“…workers in song” Leonard Cohen

 

I started this blog over and over. Can’t really sum this up or begin. To an artist so human, we have your material and love forever

in classy dark suits

to the deep dark voice

always inspiring

our soulful march


GLAMOURIE

GLAMOURIE

I  came to the conclusion the other day that I often try to bridge Western and Eastern thinking and here is an occasion of that.

Bauhaus mask

Schlemmer Masks from Bauhaus stage workshop http://library.calvin.edu/hda/node/1445

Trickery is an ancient art of survival whether you are a god or a mere mortal. Rhea fooled Cronos in order to save their infant son Zeus to become an Olympian hero, Hephaestus exposed the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite with lover Ares, Hermes stole objects from the gods for fun, so too women have had to become cunning in order to not get overpowered by male forces.

Hermes Greek Trickster God

Hermes Greek Trickster God http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html

 

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks http://world4.eu/roman-theatre-masks/

‘Glamourie’ is a Scottish Faery term for illusion. ‘Cast a ‘glamour’ over the senses so that things aren’t what they seem’ has become part of my inquiry into costumery, textiles, and the roles of human play in daily life. As a practitioner in the way of the arts I have become conscious of how this ancient art of ‘deceit’ is a necessary invention that keeps us in the realm of possibility. The theater of Glamourie to which I allude to is a stage that mediates between emotion and perception. Below is some visual research for the artist residency I will be attending at the Oxygen Art Center http://www.oxygenartcentre.org this December with exhibition from January 9 thru to 6th of February 2016 in Nelson, BC.

The following images show costumery from different points of view. The choices are endless so I selected a few such as an illustration of the body masking with geometry

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder http://finalfashion.ca/category/illustration/

masking with anatomy

 

masking with shadow and light

masking with architecture

Architecture and costume
Architecture and costume https://secretknowledgeofspaces.wordpress.com
                      We are never complete as human individuals, this is our beauty in constant play and our path towards self-realization. In Zen Buddhism the Enso circle can be painted open or closed. If it is open then we are in progress, if the circle is painted closed, it represents perfection and perhaps full self-realization. We can recall Plato’s perfect theory of forms and his distrust in the world of appearances and constant change. To a Plato thinker a circle doesn’t exist in the physical reality of space and time only as an approximation of the real thing and which can only be known through reason. 

Greek Myths include the fairies who may have been inspired by Greek gods and goddesses. Fairies actually developed from the concept of the Fates, dance, and ritual. I wonder which ‘glamour’ will bless the artist residency in Nelson? Which of the 3 Fates or Moerae?- Clotho the spinner? Lachesis the measurer? Atropos the cutter of Life’s thread? Yikes! I have to be prepared and accept the challenge regardless of what may come to pass.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates

‘Glamourie’ is the agent that lets loose our characters that block inner freedom; an awareness that illuminates a small sword of truth in all that we are.

 

 

 

 


Marlon Brando is beyond kool – he just ‘is’…

ON IDENTITY and understanding human complexity…we are always acting

 

Here’s a review on the new documentary

‘Listen to me Marlon’ is coming out in late October! apparently we get a picture of who he was from his own perspective as opposed to many other perspectives on he was…stay tuned!

http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/08/listen_to_me_marlon_brando_doc.html


RINA BANERJEE – A Red Taj, a hag, a tortoise and the devouring human

RINA BANERJEE

Our hunger for the light; the colorful, the sacred and the inexplicable comes with the tethered inescapable agent of a dark absence; where we weather with loss, the profane and a greedy curiosity. A curiosity that nails a kind of truth to the human mirror; of countless illusions tormenting us with constant frequency upon our psyche daily. While we like to think we can navigate our ‘desires’ that come from an unconscious greedy curiosity, we more often migrate between one deceptive appearance or impression to the next. Humans aren’t that complicated. We devour at rapid rates which ironically begets ‘more’ into the world and our box of pleasures never empty.  To sacrifice any of our sensorial world would surely send us to a symbolic grave.

When I study the work of Rina Banerjee I admire her display of this human predicament. We are rich and textured, specific and peculiar and really good at making life up. The work of our imaginations is elemental and necessary, after all humans wouldn’t survive without sharing a story or two. For this and to the artist I am forever grateful.

The world of Banerjee is both personal and cosmic. She offers a fluctuating, dynamic universe that makes disgust look enticing, beauty to look ugly, the intricate look impossible. There is a kind of hypnosis that overwhelms me. This is true of our culture; the superfluous is intoxicating to the point  where we become dulled, stuck and fruitless. However, when I study how she relates and combines with materials I know that if any part of her work came undone, Shiva would burn me to ashes! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva The coordinating and arranging, the aligning and the assembling of materials is like she is uniting all the differences of the world together. Very refreshing.

 

 

Assemblage by Rina Banerjee

‘Can you believe the beast in her beauty was born out of a vilified attack on her mother’s moment when she and she a shared sexuality,’ 2009 http://www.aaa-a.org/programs/presentation-by-rina-banerjee/

“Yes, and I think it is really important for me to share the storm of the world – when you can’t really ‘know’ any place, all the while being bombarded by everything that is out there. There is a sucking, pushing, throwing and falling in the process. It is both dangerous and exciting that I definitely like to bring to my work.”http://www.aaa-a.org/programs/presentation-by-rina-banerjee/

Three dimensional compositions come with harmonizing around the diagonal axis of contrasting colors and materials. Ropes, feathers, lightbulbs, tusks, synthetics, dolls, toys convene and stare at us and not for no apparent reason. This is the material world humans have created to satisfy our never-ending needs of pleasure and survival. And, this is ART. The artificial and the natural. We aren’t looking at these materials from the context they come from, our minds have already understood those implied associations. She offers another ‘whole’ fairytale world, a kind of myth-making about our current predicament of living on this planet.

“Difference must leave its cave and cease to be monster, not a level thorny and pointed pierce to emasculate the persistence of powerful middle -fat and feathery finds fault with it neck, arm and ankle” 2013, 2 x 3 x 1.3' Media: feather fans ,light bulbs, glass tiger’s eye, feather trim, steel, plastic basket, glass beads, thread, ruffle trim, acrylic horm, ceramic horn http://rinabanerjee.com/artwork/3572277_Difference_must_leave_its_cave_and.html

“Difference must leave its cave and cease to be monster, not a level thorny and pointed pierce to emasculate the persistence of powerful middle -fat and feathery finds fault with it neck, arm and ankle” 2013, 2 x 3 x 1.3′ Media: feather fans ,light bulbs, glass tiger’s eye, feather trim, steel, plastic basket, glass beads, thread, ruffle trim, acrylic horm, ceramic horn http://rinabanerjee.com/artwork/3572277_Difference_must_leave_its_cave_and.html

 I love knowing the Taj Mahal is white marble and pure in India and must remain so forever, but for some reason sensing it in cherry red hits the inferno of desire, temptation and abandonment.
Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/index.php?p=artists&a=Rina%20Banerje

Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/index.php?p=artists&a=Rina%20Banerje

Often her figures and assemblage sculptures have eyes and perhaps a face and I think this is important. To a Minimalist in the history of art https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=minimalism&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 it is overkill but its effect reminds us that perhaps there is an inseparable animating force both terrifying and nurturing that migrates in materials, nature and human life. A force that reflects our inner world, a force to be sensed and perceived along with a larger all encompassing impersonal perspective. The eyes are nuanced with character, a friendly reminder of ourselves.

Lotions and potions like rivers where in quick motion, as well as essential oils and culture’s notions, where  these cultures would once be locked in harbor or empires court now took ride on the global, opened themselves up to mysterious and foreign incantations (2010), mixed media. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels.

With the work of Rina Banerjee there are no exceptions, nothing is excluded between the awkward and hip, mad and gay, strange and status quo, low-fi and luxurious, etc discerning a place for ourselves is perhaps the journey.

Rina Banerjee. She was now in western style dress covered in part of Empires’ ruffle and red dress, had a foreign and peculiar race, a Ganesha who had lost her head, was thrown across sea until herself shipwrecked. A native of Bangladesh lost foot to root in Videsh, followed her mother full stop on forehead, trapped tongue of horn and grew ram-like under stress, 2011; cowrie shells, rooster feather, gourds, acrylic horns, ceramic balls, plastic netting, amber glass vials, violet glass bulbs, false glass doe eyeballs, silk and synthetic Lanvin ruffled red dress; 73 x 65 in. dia. (185.4 x 165.1 cm). Copyright Rina Banerjee. Image courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA.

I like to think that the purpose of art is no different than an invitation to an exquisite ball, rise to the occasion and mingle in the fantasy. You never know who you will run into. Dark or light that is super-natural.


Film Costumes to never forget

Period costume of Queens

Period Costume ‘Elizabeth’- Cate Blanchett

Elizabeth

Cate Blanchett- gorgeous yellow

Fashion is often set by the costume designers in the film industry which influences a culture’s style.  Sometimes ‘Film’ hires fashion designers like Jean Paul Gautier. Here is a list of extraordinary styles that don’t fit current fashion but at the time they were made bear iconic status.

The following is worth the watch, do you agree with the pickings?

C’mon The Wizard of Oz? Really? Don’t think so people!

What’s your favorite of all time costume in film?

I might have to go with ‘to die for’ Brando’s sweaty tee…


BIRD’S EYE VIEW- birds in fashion

BIRD’S EYE VIEW

 Alexander McQueen Fall 2006 RTW, photos by Don Ashby/Style.com

Alexander McQueen Fall 2006 RTW, photos by Don Ashby/Style.com

Birds live all over the world, and have been around for millions of years. We go birding, pick up on their songs, they meet us somewhere on a hike, they pop by our house and hang out in our trees, they nest like us, live near or on the water, some hunt, dive, some feed on seeds, nectar, meat or fish. They soar, hide, lurk in the depths we most fear. Their razor sharp eyesight and sonar intelligence make them a remarkable part of the animal kingdom on this earth. And while we continue to learn about the diversity of species and their adaptive systems what impresses me most of all is that they know the skies like no other animal, or human. They are our link to a larger universe dark or bright.

alexander_mcqueen_spring_2011

Alexander McQueen

Let’s take flight for a sec…

In terms of adaptive systems, the owl’s feathering allows them to camouflage in their environments for catching prey. In image of the dress of owl feathers, the models braided hair and light skin tones would camouflage similarly against the bark of trees. ‘Dress’ acts an intermediary between human and animal.

So why am I connecting fashion with birds? Because fashion reflects human desires, and the longing for a meaningful identity. Some of us turn to religion for example to meet a larger truth of that meaning we so desperately crave, while some turn to Nature for similar understanding and connection to a larger whole of who we are. To my mind birds by nature have a ‘birds eye view’ and fly around that ‘whole’ we seek. They mediate between earth and the unknown of the sky. Fashion designers and artists alike think deeply and act on that connectivity humans need for individual security. The imagery I have chosen to share here is visibly about ‘dress’  but dress that connects us to something larger than ourselves.

Owl illustration

Extinct birds wearing fashions from the year they went extinct- Laughing Owl, 1914, Brian Williams

I am not a fan of anthropomorphism because humans often fail to see animals as they are, we imbue them with aspects of ourselves rather than seeing the animal kingdom composed of distinct species of equal valuable to us. Sometimes we don’t get the message of atrocities like ‘extinction’ unless we imagine being in the same shoes as the defeated like in this illustration above. Is extinction a natural cause in evolution? The image is wonderfully ambiguous with multiple meanings. Is the owl living in our apparel or are we sporting an owl ‘head’ a marker of acute awareness?  Perhaps ‘Empathy gap’ between bird and human might be another way to put it, but the intention I think is to connect humans to a palpable loss of freedom and the constraints of living. The paradox between freedom (the symbolic nature of a bird ) and order (wearing a suit) is indeed standing proudly here.  Oh, too often human needs impose order of many kinds dictating our precedence over the impressive beauty such as the species of ‘Laughing Owl’ and that which surrounds us.

Bird's Eye View

Bizarre Bird- fashion editorial. The dead has plumage

For fashion designers the clothes carry the narrative, the story is in the clothes, and could go something like this: A dark princess went out hunting one day and comes face to face with the death of a bird. “Is she equipped?” and “what would you do in the same scenario?”. “Would its death have any impact on you? how so?”

owl headwear

owl taxidermy

This image is priceless. Taxidermy on the head. Me thinks she is hooting.

5b2dc437fe35517e_bird_fashion_girl_owl_photography_woman-e7c46f6dd04c473c253138886df4542a_h

The photo above pertains to some of my research as art director for an OWLMAN design I am creating for a movie called Joan in Owl Land. The film is directed by Martin Castaneda https://www.facebook.com/martincastanedayabar?fref=ts with cinematographer Carlos Diaz www.crd.carbonmade.net. Feathers, long black hairy furs, dark leathers, and barks are some of my materials to inspire me.

00000000.-filleoiseau2

Woman in Photography- unknown photographer

Birds connect us to the heavens, however the following designs show a subtler current in Nature and one that revolves around human’s affliction with our psychological underworld. Our feathered friends act as messengers between our unconscious and conscious selves. Nature and humans are inextricably linked.

 

yiqing-yin-couture-fall2012-04

yiqing-yin-couture-fall2012-04

Clothing that circulates and expands into web and trap.

tumblr_nngt3zDx7s1qc8zhlo2_400

Alexander McQueen

Self-destruction

66abfce78c19742d32804b72e36028cb704b039c

Anglomania at the Met- John Galliano

Birds that take us into mourning

 

Alexander-McQueen

Alexander McQueen- Birds of Paradise

Feathers that keep us protected, cool and detached.

7._Dress_of_dyed_ostrich_feathers_and_hand-painted_microscopic_slides_Voss_SS_2001._Model_Erin_OConnor

Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

And feathers that make us bleed in our wounds.

To an ancient Chinese proverb:

          A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

 


FASHION CRACK

FASHION CRACK

 

 The Bride Stripped By Her Bachelor's, Even

Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelor’s, Even, 1915-23

Elizabeth Hawes was a fashion designer and critic of the 30’s, 40’s and well into the 20th century who wrote a book called “Why is a Dress?” and is known for a particular quote that reads

“It is impossible to be completely abstract about clothes because they have no life unless they are worn. They must fit onto a body or they do not exist.” 

 I thought I would respond with showing you fashion designer Lee McQueen creating a wedding dress through a process of deconstruction in his signature style while Nick Knight films him. Contrasts abound of the sinister in white. Materials get stripped down to a lonely affair of imprisonment and loss. Very powerful, darkly poetic, removed from typical wearable constructs and expressive through and through. The title of Lee’s piece The Bridegroom Stripped Bare is in reference to Marcel Duchamp’s the hard- to- decipher The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelor’s, Even done between 1915-23 which can be analyzed in the category of  male and female sexual conflicts. (see first image above)

 

Dark or light the power of deconstruction in design can inform the artist on how to construct new design. It is a very useful strategy for shaping and arranging form towards innovation.

Stay tuned for more on “Why is a dress?”


…OF ROYALTY

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi

 

While I have just stepped into examining KINGS already there are more than a few to admire. One of my favorites is  Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi. The Magi are presented here as individualistic, peculiar, grotesque and sophisticated all at the same time. Hieronymous Bosch lurks in the postures. They are exaggerated in an illustrative way; elongated, appearing wise and carrying peasant worn faces of the Flemish Renaissance.  Robed in their own elegant style, their dignity overrides the bustling younger community around them.  Mary caped in sky blue welcomes the 3 strangers with open arms, as she clearly knows they have traveled to Bethlehem following a miraculous star, which has lead them to this nativity scene. Jesus is indulged by their presence and smiles back at them. Their fashion flows between jester, royalty and native non-western ceremonial attire painted in the classical palette of reds, blue, van Eyck green and soft warm whites. Within the ordinary the extra-ordinary (our ‘star’)  guides us. How would you cast the remarkable in your life?

Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine II by J.B von Lampi 1780

Voltaire called her “STAR OF THE NORTH”. Catherine the Great was a strong proponent of European culture, of art, literature, the education of women and expanded the Russian Empire in western ways. My kind of King in Queen form. Gorgeous decadent color combinations in her attire. However, in her own words on fashion “I did not make beauty or finery the source of my merit, for when one was gone, the other became ridiculous, and only character endured.”  I get it but my mum was ‘royal’ and to her from style your character was born so I will lovingly disagree.

Diego Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

 Look at his unusual  luscious lips, boyish hair and significant nose! A dandy underneath hard exteriors. Mean to Jews, expelled them from France, a nepotist, not a big fan. A fabulous portrait of light, flesh and color, however. Say no more.

Ferdinand VII by Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
portraiture of the King of Spain- Ferdinand VII

Something went wrong here. Head and body aren’t connected, his flesh discolors from face to hands, feels like he hopped into some fancy clothes without showering. Can smell his odor, even. Better to have a standin. The formalities of duty call for the ‘pose’ and back to  lordship we go. The background seems unfinished, the legs of the horses on the right are cut off, perhaps two paintings merged into one? Bloated with conceit Ferdinand loves himself, a power that had to pop. Definitely disconnected from his environs. Not impressed.

Portrait of a King- by sam tk

Portrait of a wounded king- by sam  tk

So forget all the grand posturing, really, who are we kidding? I protest! Acknowledge all the wounds that lie herein, I bring thee the opportunity to face them. Yes, we are wounded by our histories, of all our failures, of all our melancholia that forced us to bore into the earth and retrieve something new over and over again. All strata of society and culture need a cathartic release from all this bruising. Let time collapse our tragic past from all kinds of domination.

Instead, let’s turn towards the royalty we are. Inhabit our grandeur within, sing to it with all our heart, let it store within us like a long lasting preserve, a delicacy of profound sweetness. Measure ourselves with the grace of the small, for they smooth all our hard edges and ask us to dance with the gods.

 

 


HIS KINGSHIP

 

He’s a dude for sure: floral and royal, a reversal and universal, and as fine from a gold mine…

More pics and video coming soon!

his kingship- stk vimeo


In search for a KING

 IN SEARCH FOR A KING

Buddha in red scarf

Reclining Chinese Buddha- amused by what he sees, likes to be seen in a decorative way, takes care of himself

 

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

‘In Search for a King’ is my effort to create a healthy perspective about male identity. I am not interested in sharing about godly muscles and outwardly handsome fellas like the Greek ideal. I am actually more curious about how the pressures of social norms influence and direct the male psyche negatively which could be traced back to Greek’s bent on perfection. Equally true for women of course. There is a difference between ‘the status quo cultural/social male expectation’,  Robert Bly’s ‘Iron John’ and every other male composite in between. This issue is no doubt complex during the history of the earth. When we look at the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution, capitalism, patriarchal structures, binary thinking we can get a glimpse about the cultural evolution of human identity. I am obviously not a radical feminist from the turn of the 20th or from the 50’s but I am deeply concerned as a mom to an 11 year old son, as a sibling to several brothers and as a wife to my husband and dear partner that we respect our gender differences because ultimately gender doesn’t matter, our differences do, and diversity is the way. So why bother than in search for a KING?

I have an art installation coming up in late autumn this year, a narrative about a KING ( the male authority in us) surrendering to larger forces than himself, and while he thinks he is descending into an unstoppable ‘hell’ he realizes this journey is a beautiful release and by this he gains every ‘jewel’ he ever wanted. It is a portrayal of  ‘humility’ as a sublime act, a royal transgression that is so un-stately for his kind yet absolutely necessary for social and environmental transformation. Yep, kinda dramatic.

Aside from working out logistics of budget, deadlines and managing assistants for this project I am in the throes of conceptual and material research.

For one, most often kings are presented standing or sitting, dressed in exquisite and cumbersome attire while exuding a strong sense of self, seriousness and power. Google portraiture of a king and you might find it amusing-

King portraiture

Louis XVI, King  of France and Navarre by Antoine-Francois Callet (1754-93)

Grand, self-assured, he’s got it going on.

 Secondly, what of a king reclining and showing off their garments and status? Thirdly, was Gandhi not a King so to speak?

My investigation in this post is to hunt for other possibilities of ‘being’ in my story of a king. So I am looking at reclining Buddha statuary and funerary art as a start.

Colossal size immediately triggers awe. To follow are profound images from the exotic Far East.reclining buddha ruins

Above we see a relic of a reclining 42 meter Buddha at Wat Lokaya Sutha  in Ayuthaya, Thailand aka ‘The Temple of the Earth’. This temple was destroyed when the Burmese took over the city of Ayutthaya in 1767. The significance behind reclining buddha statues is that this depiction of buddha in serene calm shows detachment from habitual cyclical desire. They are often portrayals of the attainment of Enlightenment just before death.

sarcophagus figures

Etruscan sarcophagus with reclining couple.

Early Etruscan Sarcophagus with reclining couple, from the Banditaccia necropolis, Cerveteri, Italy, ca. 520 BCE.  Painted terracotta, 3′ 9 1/2″ X 6′  7″.  Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome. Love this ! what a fantastic portrayal of human life animated while fully aware of our inevitable death. How do you read this piece?

water buddha

Reclining buddha in water-Luang Prabang-

 My thought is this reclining Buddha is seen here in a flood. The placement of the hand supporting the head indicates his passing. So peaceful, so gracious, so beautiful.

 Buddha Enlightenment

Reclining Buddha Head- Luang Prabang

But alas the search for a king must continue. Any direction will do…

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland