Friday, May 18, 2018

OLD AND STILL NEW

Current outrage put back on the shelf next to past and future outrages to be brought out again whenever their SOS beeps become impossible to ignore.

When my mother, Blanche, was very young she worked for an haute couture atelier in Paris which made flapper-style dresses embellished with wondrous designs in beads and sequins. She had worn some of these herself and kept them carefully over the years. Not long before she died aged 97 - in full possession of all her faculties, by the way - she and I unwrapped these relics and found that, while the beadwork and sequins were intact, the fragile fabrics had more or less disintegrated.

With Blanche's agreement (she was always game for creative adventures) I cut the beaded and sequinned sections away from the crumbling cloth and started playing with ideas of applying them to a modern garment. I sewed them onto a denim jacket I had, combined with swatches of bright-coloured fabrics in a kind of abstract collage. I loved the result but dared to wear it only once - I'm too short to carry it off and anyway I was too much in awe of those gleaming patches of fashion history.

A couple of days ago I finally took the jacket to a local Vintage shop and asked the owner if she'd like to sell it. Instant interest. My 1920s-infused denim collage jacket went into the shop window. It may still be there but I doubt it. I wish I could see who's wearing it now. My Blanche Maman would be pleased.

Below is a Youtube link to a slideshow I made in honour of her and the beautiful paintings she began to create at the age of 94.


My late parents, Sacha and Blanche d'Arbeloff, dancing in their nineties.



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

OUTRAGE


If you are a human being living among other humans there will inevitably be times when you feel outraged. Even if you are alone on a desert island there must be moments when you are outraged by the behaviour of animals not being nice to you or to each other.

Outrage, that mixture of anger, shock, frustration, concern, helplessness, rebellion - a magnified version of IT’S NOT FAIR! - is experienced by all of us to greater or lesser degree when we ourselves. or others close to us, or even far from us, are subjected to injustice, cruelty, humiliation, exploitation, degradation, oppression and other forms of suffering inflicted by humans on other humans. History is mainly an account, slanted according to whoever is telling it, of different kinds of outrage perpetrated by some humans on other humans and of their consequences.

How is the outrage barometer measured? What gives one outrage more attention, more reaction and/or action than another? When there are so many outrages happening in the world at any one time and especially right now, which of them pushes more buttons, grabs more column inches, media reporting, internet space, discussion time, reaction and response time?

 
 The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893
oil, tempera, pastel, crayon and tempera.
91cm x 73.5 cm (36" x 28.9")
National Gallery and Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway

Sunday, May 13, 2018

SERENDIPITOUS CONNECTIONS

I don't see a dividing line between drawings perceived as 'Art' and those perceived as 'cartoons' when the hands which drew them belong to creators who have that spark of genius which can be dissected ad infinitum but never precisely defined - at least not to my satisfaction. Size, location and reputation often influence the way a drawing is labelled or perceived.

Take some of Nick Wadley's small drawings which I snap shot (sorry for reflections) at the opening of the exhibition NICK IN EUROPE on Thursday. Put them on canvas, enlarge them hugely, hang them in the Tate or other temple of Art anywhere, accompany them with a monograph in which the name 'Wadley' has the same resonance as, say, 'Picasso' or 'Warhol' etc....See what I mean?

If you haven't heard of him, see the website nick wadley writes and draws, read the obituary last year by his widow Jasia Reichardt, find his books, and if you're in London see the exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery in Europe House until 25 May.

For a very short time I had the good fortune to know Nick and he most certainly had that elusive, playful spark of genius. My friend Sylvia Libedinsky, multi-talented architect/designer, collaborated with him on many inspired publications, comics and exhibitions.

The serendipitous connection I have with Jasia Reichhardt came about because I had met Franciszca and Stefan Themerson (the legendary Gaberbocchus Press) Jasia's aunt and uncle, when I first arrived in London a long time ago. It was Franciszca who, when she saw a series of...'cartoons'... I had drawn, encouraged me to take up etching and turn them into limited edition artists' books which eventually led to my starting NdA Press.

Below: a few of my favourites from Nick Wadley's exhibition currently at Europe House.






WAVELENGTHS

Is there anything more life-enhancing than meeting someone with whom you are so much on the same wavelength that nearly every sentence elicits a Yeah! whether spoken or silent? Thus it was tonight when Fionn Wilson came over to talk about an exhibition she is curating and has invited me to participate in.

Of course I have happily accepted - more details soon. We polished off a nice bottle of red wine along with significant bits of life stories and now I'm a bit delightfully pissed.

Tomorrow I will write about the exhibition of Nick Wadley's genius cartoons which opened on Thursday at Europe House.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

PLEASURES OF BEING AN AUNT

I have three bright beautiful brilliant nieces - Selene, Indira and Sarah. All of them have equally b&b&b spouses and children - Selene in Rome, Indira in San Francisco, Sarah a train-ride from me in the UK. I love them all to bits and I think it's mutual.

On the weekend I met up with Sarah, Elliott and their kids for lunch then a browse of an Aladdin's cave of wonders, the Oriental shop next door to the pub. They came away with two gorgeous wooden carvings.

On the corner outside there's a life-size carved camel sitting down. Creative advertising: people of course stop and take selfies and right above the camel's head is a sign with the shop's website address. Can't miss.






Wednesday, May 02, 2018

PHOTO VS PAINTING

Mac photo-booth version of the actual mug a few minutes ago. The paintings are better than photographs, in my opinion. By "better" I mean truer.


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

THREE EARLIER PAINTED SELFIES

Isn't it odd that what you're looking at are images of me looking at myself on specific moments in time and since what I saw in a mirror is a reversed image of myself reality is mostly illusion?