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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Spotlight - Wrapping paper


Spilt paint delivery.  Our art materials travel.  They can have a life of their own, and express themselves
It’s a wrap.
Olafur Eliasson, 'Ice Watch' ice sculpture installation at Place do Pantheon, Paris
Do you have old books or comics? Why not use them as wrapping paper?  Old 'Far Side' albums, or Steve Bell or Viz, gathering dust on a shelf or in the loft, loses its “Wow” as we grow past it and see more new things. Same as any art – it gets dull gradually.  By the time we drag that rough-papered book out of the box or shelf, we find it’s a nice chuckle, but maybe not as stunning as when we first met it. Same as that watercolour that we loved when we bought it, but are now so comfortable with that we don’t look at the petals and leaf light very often. We could even use this analogy for relationships.
Wrapping paper used as interior decor

Wrapping paper does not get old.  It does not last long enough to get old. It last about ten seconds, and usually is ignored.
  If you ever wonder about superficiality, consider pretty paper that is barely looked at, as one dives into the core of the gift. Wrapping paper is rather wasteful. Plastic festive cheer and binbags of paper are probably on the decline, in these times of austerity.
Statuette of Harry Potter
There is a balance to be made, of course. Consumption is otherwise pretty essential and useful, and part of our pleasures and purpose. 
Detroit based environmental artist Michael McGillis lets each site dictate how he fills the space with his celebrated land art. Above and below, at the University of Oregon’s Overlook Field School, the decision was glass collected from the site and incandescent lighting. 
Far Side cartoon, by Gary Larson
If climate change is important, is it right to use energy and materials in order to highlight climate change?
Ice at Nuuk Kangerlua Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland, where the ice was harvested
Olafur Eliasson is arranging for many tons of ice blocks to be transported to London’s Tate Modern, where they will sit and slowly melt as several near-leaders of countries get together for COP24, to discuss ways to solve climate change problems. They will meet in Poland. The 24 ice blocks shipped or flown from Greenland, will not be very near the COP24 summit. Still, it gets people talking.
Christmas presents wrapped in 'Far Side' cartoons
Olafur says “By enabling people to experience and actually touch the blocks of ice in this project, I hope we will connect people to their surroundings in a deeper way and inspire radical change.”
A cartoon by Steve Bell
We can readily say “But, Olafur, you have tons of oil and energy to get them here, what a terrible waste, and how ironically foolish.” This conundrum is well known. My own environmental works use polyester resin, when bioresin is unaffordable. The materials need fossil-fuel-based delivery, and all this causes much anguish in the process. 
The vast blocks of ice look like an extravagant statement, and that makes us uncomfortable – which is exactly the truth, and the point. They are also pretty Cool (I’ll get my coat).

Olafur has designed energy-efficient household items that self-charge, and he has been heavily involved in creating and providing solar powered lamps for refugees. So on balance he is way ahead. We often find there is great merit to the lives and practices of those we can criticise – once we take off the wrapper.

Olafur Eliasson

This Christmas, find out something interesting about a friend.  And share something about yourself.
And have a fine, refreshing, fun-filled, spiritual and joyful Christmas everyone.
With very best festive wishes from LAS.
You can watch the London Ice at http://icewatchlondon.com/

Friday, 23 November 2018

Ludlow Chocolate ... Perfect for Christmas

We currently have three different bars for sale. Purchases support our artists as well as local charities. They're a perfect Christmas present for friends and family and they help spread the word about Ludlow Art Society. If you haven't already tried it, the chocolate is top notch, and fairtrade. Lisa Anne has stock available at her shop 'La Jewellery' on Parkway, near the library.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Spotlight: the moods of art appreciation

What is your mood when you like a work of art?
What do we want from a work of art? What is it we seek or crave? Is there something we need art to give us?
With a couple of strangers, on the last day of the street art festival, Upfest, I looked at this piece. It is a spraycan artwork on a large board, outdoors, like Sam Manley did with the Ludlow Paint Jam.
The three of us admired this piece for a while. It was Monday morning. It took a while to admire it. Or six eyes helped take it all in. We shared observations about it, mentioned details. The verdict was "So... it's got everything."
It has nature, history, fauvism, perspective, caricature, deep shadow, journey, contrast, palette, use of tools, relatability, civilisation, economics, composition, heroism, dignity, and a branch turning into a pencil.
Zipf's law is about the frequencies of words in a book, or in a magazine. Zipf analysed how often words occur, and concluded that written works contain a limited number of themes and main identifying factors. There is more to it than that obvious conclusion, but that is the essence of it. Zipf actually demonstrated a mathematical formula for the frequencies of words in books, which really works and is quite surprising. Zipf's principle could inform us as to the ways in which some factors dominate in a team, a room, or a painting. (It does not, but it could.) A painting of friends having a picnic by a river could focus mainly on shadows with a dose of heroism, or be about nature with a side salad of economics. It is unusual for anything to have an even spread of attributes.
On that Monday we stared at this painting long, and said it is epic. We loved it. I still do. Now I am confused.
Maybe our taste, at any given time, fits our mood and surroundings. For example, when all around us is calm, we like balanced art with a sense of equilibrium - and conversely, when we are emotionally charged, or loaded with caffeine, we revel in bold art that displays excesses.
Or... Maybe it is the other way around. Maybe we go for bold art when we are in a calm state, as a way to mitigate against possible boredom. And maybe we like calming images when we are in a state of agitation or excitement.
This notion, of how art matches our mood and circumstances, might also apply to how we make art, as well as how we view it.
If you are making art, presumably it matches your mood. If we start painting something calm when we are agitated, we feel calm. And vice versa.
Something we liked about this piece is that it felt exciting and bold, while also being calming. I think that is why it took us so much concentration to take in: by having such an array of attributes it matches your mood, and simultaneously hits the opposite state as well.
This is something I crave to achieve when I create art pieces: comfort and challenge. 
This painting went down very well at the end of Upfest. It is by Peter Sheridan.  I would like to meet the artist and ask him these questions.  Please tell me if you have answers.  Thanks folks.  
Happy painting.  May you be heroic and calm.
@petersheridanartist
Today (9th November this blog is scheduled to publish) is my birthday.  I also have an opening of an exhibition in London this evening. A good time to feel heroic and peaceful. 







Saturday, 3 November 2018

Derek Plant

We learn the sad news that former member Derek Plant passed away on 7th October. His sons Steve and Phil let me know that "even in his last few weeks he was talking of returning to painting, but he didn’t quite make it. That said his house is full of his work which will remain as a lasting memory for many." We are glad to have had Derek as a member, and we extend our condolences to the family.