I’m heading (floundering might be a better word!) towards the deadline – 30 April – for Art House Co-op’s 2012 Limited Edition Sketchbook Project. My entry is preliminary work for the second in my Books of the Dead series.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you’ll know that the idea for a series of Books of the Dead came about when pondering over the theme I’d chosen to investigate for Art House’s 2012 Sketchbook Project, which was Travel With Me. It came to me almost at once that most of my travelling has been accompanied by the deaths of close family and that the art in progress during those times was necessarily abandoned. As a result, I have various groups of works-in-progress from these times, that remain undeveloped. I saw that these were hindering my artistic progress in the present time and that I needed to address these fragments to bring closure to those events.
As a result of Books of the Dead: 1 I came to see that these fragments weren’t just paper and paint, etc, not inert matter, but active energies but pockets of imprisoned creative energy – creative energy encapsulated in painful experience. I don’t know how to describe this phenomenon in any other way, but I suspect that if there are any phenomenologists reading this, they’ll be nodding their heads in affirmation! And one or two mystics! And I make no apologies for being something of a mystic (whatever that means) myself!
And you know, it’s not just about Me Me Me! I hope. Every artist goes through this stuff. Because every artist encounters the painful loss of loved ones. And everybody is an artist. So I hope what I’m doing will eventually be of use to others. Even if only in a very small way. (Every drop of rain goes to make a river)! (Sounds terribly wise)!
Books of the Dead: 2 is proving tough. It would be odd if it weren’t. It represents the largest pocket of trapped creative energy as it concerns art in progress during a period when three of my close family died and in less than a year. Living far away (and far away in two different directions, 8000 miles apart from each other ) made it immensely more harrowing and logistically difficult to manage.
I’ve been finding it hard even to approach this group of fragments – my avoidance tactics display sheer genius! Yet when I’m in the flow of it, it’s been illuminating and empowering. In travelling back to my life – my Me-ness at that time, through the art I was making then, I’m not only remembering, but discovering new things that at that time, because of my grief, I was blind to. And like Books of the Dead 1, I noticed that I am a different Me now, compared to then and dare I say it without sounding self-congratulatory? – more evolved, Consciousness-wise. Without knowing how it’s happened!
Curiously (and I only saw this parallel while doing this project) some of the things I am re-remembering, of that time were also about energies – rare phenomena containing immense physical energies, one – horrifically destructive – a hurricane – Hurricane Mitch – the other of a beautiful kind – a comet (Hale-Bopp). (The comet is where the UFOs come in – you can’t have a comet without a UFO!
The images here relate to Books of the Dead: 2. The most important is the ugly-looking thing at the top. It’s actually a piece of coral fossil picked up during walks on a beach. The beach was made up of such fossils. It was very painful to walk on – the fossils were scorching hot and also they shifted under your feet, so that they sunk in up to the ankles and grazed them. You could have tracked me during those walks by the trail of blood!
I collected an armfulof these fossils, but it was this I selected to draw directly after one of the deaths. It became my fetish. I carried it everywhere in my handbag. I even took it on a trip to Boston!
As you can see from the photo, it’s been mended. I dropped it twice and glued it back together. It was almost white and very light when I found it. It got dark and heavy as I used it to make papier mache casts from it, which meant coating it in Vaseline, which the fossil absorbed.
These images won’t necessarily turn up as artwork. It depends on whether they will help me free up this dead energy and turn it into something beautiful.
Beautiful resurrections, beautiful energies.
- Fragments of Book of the Dead found in Brisbane (abc.net.au)
- Aftermath (and a tour of my studio) (annisik51.wordpress.com)
- A “Different” Sort of Posthumous Publication–the Books of the Dead (longstreet.typepad.com)