Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vistual Arts Experience in London circa 1970...part I

Maybe it is time to comment on Visual Arts. Yes, I have to go back to complete a four year program in Visual Arts. I am that stupid. No I got pregnant. Which wasn't dumb. It was time. Not many would be pregnant at university in Visual Arts. I think I was waiting for a doctor to marry me and save me. Which sort of happened. Not really. Three kids popped out before I knew what was happening. Which is, in hindsight a creative process. If you want to plan for a family it will never happen. And when it does happen for you great. For me, it didnt happen the way I had planned because I found a difficult time to merge the two worlds of Art and Family.
Most professional artists I had the pleasure to interview and befriend were really scary. They did not have families. They were divorced or in the process. They were single loners with their love of their life Art. I really wanted to figure out was I willing to sacrifice my family life for art (ooops sorry, Art). In a way, after reading art manifestos about this and that, I figured experience the better teacher. I would be the Marcel Duchamp of the domestic chess game. Adapt or die. In this search to find myself and my new budding family and a world of creative art marketing and professional art strategy, I felt scared. The threshold was narrowing, my decisions limited. The window of opportunity slammed shut on my foot and now I am just getting back to where I left off, at 50? Yes I have been the dappler, the Sunday dreamer of believing "I Am An Artist". Duncan DeK would not approve. I have failed my art school. But I set presidents (sp?) in my ability to be who I am without the burden of those "telling who I should be, what I should do, how I should live" Although in part, there will always be those who tell us "what to do". It is part of the infernal plot to micromanage our existence. Complete as a Clockwork Orange. We dont even know how brainwashed we truly are, and that is sad. Survival, on the other hand is a great teacher, mentor and cold hearted orb of a friend. Lonely place. Sad place. Hidden behind the masterpieces? Pain. It is the way it is, it is life and I can't change that.
My ability to confront my need demons is not of a leadership capacity. I tend to avoid confrontation. This is good and bad. Not to moralize here but I think I needed time to sort out who I am and where I fit into this world. Self-examination is the artist's job description, or should be for tres Beaux Art (not the school). I think I had been given the right tools for the job. Here is the blank canvas, go ahead and paint.
Meeting the artist Guido Molanari was perhaps one of the biggest events of my art studio experience at Western's Fine Art department.
He taught me how to draw.
One day we were Life Drawing (from the nude) and he was there. He magically appeared. Paterson Ewen my professor had invited him into our studio drawing class.
His trademark navy trenchcoat besmugged with Montreal lofts and gutters. He was human. He was Guido.
Guido taught us to start with the pencil to the paper and dont look at the page. Ever. The line would be expressed through feeling not image. It was a lesson that has stayed with me as I search for the expression of line and the meaning of colour. Taking me onto another journey. Kadinski studies of synethesia, the melding of sound, colour, taste, hearing, experience, into a deeper meaning of the plastic means of visual art. Modern, very Modern Art.
Paterson Ewen the Venice Biennale winner for the year I was there was off to Venice with Mary Hansen. Mary and Paterson were a couple and I had felt very happy for them. It was through much suffer Paterson evoked the images of his Universal Spatial realities, and I enjoyed the odd Blue at Ceeps when it had those old panorama landscapes of the Canadian rockies. It was gritty and real. Paterson would be very laid back, and hardly ever say much. Often he was in his own world and to face this world his eye would twitch as he look over his horned-rimmed glasses. Odd I had this fantasy about him then. I thought he could have been someone else in my life, like a long lost Uncle or brother that suffered some cruel fate in the war. I knew this to be true. He was a saintly sort of brother and I wanted to help him, with his situation, but they were, really beyond my abilities. I offered friendship and the odd beer. That was good enough.
Visiting Ron Martin's studio in the 80's was a highlight for me as a wannabe artist in training bra. It was a cold and snowy New Years day. Ron Martin and me were celebrating together in his studio (not what you think, although). Ron Martin was working on the paint chip series of painting that were one tint to the left. That was incredible. The detail. The precision. The dedication gave me an indication that this work was not cut out for sissies afraid of late nights by the record machine. It was a hard grind, life as a painter. It was so meticulously executed by Ron I was in awe of his mastery. I sat back and watched him paint on New Years. The painting was the party. It was awesome!
My boyfriend at the time name witheld had just broken up with me. I was not prepared for a second failure of a relationship. Ron would always have his Art to love him and I could only hope that he would find time to find someone. Some artists cannot love, but they do try, Ron I use the patting of the bed to remind my hub it is time for bed, I'm 50 now and surely on my way out. Not that I want to. Nor do I need to, I just feel the scene has passed me by or the train left the station and I am holding the bag. Back to the Ceeps!
My old boyfriend use to have a studio at the old Cigar factory on King St. It was vacant for many years sitting there unloved. It eventually was torn down for the condo trade. I really did love to sneak into that building and recall its history. I have an affinity to old buildings and times. I get caught feeling the ghosts of those worlds and can tune into the art world in the 60's with Greg Curnoe, Paterson Ewen, Ron Martin, Ramon Krecetas and others in London Ontario's own factory of artists. Pie-In-The-Sky, -It- Must-Have-Been-A-Great-Time-To-Be-An-Artist cooperative.
Hearing stories about Paterson and lustfully and fitfully painting the surface router in tow, Greg Curnoe with his pop art Percy bird and sensitive paintings of his wife with the Jackie O hair bob. It was timeless. The time was just so. It had to be synchronicity, all this coming together of talented painters.
Back to the early 70's visiting the gallery every Saturday, I would happen upon artists at the Forest City Art Gallery, then on King Street by the Eaton's mall and Novacks Army Surplus store.
to be continued...

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