06 August 2010

Small cardboard rock

A while back, I mentioned that I have the unique pleasure and opportunity of seeing the developmental workbooks of County Dublin artist Sue Bamford, growing in something approaching real time.

I always, given the opportunity by any artist, make a beeline for these; they reveal a deep and rich hinterland behind the finished works, a mental and spiritual analogue of the iceberg's 90% below the waterline. This is where experimental thinking is done, development of craft piloted, ideas grown. To have a window onto their evolution as it happens, though, rather than just a snapshot at one point, is even better*. My access to Sue's notebooks is a constant delight now stretching over two and a half years, and a cumulative one since every page, each offering a new view or aspect of the world, remains available for backward reference in the light of new additions.

I can't record every astonishment and wonder (it would be a full time job, and demand a blog all of its own), nor even all of my particular highlights. Sometimes, however, a particular fragment sings to me in a uniquely unexpectedly way on a perfect resonance frequency ... I don't mention most of those, either, lost as I am in the moment, but I do always think that I would like to.

Recently, happening across an entry labelled simply "black gesso, acrylic & pen on cardboard", I asked permission to publicly post and write about it. That permission being given, here it is at top left; click on it for a larger view. The interaction of materials, line, colour and texture is wonderful to see. Drawn from rocks at Loughshinny, it has since led to a larger piece of work from which the title of this post is taken.

* One of the many fringe benefits of teaching is seeing this development of process. Not just in art but in any subject. Perhaps I'll talk more of that another time ... but for now I'm concerned with the specific joys of seeing inside a mature artist, which is a much rarer opportunity.

1 comment:

Dr. C said...

My brain keeps trying to establish meaningful patterns in the work. Continents on the right, marimba on the top. (Foolish brain!)
A good work of art is one that engages.
(If there was ever a good name, it has to be Loughshinny.)