Wednesday, 18 September 2013

wild moments

Someone in my family asked me to send them reviews and critiques of my show. I don't know how to explain to them that, apart from the fact that no contemporary art critic would have any reason to visit a show like mine, the views of people from that world would mean nothing to me.

I don't want to know if a critic judges my work to be 'good' or 'bad'. What I want to know (and I don't mean, you must tell me, only that I would find it interesting to hear...) is whether it touches you or not. Does some part of your imagination respond to the corner of a painting, does something in your belly move as you read a poem? There's nothing I can do to make something touch you. I can't meet the right people, go to the right places, learn what's in and what's out, or learn a particular way of talking. I can only share my explorations with you, for you to do with as you will.

Here are some of the things that did mean something to me:

...the twenty-nine year old horn player working in a restaurant to put herself through training to be a teacher, who said, 'this is the best art I've ever seen' and was prepared to pay out for an original watercolour

....the two kids watching me making abstract figures in the sand, saying 'but wot is it? wot is it?', then running up and down the space shouting 'it's weird, it's weird!'. Then when I started shaking the paper their imaginations getting the better of them... 'look, there's a fox, oh, it's a squirrel, now it's a bird...'

...the fifteen-year-old daughter of the AA man who fixed my car who's preparing a portfolio for art college playing with the sand, then wanting to know where she could get some

...watching five kids all painting into sand at the same time

...the realisation that people were interested enough in moving sand to want to film and photograph it on their cameras many friends and family turning up to try out the experience I had made for them

...someone telling me that after listening to the music, watching the sand, and listening to the poetry, they felt how they would normally feel after a good yoga class

...seeing the faces of two old friends I hadn't seen for many decades

....the generosity of the friends who bought pictures, and the care and deliberation that went on as they were making up their minds

...the unfailing good humour and generosity of the poet, turning up day after day, to perform an astonishing piece


on the ebb tide beach
everything we pick up
is alive

Basho 1644-94


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