Last night was the opening party for a sweet wee expo I am doing, down in Telese at Giuseppe Lese’s Hops2o beer house.
Here are a few snapshots of the preparations and vernissage:
The kitchen has been a squeeze, with two Terra Vivente artist residency guests, and my own makeshift office and studio, as my downstairs rooms are still too damp to house paintings, nor anything papery…
I spent at least 2 days painting all the edges of the big unframed paintings, with several layers of gouache needed on each edge.
It has been a bit of higgledy-piggledy summer, as I moved out of my studio and down to my basement (the old stable) to allow the lovely international artists to stay in my upper rooms all summer… I hadn’t really taken into account how much stuff I’d have to house, and then the big water issue from the house above set me back loads: wet wet wet, damaged paintings, had to simplify my pop-up shop event hugely, needed to keep all delicate things at the front of the house, and avoid any wooden furniture touching the floor, etc, etc. Urgh. So ultimately, the consequence was my having to try and do all my art activities in the kitchen, which has been shared with my lovely (and very accomodating!) guests.
Anyways, it felt great to get the stack of 15 paintings, some of them rather large, out of the kitchen, and up towards to car. I’m very grateful to my dear artist guest Fleur Brett, who assisted me in not straining a muscle in my back, by helping pull the trolley up those big steps. Phew! This is one of the reasons I dislike framing my artwork- glass and wood are heavy!
One of the slightly challenging aspects of having a house in an Italian medieval quarter: everything we want carried in or out, must be taken under our own steam, up a load of steep stairs, and up a steep cobbled hill (or two). I can get the car down to this wee piazza, but only if I fold the wing mirrors in.
The show was about the easiest ever I have hung: Giuseppe got these fabulous vertical strips of wood attached to the walls, with nice metal hooks in- all I needed to do was put a painting on each one, in an aesthetically-correct manner, and hooray! I love seeing my colourful artwork on these warm, dark grey walls.
Here is an article in the regional paper Il Sannio: it talks about the expo being a selection of works from the past 7 yrs, which is a powerful period of time, as it represents the period in which the human body replaces every single cell with a new one. So every 7 year cycle, we are effectively a completely different person.This article also refers to my involvement in the Scottish referendum debate; the importance of our spiritual autonomy and sustainability within ourselves, in order to be a country and culture which can flourish.
My paintings contain stories about our cycles, our patterns in life: about how we can find equilibrium by being aware of these cycles, being responsible and conscious- the potential to interact healthily in our own co-creation, by not simply following a destructive pattern to its logical end, e.g. The above painting which we used in the poster for this expo, is a good solid example of the kinds of figurative artworks I do: it has a small figure inside a bigger one. To me, the larger self represents a person who has this dialogue, energetic discourse, relationship with the smaller self inside.
I feel strongly about leaving the interpretation of art to whoever might be looking at it in any given moment, and am passionately against the dry assumptions of ego-based art forces, which think that ‘regular’ folks cannot see art. I heartily believe that creativity is a divine right of every person, and that art in particular is a thing which we all have an eye to see, a heart to feel, a voice to speak about. I’ve had all sorts of very differing reactions to the same painting throughout my career, from sheer anger to tears of compassion and grief.
I adore the fabric that is woven around a piece of artwork, by the myriad emotions and perspectives which are presented by those experiencing it.
We had a lovely wee presentation from Guiseppe, about his dream to bring this lovely beer house into being, and to have a place which brings together wonderful artisan produce, great music and inspiring art. His beer house is quite unlike any other place in the zone- perhaps much more like a northern European pub- I am happy to have my work there, as he shares my values and attention to detail, and creates this warm atmosphere which I prefer (in contrast to a cold gallery space).
Here we are cutting ribbon, with the mayor of Telese, and another of our international artists from the Terra Vivente Art Studio, Indian photographere Shiv Ahuja.
And then we got stuck in with eating and drinking and looking at art and chatting at length! Fabulous!
It has been a brilliant experience, hanging out with all the artists, and with some lovely Guardia people, this summer- we have gone to many expo openings, had tons of shared meals and bottles of wine, and created a truly stupendous web of connections, which now reaches from Guardia’s centro storico to the far side of the planet!
It is one of my greatest pleasures to break bread and share a good beer with new and old friends. Life doesn’t get much better than that, eh!
At the end of the evening, I had a great discussion with some wonderful people whose family is originally from Guardia, who have some very old property here, and are inspired by what is happening, to possibly set up something interesting too- that, and another old friend contacted me this week about scoping the town out as a possible base for a spiritual centre. Things seem to have such a good momentum here! Then I was interviewed by Alessio, Lorenzo and Mariapaola for Art’Empori until I was flagging from brain drain -hehe! I sped home up the hill to Guardia, singing loudly and thoroughly satiated.
You can read more about my work via my Arthouse website.
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