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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Life Starts Here

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Malcolm Gladwell’s book What the Dog Saw are all essays published in The New Yorker magazine. The essay Late Bloomers is fun, he talks about Picasso as a prodigy and Cezanne as a late bloomer. The problem with being a late bloomer is that to exist at all you need people who believe in you, patrons. here is the last bit of the second last paragraph, from Malcolm Gladwell’s book.

Late bloomers’ stories are invariably love stories, and this may be why we have such difficulty with them. We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.

Pg. 313 Late Bloomers from the book What the Dog Saw.

A view of the garden done with found objects

wire and mirrors Photograph by Mary-Lynn Fluter

Well, the wire and mirror piece was not made thinking at the kitchen table, it was a wander about the studio to see what resources I had in hand in order to create a sculpture garden for our local weekend horticultural garden tour. Lucky I am to have a great deal of  ‘inventory’. it is a big assist when trying to make your way in the material world.

That specific piece, the inventory was thousands of wire cages that once protect new tree planting here, recycled into wire balls. The marbles came from a transport truck spill on one of our major highways. Their shape  and size makes them easily moveable, their final destiny was to be remelted into fibre glass. The mirrors are, well can you remember when they were used instead of video cameras in your local variety store to spot shop lifters. Yes, a long time ago. We still have rotary phones here too.

On a Writer’s Retreat

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Gallery 96 ShowThe idea of headlines came up in our writer’s retreat last fall. The exercise was to write a headline to describe yourself, in nine words or less with enough punch to sell a newspaper. As is so often the case, my mind went blank.

Nine months later I thought of what I could wish to be an appropriate headline;

Woman lays waste our perception of what art is.

That wouldn’t be either accurate or true but in fact a bold-faced lie. I’m not sure it would even sell a paper.

The next one is truer but; well here it is,

Ageing woman’s aspirations at art ends in failure.

Or an alternative

Ageing woman’s explorations into art ends not with a bang but a whimper.

Now that might sell a paper or two, it has the drama of an explosion, the disaster we seem to like to experience at a safe distance as it happens to someone else.

But that end phrase is plagiarized from T.S.Elliot’s poem, The Hollow Men. Would the editor allow it?

After spending 30 years with her head in the sand artist finds enlightenment.

At thirteen words that is too long. But the enlightenment would look something like this; success is a relative term.

Artist makes success of life not art.

I guess that would be my headline, short enough and true, but is it interesting enough to sell a newspaper?

The best one would be,

The Artist on Fire. Unfortunately that was a title from a painting by Joyce Wieland, so probably not a good thing to copy.

Gallery 96 ExhibitionGallery 96 Exhibition

Art overtakes Life

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The proper quote should read life imitates art, so not just out of context but I managed to get it backwards as well.

A bit of a news bulletin this week.

CHRISTOPHER WALLIS RCA

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS

OF DESIGNING AND MAKING STAINED GLASS WINDOWS

ACROSS CANADA.

AN EXHIBITION IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE GRAND BEND ARTIST STUDIO TOUR

SATURDAY MAY 4TH 10 – 5

SUNDAY MAY 5TH 12 – 5

For more information visit http://www.grandbendstudiotour.com

for a stained glass window

full size drawing of St. Paul

We don’t always participate in the local studio tour, but this year Christopher’s studio was already disrupted; literally pulled apart by the events of history, therefore it seemed a fitting time to display some part of a lifetimes endeavor before it was once again packed tidily away.

Kindness

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Kindness is good but listening is better, but how can I listen if my brain is so full of noise I can’t hear the rest of the world? Tonight here was the first day of spring, despite what the calendar says. With a thick cloud cover and no stars visible tonight was for the first time this year the time the earth is moving. The earthworms are hungry after a long cold winter, I can hear them dragging leaves underground for dinner. A scratchy, scruntchy kind of sound, very pleasurable on the ear, and a big lightening of the heart as well.

I have an orchid that still blooms after living here for five years.

It had so overgrown its pot this past winter I bought soil, not the right kind, it is in bark but all I could find was as fine as dust.

It seems the orchid didn’t mind the change in soil, it bloomed yet again.  But it did mind a great deal that I had tried to bury all those hangy out roots.  I tried to bury them into their new bigger pot but the outcome was, if they were very unhappy those roots died, if they were moderately happy they lifted themselves from the dirt, and if they were really happy they hung their roots over the pot.

It takes a lot of attention to understand a plant, how much more for a person?

orchid

Feeding the Five Thousand

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Easter seems an appropriate time to share this piece. I didn’t create it because of religious convictions. My fascination was more of how the messages were always in need of translation of some kind or other for clarity, which is why the title.  It seems impossible to achieve a single meaning even from the most simple of words, but in the end, they do provide a certain nourishment.

This work I designed and built through 1989-90. The challenge of redesigning the lettering of the LED into a vertical format was formidable, but luckily it was only two words, Jesus Said.

The text is composed of excerpts from The Gospel of Thomas, a tractate from The Nag Hammadi Library in English, published in 1978. These Coptic Gnostic texts date from 400 CE.

Installation work with digital media and photography

Installation work with digital media and photography

The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of traditional sayings, prophecies, proverbs and parables of Jesus. The authorship is attributed to Didymos Judas Thomas who is identified as Christ’s twin brother.

According to the introduction by Helmut Koester, the 114 collected sayings are the secret saying which the living Jesus spoke. Esoteric by design, the secret meanings are to be understood by not only recognizing our divine identity, but by separating ourselves from the world, a paring down of our corrupt existence in order to experience our origin (the light) and destiny (the repose).

A multi-media work

Feeding the Five Thousand

To accentuate this concept of paring one’s self down to life’s essence, the text was fragmented allowing it to grow in tension and immediacy, the message distilled, the hope illuminated.

The horizontal arm was much easier to program. Finding the pace and flow to harmonize with the repetitive  Jesus said, to meld them together was integral for the piece to achieve its own voice.

Feeding the Five Thousand

Feeding the Five Thousand

By reading the text below, Feeding the Five Thousand, I think you will begin to understand the cadence I was after.

The three transparencies are the head of the Shroud of Turin, fabled to be the body of Christ imprinted on the cloth  he was wrapped in after the crucifixion and discarded upon his resurrection. I had it enlarged to a four foot by six foot negative black and clear image. A negative of a negative if you like.

A multi-media art work

Feeding the Five Thousand

feeding-the-5000224_e

Feeding the five thousand