The first time this principle cropped up in an art project was during an intensive summer course in paper-making. We made batches of pulp and were then expected to create something with it. I don't think I had any idea what I was going to do, but I started to produce, at an increasingly frenetic pace, two kinds of object. I twisted strips of nylon stockings and dipped them in the pulp, hanging them up to dry in the sun; and I slapped handfuls of the pulp on to inflated balloons, producing leaf-shaped objects. I had never worked so obsessively in my life. And what fascinated me was that I kept doing the same thing, yet the results were all different. I continued dipping and moulding until time ran short, and then I assembled my whole inventory on a frame. I remember thinking that the pieces were metaphors for human beings--all the same, all different.
|Pancake 2 - white china marker - 19" x 21"|
|Fish nor Fowl - oil sticks - 15" x 29"|
|Out of the Frying Pan - oil sticks - 21" x 29"|
After that I let some of the crepes dry out for a week or so, and documented the distorted shapes that they made as they curled up. These I did not eat. To my surprise they turned into bizarre skull- and mask-like forms.
|Crepe-Mask 1 - conte crayon - 30" x 23"|
|Crepe-World - oil sticks on canvas on board - 36" x 42"|
Did you guess what the images I included last week represented? I've found in the past that people's suggestions have ranged from the microscopic to the cosmic--single cells to heavenly bodies!
In 2006 I had a commission to paint something for a newly renovated kitchen. The clients wanted something about 24" x 36" and they liked some of the oversized still life subjects I'd worked on. Since the wife said she was particularly fond of persimmons, I suggested that instead of one painting I should do six small ones, 10" x 10" square, each one of a different persimmon. I discovered, as with the hamsters and gerbils, that each one was unique, with its own rosette of leaves. I also learned how to enjoy eating persimmons, avoiding the astringent fibres that come with some varieties.
|Six Persimmons - acrylic on panels, each 10" x 10"|
Next time (around April 17): Spotlight on Gastropods: "Van Huysum's Snails 1 and 2"