Walking Around 2: Wandering Into The Print Workshop.

Well, NO! It was more like racing in at high speed shouting ‘Let me etch!’ This was because, the day before, I had watched this……..

…and while watching it, I found myself scribbling furiously, drawing quite spontaneously, and making little illustrations of the things Chi was talking about. In no time, I had several sketchbook pages, drawing, making notes, thinking back to the CHWA, conference and remembering the projects about blood and breath that had been presented there……….. Yeah! A sort of idea was germinating which resulted in this.

And by Appraisal time just before Christmas…… these

relating to thoughts about these things….

Intense and Incomprehensible Alien Utterances Directed at Your Work.

The feeling of pitching from side to side and surging up and down having gone, it is down to solid ground with a thud. This is where I find the reality of an interim appraisal statement to contend with (arrgh! ) mixed together with marks and feedback for my Lit. Review. The latter was a good mark and that was supported with useful feedback for moving forward. (Including the fact that I should learn how to spell ‘Nietzsche’ correctly. At least I had the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ consistently the wrong way around in my text(tee-hee) but it obviously was an excruciating irritation for my erudite tutor/marker/external-examiner.)

The Interim Appraisal feedback does not bring anything similar in terms of joy or even a degree of wry self-deprecating amusement. The sort of ‘working at level’ mark was OK but the comments sound like riddles in a foreign language for which there seems to be no pocket dictionary easily at hand. In the studio, we all call it ‘beard-pulling’ language….. a sort of stream of intense and incomprehensible alien utterances directed at your work that leaves you wondering whether you (the artist who made it) and the Professor are actually looking at the same thing. If critical distance isn’t, at least in part, the sense you get when you’re out of your body watching your work and yourself being babbled about in strange tongues – then I don’t know what is. The result of this experience is what, we call ‘MACFA Blues’ and it follows crits and appraisals on a regular basis. It has brought some fellow ‘Masters’ to tears. I refuse to be intimidated! I won’t feel blue!

I must learn the Alien Lexicon! ……. That is a sort of New Year’s resolution I guess and I am increasingly becoming aware that it IS what ‘becoming MACFA’ actually consists in far more than ‘making’ your art. Becoming MACFA is learning the lexicon and ‘speaking it’ through your work……. or something like that……. at least I think so,……….. it’s a far cry from the ‘Foundation Mantra’ (derived from Mr B. Mau) about ‘JOY!!!’

For now, I propose to complete the project Ieft unfinished at the end of semester 1 when the print workshop shut for Christmas break.

Sailing to Madeira and Back

with Bennett, Bryant, Morton, Harman, Bogost, et al. Oh yes,…and Gaugin

‘Surreal’ a word to grapple with when the most shocking events synchronise with the most relieving … and, I am still trying to work out which was which concerning the fact that Hubby lost his job just before Christmas and then we went on a luxury cruise at the start of the New Year. Job loss – a shocker in one regard but a relief to know Hubby was set free from the awful stress and nonsense he had been suffering at work. Cruising – an opportunity that had loomed rather worryingly on our horizon that suddenly became a strange escape from the impending financial worries with which to begin the year. Actually, being cruise virgins in these circumstances? – ‘surreal’ doesn’t even get close!

I remember the mixed emotion of receiving the cruise brochure in the post from my mother, along with a letter describing a budget within which we ‘MUST’ choose a holiday ‘NO ARGUMENTS,’ that she would then book for us – ‘the pair of you need a treat’. It was months ago and right in the middle of Hubby’s yo-yo-ing in and out of hospital with sigmoid volvulus problems… there were a hundred other ‘treats’ I could imagine better than leaving our dogs behind and going on a cruise – but there’s ‘no arguing’ with my mother!

Thus, surreal it was, that we went away on a big ship at the beginning of January and sailed to Madeira and back. I was stowed away with a suitcase full of scholarly texts and while aboard, I had to write my M.A. literature review and work out how to proceed following interim appraisal of my first semester’s work.

Paul Rene Gaugin -woodcut collage.
Paul Rene Gaugin 1911-1976 Adorning a stairwell on Black Watch.