Thursday, December 2, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Anyway, my point is to start, to begin and not in a little notebook or sketchbook. This approach is not for me right now, that's too easy and too much like the preparation I've come to use as a crutch, I've done enough of that. When I was doing my A' Levels my teacher complained that I didn't prepare enough, he could tell I'd done my "prep" work afterward to meet the criteria, he had no problem with the finished pieces, just that he had no idea how I'd gotten there. Most of the time if I had done any draft work, I'd throw it away so there was no evidence that I did "rough" work, I didn't want anyone to think I ever did anything that wasn't to a very high standard, sorry I mean perfect (I think I believed that was actually possible at the time). I missed out on some of the thinking that's generated when working practically. Maybe I realised then, that if I think too much, I'll think myself out of doing things, so I decided to jettison the preparatory drafts, and perhaps missed out on something in the process. That was 12 years ago and now I've gone totally the other way. But instead of rough work there are pages and pages of notes and musings and occasional sketches, doodles and repeat patterns. And much fewer paintings.
I've come to rely on reading about all manner of things relating to what I want to convey and that has got in the way a bit. I can be a bit literal at times, I've been running this way and that forgetting that in reading and researching, (which I would never jettison) by osmosis my work will change and be as influenced as I am. I'd also dabbled with graphics in a very rigid way, ignoring the fact that I could incorporate text and design into a fine art portfolio without having to change my professional identity to fit the method. I had wanted to be concrete where I never had before, really I want to create mood and representations of people and of fluid ideas that are mutable, gently humourous at times and intelligently beautiful.
Well, I'm starting,...again.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I've been really lucky to work for WRVS Heritage Plus on four occasions, the three year lottery funded project has just come to an end and I'm just finishing up my last reminiscence art project for my group in Portslade. Above is the collaborative painted quilt made at the end of a five week reminiscence activity programme. The theme was "Parenting" and I for one enjoyed myself immensely working with Rod, June, Janet, Mel, Jen, Chris, Christine, Bill, Sathi, Eileen and Frank. They're all parents with lots to share about the joys and hardships they experienced bringing up their children. I learned an enormous amount and I'm in the process of producing a booklet based on our discussions so that these valuable tales can inspire others.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
I'm used to being pretty scruffy these days, I iron nothing and none of my jeans really fit so it's been leggings (and jeggings) mostly - they're so versatile and stretchy, their main virtue. So what to do? I never go to stuff like this, the last one I went to I was perilously in contrast to every other woman there, it's a minefield. I wouldn't normally care, I have a go-to dress (good with leggings and jeans and boots) but I wear it ALL THE TIME, and I always look fat in it if photographed, I know, I know but... Also my friend has organised it so want to make an effort to look like I made an effort y'know? After more effort than, politically, given the nature of the event I should have spent, I'm wearing a pair of my boyfriend's trousers and feel far more comfortable. And have contrasted successfully with some appropriate red shoes!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
This will be most excellent, am very excited and somewhat overawed to be in such company.
Hopefully lots of money will be raised but perhaps more valuable is the raising of awareness, the gradual progress of such things into the mainstream norm. Please come along if you can! x
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
For my contribution to Ginger Moo's Bloom Boom community Project I've decided to go with hair as my theme. I've included as many different hair colours and types as possible to suggest diversity (of age and ethnic background) in our community and I also want to highlight the importance of hair (mainly for women) in our culture. It is problematic and revered symbolically and groomed and obliterated actually, for seemingly many different reasons. Hair on women is significant based on its quality, quantity and location on the body and we buy into many prejudices whether they are commercially, religiously or sexually rooted. As a feminist I believe women should be able to choose how to present their bodies, since the image of the female body is contentious from all different angles, as Germaine Greer said (and I paraphrase) there is no liberation to be had from flaunting our bodies or covering them up, it's a catch 22 if we think that this where our worth lies. Image is important in any culture and hair plays a part in this, but it is neither the root of our power and worth, nor is hair's meaning trivial, the issues are more tangled than we may ever be able to comb through...
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Some of my work has been included on the new website Bodies of Work.
"Bodies of Work is a collaborative student project, organised between postgraduates at Cambridge and Sussex, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It forms the second issue of Women and the Arts, a journal published by The Arts Society, Newnham College in December 2009 that marked the 80th anniversary of Virginia Woolf's talk, 'Women and Fiction', which was hosted by The Arts Society in 1928, and its subsequent publication as of A Room of One's Own in 1929."
Have a look around the project's site and also see my Dancers www.bodiesofwork.info
Friday, April 23, 2010
So, as you may have gathered from previous post, still in US. Luckily, we have met so many interesting people there's always lots to keep us amused should we find ourselves bored in NY?!
Last night we went to an event at Barnard College, this is a part of Columbia University, the campus is wow, so grand all the neo-classical erections and wot not, but that said, size and grandeur isn't everything and I like Virginia Woolf's ideas about universities in 'A Room of One's Own' that they need not be so grand and imposing and full of themselves and that the learning is more important than however many slabs of granite and however many years of secret handshakes and society traditions *cough-Oxbridge-cough* so, moving on. The event was a workshop called 'F*cking While Feminist' by a most inspirational young feminist called Shelby Knox whom we'd been lucky enough to meet twice before on this trip.
This was a real eye opener for me, everyone that participated in sharing their observations about sex in general and also their own personal experiences were eloquent, open and respectful of one another. Ideas of feminist sex positivity, which I've always considered to mean that as a feminist you can be a woman with a pulse and desires and not just the stereotype of a craggy old spinster in dungarees yelling that all sex is subjugation and by extension rape, although it's an option taken up by some who spoil the term for the rest of us subservient lot with libidos; I suppose a good analogy is the stereotype of a religious fundamentalist who spoils the image of any religion for those who just have faith and get on with it. [Disclaimer: for the record it's an analogy, I am NOT espousing feminism as a religion.] But from this came other definitions of sex-positive; being open/respectful to all notions of gender and sexual experience; consensual, enjoyable sex where all parties are concerned about each other's fulfillment etc.
The way we express ourselves and the ways in which female sexuality is described and subsequently understood, came under fire quite a bit and it became even more apparent to me than previously that what we understand about sex, our bodies and our (shock horror sexual desires) as women are often abandoned by language, and yet it is communication that would make all of the difference. For women the other major problem, as one girl put it, is that sex is presented to women as about appearing sexy rather than feeling sexy. If all we ever do is contort ourselves so that we look slim and alluring and only our best 'side' is on display then no-one's ever going to get off. Sex is quite silly at times and yet it is used over and over in all manner of media as dead serious and mystical and blah blah blah.
To hear so many down to earth takes on the subject was interesting but there were also troubling things. One girl said that her sex education at school was thus: each girl was given one fresh glass of water and one glass of water with an oreo cookie crumbled into it. They were asked which one they would want to drink from and which one they thought would be appropriate to give to their husband. End of class! Outrageous. In the next room the boys we being told what sex was and how it worked. So, one might wonder, who were the girls these boys were supposed to be having sex with after acquiring this new found knowledge.
There were lots of stories about shame and feeling like they were wrong because they'd had sex young and then Shelby asked me to mention whether my experience with pressures and education was any different from a European perspective and I said that our sex education was fairly adequate but that at my secondary school the pressure was to have sex young, to want to hang onto your virginity was social suicide, to ditch it was a talking point and a trophy. This is as sad as treasuring it beyond all reason. It is not the most valuable or significant thing about anyone. There are lots of first times for all sorts of things sexual and otherwise.
This innovative approach where women have the freedom to discuss their experiences and concerns is real education, younger girls should be privy to panels such as this and be able to voice their confusion or ideas around sex. Sex education isn't just about mechanics and fear, it should be about pleasure too and about how to feel entitled to it without feeling like some hormonally charged slapper! Also very importantly the freedom not to have sex in our sex-saturated (sorry bad image) culture, opting out is as much of an option as opting in, it's about choice y'all after all.
Well, where to start? Had a very eventful few days and in hindsight it will all be very amusing...
So, a volcano erupts in Iceland and some flights are disrupted, we didn't think it would last long enough to effect our eagerly anticipated journey home (it's been amazing in the US these last months, but we both got cats we miss!) we were mega-wrong with bells on.
Then, in the early hours of Sunday morning we were still up working and the water tank above our bedrooms bursts and water gushed into Sarah's room and the kitchen, the guy who put us up in a converted garage in JC was un-contactable, not sure what we expected really, but that's another story, which will also be funny one day (well actually it's funny now but that's another story even)... So we called the Fire Dept which was quite exciting, by the time they arrived we were actually flooded and the kitchen and Sarah's room were under 2" of water and it was spreading throughout pretty quick. To stop it all we needed to do was shut off the stop-cock but we'd never been told where it was and in our defense it can't have been in an obvious place since the FD guys couldn't find it for ages either! God knows what they made of our space with some of our paraphernalia, Sarah had been doing a project with some rubber breasts which were hanging on the wall, and we have two cat calendars...in a garage...in New Jersey...
The next day our flight got canceled, we had no hot water, no kitchen and only one bedroom - the guy next door was really nice, he made us cappucinos and he had four cats (four!) so that cheered us up. Cue the next couple of days on and off on hold to Virgin Atlantic (seriously we were cut off so often being on hold for two hours at a time was something to celebrate) and the British Consulate in New York trying to make sure we didn't end up being detained for being illegal in the US, deportation would have been fine had it been possible! We were told initially that our earliest flight home would be the 1st of May!!! We persevered on hold the next day and brought it forward to the 26th. Luckily we were flying with Virgin so we have somewhere to stay that only has water in appropriate places like the sink, in Manhattan, which is lucky as even if we'd been welcome to stay where we were, it would have been as bleak and dank as a skanky flooded garage in New Jersey...
The staff at Virgin were a delight, maybe it had something to do with being so happy to speak to a human after listening to their automated toff going on about how great flying with Virgin is for soooo long, but considering they were probably dealing all day with people like the unhinged harpy I turned into when speaking to my travel insurance company, that makes them even nicer. The galling thing was that Virgin Holidays office is right near where I live, these people were literally a four minute walk from my cats...the audacity... I'm ashamed to say, my dealing with the travel insurance company was not so pleasant. I called the shareholders something not nice and rather loudly enquired of the poor woman on the other end of my Skype connection, why anyone ever bloody well bothers to buy any insurance at all. I'd searched the policy for the phrase 'Act of God' and it wasn't there so thought it would be ok, my mum wonders what Richard Dwarkins would have made of that in the same circumstances 'well, I'm an atheist and that won't wash with me, so cough up you despicable bunch of rip-off merchants' (that's how I imagine he'd phrase it). But in clause A.1.49.5 there was some toss about any delay as the direct or indirect(?) result of an order from any government about anything. At all. !@£$%^&*(?
Anyway, got a bit of holiday time at the end of this trip and are free from the bizarre damp studio set-up and it's affiliates, so all being well, home on Monday. Being an atheist like the aforementioned Professor Dwarkins all I can do is cross my fingers to aid this eventuality!! But maybe being such an infidel is a contributing factor since apparently it is immodest women and the godless that cause natural disasters, I do have a couple of low cut tops (lawks!) and I'm utterly faithless, whoops...check this out naughty women = earthquakes ...
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Read the original here on Google books (begins page 101 of The Yellow Wallpaper & Other Stories)
Monday, April 12, 2010
I was totally excited to see that she's written and designed a book which can only be described as a luxury feast for the eyes (and I've only seen excerpts on her website www.bantjes.com). I scooted straight to Amazon to pre-order my copy...now I have to wait till October for it but it'll be worth it I'm sure.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Anyway, the analogy I mentioned above: Have you ever been told, that to lessen the feelings of fear when giving a presentation one might try imagining the audience in their underwear as this serves to make them seem less intimidating, more comical, more vulnerable to you invulnerable clothedness? Let’s think about that for a moment…How often do we see images, in public, on the internet etc. of women in their underwear (or less)? That’s right all the time. Is this a coincidence? Probably not so much. So, as I said it's not the most ground-breaking thing, but sometimes I think it helps to be able to succinctly express why things are troubling, it stops one sounding like the Le Tigre track 'They want to make a symphony out of the sound of women swallowing their own tongues' when asked the question what's the problem? Why are you a feminist? err and um, and there's.... and um, and there's.... (can't disabled blinking italics).
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Here is the second zine I've completed for my course since I've been away. It's the Instruction & Advice Issue. We've met and continue to meet such great and inspiring people and I wanted to juxtapose the good sense and inspired ideas we've been offered, with the anonymous imperatives that come from street signs, packaging and sometimes even artwork. I'm pleased with this, using my photos was a great way to express things with immediacy. I've nearly finished the third one on the Feminist Serendipity which has decided the over-arching vibe of our stay.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
I am getting all technical and have just set up my new Flickr account and linked it to this blog! I'm the artist formerly known as Eliza Lazy, but that aka wasn't really working for me, as it was based on a joke about my workaholism which ended up getting lost and looking a bit pretentious. So now my professional identity will be very much me. I had previously thought that my given name was a bit boring, but to hell with it, it's my work that should be interesting after all!
The piece above from my flickr site which you can find here is part of a public art project for Crawley Borough Council. The recession has left lots of empty units and there has been funding to cheer up vacant units and thus the town centre. There has been some criticism levelled at the government for this, as it can be perceived as using artists as a way to distract from more urgent economic problems by being window dressing if you'll excuse the literal pun.
I understand that point but, artists need every break they can get in a very competitive world, we make things that are to be seen after all. And also very importantly, if it's done with good intentions and thought then it can be a great opportunity to use a great big space for positive ideas.
I chose to celebrate the young women of our town, this is one of 8 images created for empty commercial units. I wanted to use vibrant, dynamic, positive images of young women where they are represented dancing and expressing themselves rather than just being employed to decorate or sell things. Also Crawley is a very ethnically diverse town and I wanted the work to acknowledge this, since everyone should be represented in our cultural landscape. The images are based on photographs taken by the very talented Tony Witton who is currently exhibiting a collection of his live music photos at the Ginger Moo gallery also in Crawley.
Anyway I digress, I feel I need to look at the notion of such awakenings now, since having been reading, studying, eating and breathing feminist rhetoric, polemic and theory for a long time I have decided upon an outlet for doing something concrete beyond hoarding all of this great information in my brain and just talking. My MA project's new title 'Under Represented & Over Exposed' will be a means to produce material that I aim to have work beyond the gallery space. Material that will tackle the problem of young women and feminist consciousness, a zine and other well-designed, humourous and informative pamphlets and non-profit merch to raise awareness, bolster self-esteem and describe the nature of how self-worth is manipulated by the world around us. I want to make things that will circulate on lapels, on pin boards, taped to books etc. and for the knowledge and messages to be absorbed as normal. I've never wanted to be 'all mouth and no trousers' as the saying goes, so watch this space.
But, I wonder, what kind of things will prompt a feminist awakening in girls and young women under-schooled in their own worth and relevance beyond what is conventionally acceptable and successfully marketable? And in a culture that derides the term feminist, and where one often hears a sentence begin with 'I'm not a feminist but....' as if it's a shameful thing to align yourself with something that promotes equality, freedom, inclusion and diversity? I felt that my teen years were a struggle to fit in, to juggle what I actually wanted to do (stay at home and draw mostly) and what I needed to do and look-like to be acceptable, but by today's standards, I think I had a much easier ride. I feel quite lucky that Grunge was around during my adolescence since it meant that to a degree, for the brief period it was fashionable (before it gave way to scraped back ponytails and bronzing powder) I was able to look bloody scruffy and go unnoticed in this, ghostly pale Collection 2000 powder and black cherries Rimmel lipstick and maybe that weird green concealer from Avon that 'evens out skin tone' were the thing, spots were neutralised and the stark contrast with the lipstick drew attention away from anything else, blemishes, other facial features, natural disasters etc. Such minimal concerns compared to the ever expanding task of grooming today's women are undertaking seem almost quaint.
I hit the big 3-0 in just over three months, and I'm only just crawling out of the abjectly self-conscious pit I fell into as a teenager myself, and that's even with all of all of the things I read, understand, believe and champion. But despite this, is it audacious to want to tackle things for younger women? Is it do-gooding gone mad? Will I look ridiculous trying to talk to 'the kids'? I'm so comfortable in my un-hippness these days is this aim laughable? I hope not, I mean I'm not quite old enough to be the same age as their parents...well. But anyway that shouldn't be an issue, after all some of the coolest brands are no doubt run by old men that wear chinos and deck shoes and are only interested in separating teenagers from the cash in theirs and their parents' wallets, so in that context the strategic aim to boost self-worth and connect like minds isn't so bad.
Friday, March 19, 2010
http://www.litm.com/art.html (Megan Gulick's exhibtion in Jersey City)
First up, the fairs, I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never been to Frieze or Zoo or anything like that, but even despite being quite hungover on the Friday for The Armory Show (New York's equivalent to Frieze) I really enjoyed it, so many great artists (and some dreadful ones too) in one place. Seeing such a wealth of material at once was quite daunting, but I began quite quickly to be selective, I adopted an 'I know what I like' policy overall as there's so much to get through, I tried not to check the name first but tended to take time with things that caught my eye, art browsing I suppose. I was interested by the fact that there was lots of painting and the wacky/conceptual/cryptic stuff was thinner on the ground than I'd imagined. Something we noticed which wasn't about the art but rather about the attending demographic was that there was virtually no-one there who could have had a BMI over about 20, which is interesting since the US is renowned for its obesity problem. Of course I'm being facetious, it was a bit bloody posh. We noticed a prominent theme in some of the work, of birds and animals in general and chickens in particular. We took a series of photos with Sarah standing confused by chicken related material. Honestly, there were loads!
We went to X Initiative and Pulse art fairs in Chelsea on Sunday - a gloriously sunny day! The stuff at X-Initiative was hosting a lot of non-representational work and some difficult to approach work, I found it a bit difficult to engage with most of the material. There was, however a great piece by Valie Export and a De Lorean one of which I've never seen in real life. There sadly was no Flux-Capacitor but it was still exciting nonetheless. Pulse was great, a veritable smogasbord of talent, stunning painting, sculpture, photography and installation all in a warehouse space almost on the waterfront of the Hudson. Stand out artists for me were:- Alex Prager, Adriana Duque, Megan Greene, Sara Rahbar, Cecilia Paredes, Devora Sperber, Eleanor Rendeiro & Thomas Mueller.
When my man Alex came to visit we did lots of touristy things, we had some great weather for visiting the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, Going to the top of the Empire State Building and a stroll in Central Park. We also visited the International Institute of Photography and because the Tim Burton exhibition was sold out we went to the American Folk Art Museum, which is next door to MOMA and excellent, they currently have an exhibition running call 'Approaching Abstraction' which dispells the myth that self-taught and folk artists are only ever representational and literal. The work in this show is stunning, expressive and thought provoking really worth a visit if you're ever in New York. Next month starting April 6th are two new shows there:- Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands & The Private Collection of Henry Darger both of which I'm really looking forward to seeing.
This Monday just gone we went to a Haiti Benefit at Sotherby's where a piece of work by Sarah's friend Stuart Semple was up for auction and also Patti Smith was playing. It was wonderful, I couldn't quite believe it was happening she was stood 8 feet away at most and just in front of us, no stage, nothing. I was totally awestruck and very amused when she gobbed on their carpet!
Today visited another piece of Semple's work in a group show in Chelsea called 'Nobody gets to see the wizard. Not no one. Not no how' an interesting Oz themed collection. Semple's main piece 'Ding Dong (Thatcher's dead)' which compirises of a big black model of a house with feet in blue court shoes with big buckles poking out from underneath, along with an eerie blue glowing, is witty and, since I think that anyone with a heartbeat should loathe Thatcher (when we were little my mum used to get m and my brother Jamie to shout 'Maggie Maggie Maggie! Out Out Out! That's parental indoctrination for you!) I really like it! The other piece I really liked was by an artist called Deborah Kass from her series 'Feel Good Paintings for Feel Bad Times' and it's called 'Forget Your Troubles', executed in a playful pop style with just the title covering the canvas it's a witty and uplifting piece.
After that we visited Printed Matter Inc. around the corner which has been on my list of places to visit since I came across a book by an artist called Kim Beck (who is wonderful judging by the book and her website) This shop deals in artist books and is heaven for any art/bibliophile like myself, I will be going back before we leave. I bought an issue of a journal called Lovely Daze. It's an artist's bi-yearly journal divided into months and full stunning photography, drawing, painting and writing. It is celebratory I think is the best word, not a trace of clever, clever, edgy, knowing, trendy, cynical, quasi-ironic bullshit. It's artists that respect eachother sharing their work with each other. I love it, it will be one of my most treasured possessions from this trip I'm sure of it.
http://www.idealcities.com/ (Kim Beck - artist)