kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
About a fortnight ago now, I went to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Natural History Museum with [personal profile] swaldman (we are making a habit of this!). I was certainly of the opinion (and I think Simon agreed?) that this year's finalists appeared to have been selected more on technical difficulty than on anything that we could emotionally connect to in the pictures; this was cemented rather for me by the fact that I have more favourites from the 25 People's Choice Award finalists than from the rest of the exhibition (certainly proportionally and possible absolutely). Voting is open until the 16th of January -- maybe go play if you feel that way inclined?

The particular ones I'm having difficulty choosing between are Caterpillar curl, Jelly starburst and Tasty delicacy (which last hits all my buttons around Victorian botanical and zoological illustration).

My highlights from the main exhibition. )
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I have very clear memories of my ten-year-old self being immensely, deeply unimpressed by Rothko and Mondrian. I was very angry about why this constituted "art"; my definition of art explicitly excluded square canvases painted a single colour.

My ten-year-old self is gently unimpressed every time I stop dead in front of a six-foot-square matte black canvas in an art gallery, wonderstruck, and go "hmm, yes, isn't it fascinating what's being done here, isn't this good."

I am nursing a theory that the main differences between me-then and me-now are:
  1. I'm no longer in a situation where my autism is actively decried, and have internalised that it's okay for particular colours or shapes to make me happy, just because, and (as a superset, really)
  2. I've started believing that it's okay for me to have and experience emotions full stop (and am sufficiently well medicated that I can and do).

Which means that, over the past few years, I've stopped interpreting modern and especially abstract art as, fundamentally, threats: I've stopped responding automatically with defensive suspicion and fury to forms of art that (crudely!) exist to make me feel things.

There is nuance to this, of course. Seeing the Barbara Hepworth exhibit at the Tate Britain, the (possible? probable?) reasons for my emotional response clicked into place when I read that a lot of her more abstract work was in response to or in dialogue with her feelings of being cradled by landscape, and particularly by the Lake District and by Cornwall; all of a sudden it was obvious to me that the sense of home-and-safety-and-familiarity I get off those sculptures is, in fact, the same sense of awe and belonging and recognition I get staring out to sea or feeling dwarfed on valley floors or what-have-you.

That was followed up by another visit to the Tate Britain, one day I wound up in the right area of London with some time to kill, where what I'd intended to do was poke my nose into some of the public galleries. I saw War Damaged Musical Instruments advertised on the website and ignored it -- and then stopped dead in the middle of the hall it occupied, the moment I got there, and spent twenty minutes sat there crying.


One of the things I've been gently sad about for quite a long time is that I'm a classically-trained musician who is mostly very, very bad at listening to classical music unless it's something I've played or am preparing to play, such that I'm listening as a technical study. (I think I've talked before about mostly relating to music as either a technical study or a vehicle for lyrics, but if not I can give it a go.) I'm starting to think it might be time to have another go.

Art notes--

Mar. 9th, 2016 02:40 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
  • Just now, in the Tate Britain, whereupon I stopped dead in the middle of a soundscape gallery and dissolved into tears - Susan Pilipz: War Damaged Musical Instruments. It is 32 minutes long; I have time that needs using so I've parked myself in a corner to keep listening while I type this.
  • Modern Art Desserts spotted in the shop; now also at [syndicated profile] modernartdesserts_feed.
  • On Friday, Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture. I had, I'm afraid, not previously really registered his existence much; it turns out that I am really very into his 3D-drawings-with-wire (particularly the ones relating to planets), and also will quite happily sit and stare at the gallery of mobiles (he invented the things; I am particularly fond of Vertical Foliage 1941 and the various snow flurries, for which see e.g. the Calder Foundation) for indefinite periods of time.
  • Of Vanilla and Concrete, I most enjoyed Marie Lund's sculpture, particularly her curtains.
  • I am very keen on Bridget Riley, and Magdalena Abakanowicz' Embryology 1978-1980.
  • I still don't care particularly for Henry Moore's figures, but get on well enough with his more abstract work.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
(On til October 25th and highly recommended; if you have a wheelchair-using friend, persuade them to go with you and via the magic of concession + companion the price drops from a slightly eyewatering £18/head to a much more reasonable £7.75, I am just saying.)

Something I've been remarking on to pretty much anyone who's around when the topic comes up, recently, is that I Am Very Into Modern Sculpture These Days and I don't actually know why, in that I can't articulate what about abstract sculpture it is that does it for me (which I'd like to be able to if only so that, having articulated the matter, I can find more of it), and I'm also not terribly literate on the genre so am unaware of the conversations going on around me.

This exhibit made a point of emphasising that Hepworth's later work - the characteristic abstract carvings - were conceptualised by the artist as landscapes enfolding and embracing the viewer. 'I cannot write anything about landscape without writing about the human figure and human spirit inhabiting the landscape. For me, the whole art of sculpture is the fusion of these two elements.' (And here's the paper I'm quoting that from, on figure and landscape.)

In addition to which, something I had not previously consciously understood is that she adopted Cornwall, or Cornwall adopted her, or something; and even it was almost the right part, by which I mean almost the part of the coast path I - still - know so well that you can show me a photograph taken anywhere along a 10-mile stretch and I'll be able to tell you where the photographer was standing.

The exhibition included a film, part of her very careful curation of public images of her works, of her sculptures in situ in the liminal space that is beaches and coastal cliffs, with waves washing over them, as inherently tactile objects designed to be touched and lifted and moved and seen, and seen through, in the dual sense of transparency and lens.

Even I began, almost, to understand Cubism: in the gallery of her early work, exhibited alongside that of her partner Ben Nicholson, with which and with whom she was in dialogue.

The curation of this exhibition is thoughtful and kind and clever, but clever in that it invites you to join in its delight, rather than being at all remote or austere. It was an absolute joy to move around; there were felicities of alignment at my height that were simply deliciously sensual, and I gather it worked similarly well when standing. I was very, very glad to have spent an afternoon in its company.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
-- two recommendations, of a craft persuasion, given that I'm currently placing orders and such for the first iteration of Celestarium I'll be making--

Woolstack are online-only and do knitting needles, crochet hooks, embroidery supplies, and lots of fantastic yarn including being the best UK supplier of Malabrigo I found in a poking-at-the-internet sort of a way. On top of which I e-mailed to say, excuse me, I'm after this particular colourway of this particular Malabrigo yarn, but you don't list it, are you willing to order it in? And they e-mailed back to say, Malabrigo is currently out of stock but if you're willing to wait I'll get in touch with them and ask when they next expect a supply, but we've got it in in a different size so here's a photo of the four colourways you wanted next to each other so you can see how they look. And I e-mailed back and said yes, please do ask them; and they e-mailed back to say it should be coming back in stock sometime in the next couple of weeks, but please do place an order now with an extra skein of a different colourway and leave us a note that you're wanting the Abril when it comes in, because that way we definitely won't sell out of any of the other things you want while you're waiting. To which I say: CUSTOMER SERVICE YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT.

Secondly, there is a small independent beading supplies shop in Cambridge called the Beaderie. I've bought small quantities of stuff from them in the past, and they've done some excellent repair work for my mum; I know they do good quality and good customer service. Anyway, the point is I've been having heaps of fun over the past few days poking around the various supplies (seriously just look at all the semi-precious stones and tell me I'm wrong for wanting an excuse to use the labradorite and rutilated quartz as stars), and in particular it's cheered me right up just now.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. Counselling is just around the corner from the V&A. [personal profile] aella_irene likes the V&A. Ergo we had lunch sat on the art installation You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well as by Reflection, having spent the morning hanging out in the ironwork collection. (My plan for next time involves making friends with the glass gallery; wrought iron is something I just... find incredibly soothing, for reasons I haven't quite articulated but that include the fact that it's very stark in terms of colours involved, and has lots of nice bold lines and repeating patterns.)

2. Relatedly, plants: the hydrangeas up the sides of the central courtyard are currently fantastic, as are the other plantings, and [personal profile] aella_irene very generously gave me a bag of her household's surplus raspberries, so that was a joy and a delight.

3. Our internet connection is unstable enough (and I'm undermedicated enough) that I don't particularly feel like coding; nonetheless I made lots of progress with my Dreamwidth todo list today.

4. Benefits-related discussion. )

5. Peak 90s Kid: my mum frantically facebook IMing me for tech support. I sort of provided it, ineffectually, and she actually sorted the problem out by herself, and that means there exist more photos on the internet of me & largest smallcousin.

6. We had tinned pineapple in the house; we now have pineapple upside-down cake.

7. Another batch of rosemary sourdough is rising on the side, to be breakfast-and-lunch food.

8. I have Steam installed on the new laptop and it was rapid and painless and completely unlike most of my other attempts to install Steam under Debian. This means that I now have a MOUNTAIN yes yes.

9. Every time I reread your blue-eyed boys I find more things in it, and they are comfort and they are in their fragmentary way moments of peace.

10. Externally-sourced self-worth: my comments on the MeFi thread are getting favourited by lots of people & positively engaged with. Hurrah for managing to say things that are useful to people.
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
Among my other activities of the last few days, I managed to stick my head round the door of the Whitworth, an art gallery set in a park in Manchester.

Whereupon I promptly fell in love.

Read more... )
... and then it was time for me to head home for dinner, but if you're in the area I strongly recommend the gallery and I will definitely be going back next time I'm up there with my chair (this time I was stick-only, which makes art Hard). The curation is excellent, the staff are friendly and helpful, there's a sculpture trail through the park (and on leaving I saw a couple of dudes playing music & dancing beautifully and fluidly in ways I totally don't understand underneath and around Christine Borland's Hippocratic Tree) and there's lots of light and seating and such. I fundamentally think of myself as someone who Doesn't Get Modern Art and I am still going back ASAP.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Okay, so periodically I play the game of "I would like to meet the jewelry or elsewise art (preferably wearable) that goes with this name". Because armour comes in many forms and habits, and so on.

THEREFORE I am going to write them down so they are not simply rattling around my head or as disparate tags on this here journal:

my true name [which needs to have inherent the danger & recklessness of bearing one's true name openly]
mythologising the self/automythopoeia
the self as landscape
patchwork scraps of grace
the self as statuary

-- which will do for now (though by all means play in comments).

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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