Thursday, 18 February 2010


Sometimes, things hit you, without the slightest bit of warning. There you are, minding your own business and then: WHAM! Whatever it is makes a remarkable impression on you; stopping you in your tracks. On Tuesday, whilst I was in Birmingham doing some PhD research before attending an evening lecture by Elspeth Kidd on Queer Theory, I decided, purely by instinct to visit the Waterhall Gallery, part of BMAG to see what was on. Part of me didn't want to; I remember checking out on the internet what was on in Birmingham and nothing in particular sticking out as something I must see. Yet, I was compelled to wander in. At first, I thought ... oh, it's only a Bridget Riley exhibition, nothing particularly special, but I'll have a wander around anyway ... and there it was:

" You cannot deal with thought directly outside of practice as a painter, doing is essential in order to find out what form your thought takes"

A quote, totally out of the blue, that made an unmistakable impression on me. Her quote made me think of the process of painting and the complex dialogue between doing and thinking and then reflecting and re-reflecting; a continuous cycle that is often so hard to articulate whilst in the midst of making/painting. She also describes the process of painting as including 'colour events' where she organises certain colours and their physical relation to each other on the canvas to create 'colour reactions' that trigger sudden bursts of colour and different experiences for the viewer. The more I thought about it, the more I admired her - a nearly 80 year old female abstract painter, who had iconic status in twentieth century Modern Abstract painting.
I was mostly struck by her piece 'Red on Red' (2007) and the colours and composition. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the gallery itself and even with the greatest stealth and avoidance of invigilators I've had to photograph the exhibition catalogue. The work itself is huge and its presence seems to overwhelm the viewer. The piece is technical and precise, and the process that it used to make it reflects this; being tested on graph paper or coloured shapes of paper that are moved around to 'test' the composition.

I've actually had a really productive week this week : ) Ive also found a video of my textstallation piece but I'm not really sure how to put it on here so I'm working on it ... At the moment, Ive been doing loads of reading about l’√©criture f√©minine which is kind of framework for my research.
I started off researching it in depth and then linking everything to it to create my literature review etc, but Ive decided to start to re-delve back into it to see what connections (and re-connections) I can find. Although a vague plan of what I'm doing, I really wanted to let everything emerge and evolve quite organically, cyclically and relationally.

I also went to the private view of show \"home\" at the Air Space Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent which my PIC Rachel Marsden has curated. The exhibition is on until the 27th March and definately well worth visiting! It
is an exhibition of artists of South Asian descent exploring self-identity, locality, foreignness and origin and includes an exciting mix of work including video and installation. In the exhibition catalogue, Bassam Huaan interestingly talks about how a sense of otherness does not necessarily just exist between different cultures but within a culture, exploring multiple identities.
I also just HAD to take a photo of these amazing mittens that were given to Rachel by Georgie Vinsun. They are beautiful (and are uber comfy as I am modelling them in the photo!). Whilst I was in Canada over Christmas I started to knit again ... although still limited to squares/rectangles, I learnt how how knit lace and also decrease/increase. My aim this year was to knit a cardi and seeing Georgie's fantaastic mittens has inpired me to do it sooner rather than later!

I was sent this really lovely collection of poems from my friend Georgina Barney for my engagement - it is so beautiful
and has poems from Shakepeare and other poets. This is taken from one of my favourites by Stevie Smith:

I like to laugh and be happy
With a beautiful beautiful kiss,
I tell you, in all the world
There is no bliss like this.

Also, just some nice news to finish off ... and in keeping with the theme of LOVE. Ive just found out that my lovely friend Shell has just got engaged!!! Massive congratulations to the future Mr and Mrs Nicholls! : )

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