Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My Drawings I

My Drawings I
These drawings are transitional between the work from my time at art school (1979-83) until the early 90s and everything from then until the present day. They resulted from a crisis in which I could no longer paint. Every time I tried I was overcome with anxiety and the painting would vanish in a grey mess. So I started to draw automatically in earnest, outpacing the anxiety - which I did not especially feel in the rest of my life - through speed. The amorphous forms were given a little definition, sometimes self-consciously thinking of Matta as I did so as he often seemed to be influencing the work. Others now remind me a little of Arshile Gorky. Through furious scribbling and then erasing I found a precarious balance from which point I could move forward. The oddest thing was I suddenly found it impossible to do small drawings, all my sketchbooks stopped about this time and for several years.
The subject often seems to be a collision of inner and outer spaces, both melting and fusing or opposing and in conflict. Both the object/beings in the drawings and the space they live in seem to be barbed, toothed and clawed. Sometimes with the earlier works I had a vague notion of a sort of cosmic war in which vast beings, minerals and energies battled with each other. Presumably this reflected my own inner conflicts, but I felt unable at first to fully form these conflicts as their implied scale seemed what? Pretentious? But they were not, for the sense of conflict was very real to me and I was led, almost blindly, to a different way of drawing.
Looking back at them now, I can see that a part of their inspiration was the walls and other surfaces that constituted many of my photographs. I no longer seem to know if I was aware of this at the time, but in at least some of these images the two seem to intertwine and form one vision.

One last picture

Some more drawings from about 1994


Here's a couple of old drawings of mine from early mid-nineties.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Film or digital?

Really, for me, if we are speaking of photography in terms of love, it has to be film. I like to get involved with the little machine, the camera itself, focusing, setting the aperture and shutter speed, estimating the best effect. I like the relative permanence of the negative, stored away. We have, in some ways, had digital thrust upon us and for me modern cameras with automatic everything and immediate results on the screen, can both enchant and disenchant. Sometimes delayed gratification is the only way! But having bought myself a Lumix G1, I have also bought some adapters so I can use old lenses on the digital camera. So far my adapters are Leica screw, Olympus OM and Nikon. The Leica seems maybe a bit more specialised because the main reason for buying it was to use my one Leica screw-mount lens, a scratched old Summar. However, I also have a Jupiter lens from a Zorki and that should be interesting.

Both the Nikon and Olympus adapters work very well with the lenses, completely manual focusing of course, and I will post stuff up as soon as I take something worth seeing. I want to get at least one more though, so I can use my Voigtlander Bessamatic lenses, especially the Septon. Here is an interesting and comprehensive review of that lens on a digital camera:

But I don't think I will ever give up film. I am dying to get out there with my Rolleiflex or Mamiya 645. Film just has something, and what can seem like inherent limitations of the medium are, like some of those old lenses, more a matter of character than a limit and a spur to creativity.

Thinking on photography

Apologies first for the 'dead' links here, cut and paste them and they take you to the Flickr page. In future most of the images will either be cut and pasted into the entry or there will be a live link. And starting with the question: what sort of photographer am I? Because although in some ways I have defined this for myself a long time ago, through my participation and my passionate engagement with the work of Emila Medkova, this can not remain a static thing. It is to some extent redefined by every new photograph and by the examination of every old photo that I rediscover. So, if I look at an oldish image like this:
it seems not so different to one such as this:
in that it is the result of wandering and looking and finding that extraordinary double-image, the extrusion of the imagination into the real world. So what about this?
Admittedly the last shot was done as part of a project for a friend organising a Burlesque show, but I think that in the end I put as much of myself into it. Then again, going back to the 'paranoiac-critical' image, is this in some way different?
It seems in some way more obviously convulsive and chaotic, but maybe that is just me. Maybe it is just the demands of each image as I find them.

What all this does though is show moments that perhaps defined me at that moment, but neither define me in any permanent way nor in this present moment. Isn't that actually the way it should be?

Back to the blog

   I thought it was time I started writing things on this blog again. Of course, the internet is littered with dead blogs, and in many cases their death is unmourned, so I can only hope that if this one returns from the dead (or was it only sleeping?) it will not be met with utter indifference in every quarter.
   I have had plenty of time to reassess what it should be about. I am as prone as many to give vent to a little rant on the state of things, the world, the dreadful ConDem government, young people - young people??? - no, I am not quite that old yet. But I'm thinking there's areas I have not explored in writing and maybe I will be less boring than some and that in an age when the blog has become a universal Diary of a Nobody I won't become too Pooterish.
   So, poetry, photography, drawing and painting, art criticism, thoughts on surrealism, mythology, politics , architecture and wanderings, what else? Well, it will surely come to me as I proceed is it premature to say watch this space? We'll see...