“Only Jesus can be naked on the cross. You can’t do that to President Zuma…an insensitive creation by a white person”.” ( Barend La Grange, vandal of Murray artwork)
Well, with so many interesting debates going on about censorship, racism, cultural ethics and the nature and purpose of art, who has time to worry about unfinished paintings?
I have thrown this topic into numerous lunch and dinner conversations, and am always delighted at the way it gets everyone hot under the collar! No more talk about the weather and the price of petrol!
Real thinking required :)
Please feel free to leave comments and engage with this fascinating debate! I personally go with Mike van Graans review of Brett Murray’s entire exhibition “Hail to the Thief”
Interesting/informative links discussing the Zuma Spear Controversy..:
I was chatting to my son’s squash coach the other day. He mentioned that none of our country’s top players have the discipline to play themselves on the squash court, which means playing the same shot hundreds of times… this seemed to imply to me an explanation of their lack of presence on an international level. I drew a comparison with art, where I’ve made similar observations: if someone is not willing to practice the same thing over and over again, they won’t advance as far or as fast. The coach added that in his experience as an English teacher, he always spent time teaching kids discipline, which usually lead to them having better self-discipline; an invaluable attribute in his opinion. Now that might sound terribly old-school, conjuring visions of corporal punishment, petty rules, and intimidated kids. But I think what he was referring to is discipline in the sense of structure and boundaries, which I have come to realise makes perfect sense in my own teaching experience:
I started off being nice. Ha. Chaos and mediocre creativity, even at university level. When I made it clear-unsmilingly- what I expected of my students in terms of punctuality and work ethic, set them challenging tasks, and had no mercy for lame excuses and negative attitudes, output and standard soared. They loved me, and I wasn’t nice. A revelation, especially for a woman :)
Now the real sticking point is of course the application of all of this insight to myself.
I struggle to finish my paintings. I have little discipline. Unless there’s a deadline like an exhibition opening forcing me to get on with it, I have problems carrying through the original impetus, procrastinating until the work has lots of all of its original appeal/reason. New Age advice has me search my chakra balance/childhood/ascendant for causes of this. So far, I have self-helped admirably in some areas but not when it comes to my art. I obviously need a stern tutor such as the squash coach, who looks like he can deliver!
So what to do when you only know the kind of discipline that leads to repression, depression, and denial, and must therefore be avoided? Thanks to an authoritarian upbringing I’m unfamiliar with constructive discipline. I rebel at the mention of daily practice, even though that is what I teach others. My excuses are many, but I’m getting bored with my own dysfunction here. There are times when I think that I’m just not cut out to be an artist, and should rather spend my spare time teaching my kids self-discipline :)
Anyone out there willing to share/suggest/coach?
Some of my unfinished paintings. Sigh.
This post struck a deep chord with me. I have a long history of lurking in the safety of my lonesome castle, and no insightful parent encouraged me to venture forth into the world; taking risks, confronting fears, finding out who I am in the process. To this day I struggle to claim my gifts, finish what I start, embrace success.
Of course, all that brooding, non-stop reading and fantasy-worlding can perhaps be credited for my creative vein developing as strongly as it did, so this is not meant to be an ode to self-pity :) I am touched every day by insights from blogs like 400 days’til 40, and I feel less discontent with my achingly slow progress.
The self-portrait above expresses a lot of my fears, longing, and yes, hope!
Thanks to http://destructivetesting.wordpress.com for posting- had to share!
I really admire people who can transform “junk” into unique forms of creative expression. Saving the planet and inspiring it, excellent choice!
Dörte Berner has been a sculptress for fifty dedicated years. She and her husband Volker came to Namibia 46 years ago and started a carpet weaving business. Dörte managed to maintain a high level of productivity, throughout the challenges of managing a family, business, and her art. Her numerous exhibitions locally and in Europe always landed rave reviews, and walking through her newly opened sculpture gallery situated in the old weaving rooms on the farm, is a captivating experience: The artist’s diversity of medium and message. Her deeply symbolic and metaphorical themes. The sheer skill and dexterity required, working with stones such as serpentine, basalt, sandstone, marble, and granite; using only hand-held tools, never electrical ones.
A lot of Dörte’s works are lyrical interpretations of African life- animals like warthogs, vultures, goats; workers sowing, native religious customs, mother and child figures, drought allegories. Mostly, though, she delights in portraying universal concepts such as metamorphosis, spirituality, power, the mysteries of time, space, and death; and so on. Her later works become increasingly conceptual and abstract, often commenting on social or political situations, such as war/torture. Combining wood, felt, and entire installations like the hanging uniform seen below, with her stone sculptures adds even more dimension to an already complex and very engaging body of work.
We spent hours talking and looking, and still felt like we hadn’t seen everything. Dörte explained every single piece in great detail, and it was a humbling experience to witness so much fierce commitment, knowledge as well as wisdom in one artist. We will be back!
All sculptures by Dörte Berner,
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and more about creative community…
I read this article on the an website this morning: http://www.a-n.co.uk/ and thought I’d share it:
“Drawing from the Artists talking blogs and the artists who keep them, this article will examine the many positive benefits of keeping an artist’s blog.
With, at the latest count, over 3000 social network sites on the internet, and with any organisation or individual with a desire to be seen, heard and acknowledged poking, prodding, blogging and tweeting their little hearts out all over the (non-)place, it is more vital then ever that you have an online presence, and blogging is a flexible, gainful and deeply useful way to get it. Blogging for artists is not just about making sure you are heard and seen by the people who you want to be heard and seen by, it is also an integral part of your practice and, as Jane Ponsford put it, a “virtual…
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