say that Clairmont spent the rest of his life exploring implications and possibilities he discovered in the sitting room of 26 Hereford Street

From “The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont” by Martin Edmond, (1999), Pg 130

I had the opportunity to enquire about the post-quake status of 26 Hereford Street and was sent this photo taken just this morning (thanks N.).

A brilliant example of work done in the front downstairs room and showing the bowed windows can be found here a typical scene for Clairmont done at night, illuminated by electric light.

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I’ve been writing.

Full text of my essay in Barry Brickell: Six Spiromorphs can be read here

and

My review of Martin Edmond’s “Zone of there Marvellous” here. Martin’s latest book is a limited edition of 50 and it sounds like larger works and interesting projects are on the way.

I am working on a new catalogue essay for a show coming up at Brett McDowell Gallery in Dunedin. This will also be published by Kilmog Press. Details to come.

Also Kilmog is the subject of  in this week’s Cultural Curmudgeon column in the Listener (preview: full text available in a couple of weeks).

Am I sounding like an advertisement? Oh well. Here is some Dunedin street art not advertising anything.

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In the zone

I have been very lucky of late and part of my ‘haul’ was a copy of Martin Edmond’s new book Zone of the Marvellous that I won from Auckland University Press (and I checked – it was Raetihi).  And since its NZ Book Month, I thought I’d write a bit about it here.*

zone

This book was helped along with a Copyright Licensing Writers’ Award won by the author in 2007  and is a an amazing treasure box of fact, fiction, myth, history, fable and imagination in search of the antipodes. In eight discrete essays, the author writes that what he seeks “to do is describe how this other place was first rumoured, then imagined, then looked for, discovered, plundered, colonised and finally domesticated”.

Following the rather ‘straight’, yet lyrical telling of the historical story in The Supply Party (Edmond’s last book), Zone of the Marvellous goes back to the densely packed stories and tangents found in Luca Antara. For me Supply Party had strong undertones of loss and absence. Zone, although also telling tales of journeys, is much richer. Perhaps simply a contrast of the Australian outback to the tropics of the Pacific and the Asian spice routes.

Reviews I have read only touched lightly on the final chapter After Erewhon yet I had to restrain myself from not jumping to that one first. Here Edmond considers “artists, of those who continue the dialogue between the real and ideal in their work” with a particular focus on Sidney Nolan and Colin McCahon. This exploration of the antipodes in a rather different form from the other chapters is quite a contrast, unless you consider these artists as adventurers and risk takers as much as Marco Polo, Dampier, or Cook.

I hadn’t considered McCahon and Nolan as ‘near contemporaries’ before and it is very interesting to consider them in terms of the “Holy Yes and the Holy No as equal and opposite paths to enlightenment“. This chapter has given me much food for thought and Edmond’s analysis of McCahon’s work is quite a different take from much that I have read before.

My only quibble over the whole book is that it might have been nice to have included some illustrations, particularly of the ancients maps discussed. However it is sparked my interest to go and seek these out myself.

I liked this book for many reasons; the continuing themes of journeys and exploration in much of Edmond’s work, the new ideas and stories it led me to. However, it was the beautiful writing that kept me reading it almost straight through in one sitting. It is history not in an academic style but as a yarn or epic, told by the fire with all the embellishment and intrigue that suggests.

* Apologies, all my ‘reviews’ end up sounding like something you’d write for high school English

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Poem for Poetry Day

Today is Montana Poetry Day. I’ve been thinking for a while what I’d pick to post here on this occasion. Had to be a NZ poem for a start and apt somehow. I wanted to post Dryads by Martin Edmond but maybe a little too x-rated :-).

So I reached for “Under Flagstaff” an anthology of Dunedin poetry and found this, which sums up where I am at (maybe)

Dunedin by CK Stead
(Remembering James K. Baxter, 1966)

Evening where Taieri moved
between dark McCahon hills

fog threatened. You were back
in your aquarium town

wearing your flesh and blood
as if it belonged to you.

Would I get out? Would
it close on Momona?

In the womb we were all
fish. Once was enough.

Any bad-coloured sky
I’d have risked climbing

scaled any barnacled chain -
yet there you went, at home,

submariner for God
telling the squid and the skate

‘Open your gills, my brothers.
Enjoy the life of the deep.”

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I have been busily scattered and the health finally seems on the improve. Lots of interesting and quirky things about.

Saw this poem I Write in the Laundromat over at Homepaddock blog and liked it very much. It sort of ties in to an article I have been analysing for my studies – The Per/son Authorised: Married Women’s Autobiography and the Death of the Author, 1882 & 1992 by Tracey Slaughter around the Edmond family auto/biographies, which has been deeply challenging.

I also spotted this book about Maori Architecture on Beatties Book Blog which looks excellent. I was initially attracted by the cover photo of one of my favourite buildings.

Peter Peryer is blogging more regularly again which is great. I liked today’s rose photo – although personally I prefer Bantry Bay.

Have been having some great and some very inane conversations over at twitter with myself and other people (follow me @artandmylife). Great place for working out ideas. Don’t expect high level stuff from me though.

Am trying to think outside the box for employment options at the moment. Haven’t got very far though.

I am breaking my #1 blogging rule. My 6-year-old’s artwork appears on the Dunedin Art Gallery website – here (the brown owl at the top)

Finally, here is a photo I took in an alley near the Art Gallery.

cansdun
Campbell’s Soup. P Dawson (2009)

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Struggle

I’ve really been struggling lately and my blog is just one thing that is suffering. I seem to be at a loss for words. A few days ago some fellow twitterers were saying their blogs had suffered with them joining twitter, but for me I have also been writing flat-out for course deadlines and toying with ideas for submission to various journals and competitions.

On other levels I have been struggling with big ideas, concepts and ethical dilemmas. I also find myself incredibly homesick. Often when I feel like this, the arts definitely help. I have to say I have read a few good books including Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and a re-read of Martin Edmond’s Chronicle of the Unsung.I also acquired a new ukulele last week which was exciting, but since that instrument is banned in our house I have had little chance of playing.

The visual arts have NOT been comforting in the least. I continue to admire “real” arts writers and bloggers who have relevant and enlightening things to say and there continue to be interesting and thought provoking reads, eg another installment from  Reading the Maps. Two reviews of Fiona Connor’s installation Something transparent (please go round the back) at Over the net and eyeContact have been inspiring and it looks definitely worth a look if you are in the area. This is the sort of thing I like.

I guess if you look too hard at things you could end up saying “what’s the point in anything?” so best to just move along. Its seems apparent that for me at times of stress art drops way down my priority list.

As Stimpy (of Ren and Stimpy) would say “Happy Happy, Joy Joy”

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