Archive for April, 2009

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.

Campbell’s Soup. P Dawson (2009)

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Note to self

A page from the notebook I carry in my handbag:

blue oyster

New Yorker March 30th
Brooklynhenge Ben McGrath

Guest of Cindy Sherman
Paul H-O


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Artful day

While driving someoneiknow to work this morning I came across a very similar scene to this (but not in black and white)

MARTI FRIEDLANDER Eglinton Valley 1970
Black and white photograph

Then this afternoon my oldest daughter danced on the beach with seaweed in her hands just like in “The Piano“. A discussion also ensued online about my artificial fingertip and possibly being the Tony Lommi of the ukulele. I still prefer Ada’s.

Still from “The Piano

And tonight I feeling very middle class by booking my oldest daughter riding lessons, which bought to mind this music (warning plays actual music). What an odd TV series that was (but I loved it anyway). Or maybe it should be Follyfoot?

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The Art of Python

My favourite Monty Python sketch is the Llama one. But in keeping with this blog

I don’t think any of my kids have ever chewed on an artwork though (well not in a gallery)

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I noticed

This quote:

“I really think it’s important to be in a situation, both in art and in life, where you don’t understand what is going on.” ~John Cage

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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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Who is kidding who?

On Saturday I snuck out to the Dunedin Art Gallery for a quick look around.  It was unfortunately a VERY quick look as Cafe Nova seem to not appreciate customers dining alone and for the 2nd time I have been basically forgotten about. Change of cafe needed.

Anyway I wanted to looked at the Di ffrench exhibition, Activating Ideas and Te Huringa/Turning Points. Both left me a little bemused and I haven’t been able to write about it. Then today I read David Eggleton’s review of the ffrench show in the Listener and was so amazed that we saw it so differently that I am inspired to try and write something about it.

I suspect the difference is that I knew little (or nothing) about ffrench’s work and so could not place it in any context and therefore I didn’t really pick up on the large photos of muscular nude men that apparently dominated the show (according to Eggleton and the catalogue). I was much more drawn to the female studies and altered, layered, collaged and projected photographs. There was a series of  The Lady of Shallot that I was very drawn to. After reading the catalogue and Eggleton’s review I have this odd feeling we were looking at very different exhibitions and I wonder if I should go back. I admit I entirely blanked out the video installations but still its odd the male figures didn’t really register (not being adverse to naked men or anything).

Te Huringa/Turning Points confused me even more. It apparently “presents a diverse range of works devoted to the representation of Māori and Māori subject matter by Pākehā and the way in which Māori art practitioners have reflected their own ideas and concerns” and the works are selected from the Fletcher Trust collection and the SarjeantGallery collection. I thought it was a really interesting idea but was limited by the collections. What I mean is it could have worked much better with access to more works. Maybe that would have been too  much scope though? That said there were some stand-out items, including Robyn Kahukiwa’s Tihe Mauriora and also landscapes by John Tole, Melvyn Day and Selwyn Muru.

Tihe Mauriora (1990)

I am a bit “over exposed” to Kahukiwa but this work was very powerful (and I liked the spray paint).

The thing that completely creeped me out was Catharine Hodson’s Touching the Unthinkable. A big room installation about the artist’s experiences with cancer. To me it was all the worst parts of hospitals and medicalisation. Did NOT want to go there. So I guess it was sucessful in evoking a response with me.

A quick mention of Michael Morely’s “big wall” show. I don’t get it at all. I mean its so like Julian Dashper. The Aubudon birds were worth seeing though. I’d seen the other sections on display before so gave them a miss in my haste

So to an enthusiastic amateur such as me it was a good mix of things to see. I probably totally missed the various points but it made me wonder what the experience of the “man on the street” is when going to a gallery. What is the demographic of the gallery visitor? Why are they there at all?

*Written to the tunes of Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis “Autumn Leaves” from the Somethin’ Else record

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