Fate and Freewill Artist Statements

Stuart Elliot

The title of this show is a kind of floating statement without anything specific attached. It implies a tension or duality but also, for me, ideas to do with scale and time.I immediately think of large forces, or how events and experience come to be understood. Coherence is often retrospective, cause and effect often circuitously diverted, as with traumatic events. Painting can seem very small when compared to such things, but this first impression is deceptive. The works I am showing here use a structure that recurs throughout my practice, a geometric principle that produces the unit or root of a repeating star pattern. Here the centre of that unit is cropped and stretched to the bounds of the support, and so the image is conditioned by the painting as a material object, by the facts of these limits. This form acts as a structure within which choices are made.

These paintings might be thought of as occupying the more visually assertive and resolved end of the spectrum, in terms of the different kinds of paintings that I make, but I think this is only true if we take them at face value. The ‘frame’ is always in a sense a cropping device, or at least this historical function of a painting’s edges is always present in some measure. The implication here is that the design extends outwards. This is not a diptych as such, it is more a temporary pairing, and so each painting has a relationship to, and dependence on the other because of their proximity that they would not otherwise have. In this case it is a kind of interrupted continuity, and this is one way in which they start to unfix themselves.

Their readiness to be seen as images means they can never quite be themselves, or be as delimited as they seem – there is always the question of origins, that they are paintings ‘of’ something. The relationship between these different states and the possible relationships to them is something I want to cultivate and explore, as is the idea that our notions of space and material are always as much discursive as they are physical.

Lee Tusman

I’m not sure what I think about fate or freewill. Or maybe I am okay with things being slippery. But perhaps it doesn’t matter. I can’t see how I would alter my behavior anyway. I live life and make art because I like to play. For this exhibit, I’ve concentrated on extending my wall garbage quilts out beyond their usual proportions to take up the whole space around them. I’m a maximalist. I like my art loud and aggressive. And if it happens to have started as a quilt, then it’ll be a quilt with a ghetto blaster heart. That’s a “boom box,” Mom.

Sarah Sparkes

For what we are about to receive
Acrylic paint on plastic table runner, 84cm x 43cm, 2009
This piece reveals that fetishistic objects of domestic pride are attempts to ward off the inevitable. The hand painted table runner reminds us of consumption with the ever present reminder that in the end we will all be consumed.

Jack the Giant Killer
Bunting flags, 10 metres long, 2009
Fluttering and festive, bunting is a lightweight and seemingly innocuous string of small decorative flags bearing the artists motto “Never Afraid”. This bold claim seems comical in this context – the shaking of a small fist in the face of an unbeatable foe.

It’s about how we try to oversee the things outside our control, by decorating homes in an attempt to fight off the dangers that face us and our loved ones. The comfort of decoration is a sign of our ‘civilised’ nature in the face of our ever present frailty and mortality.

Hannah Schwardon

Through various chance mechanisms and strategies for spontaneous choreographic composition designed in the form of structured improvisation, dancers will perform movement material that shifts readily from the planned to the uncalculated. In this practice of chance choreography, I willingly surrender control, letting go of personal preferences in order to make room for other systems of ordering that rely less on intuition or feeling and more on possibility, asking more fundamental questions about what isit that moves us.

References:
Adshead-Lansdale, Janet. Choreography: Principles and Practice.
Guildford: University of Surrey: National Resource Centre for Dance,
1987.
Vaughan, David. Newshour with Jim Lehrer, America Masters. PBS
website. <http://www.pbs.org&gt;
Beiswanger, George. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol.
21, No. 1 (Autumn, 1962), pp. 13-17
Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/427633

David Leapman

I feel a little intimidated exploring such a vast subject with no foreseeable beginning or end. I recently became more assured after reading something Carl Jung wrote in “Man and his symbols”
“There is a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe”

For the show Fate and Freewill I have made a series of paintings and drawings loosely based on an anonymous parable that I found in Abraham Cohen’s Everyman’s Talmud: Parable of a person who is sitting at the cross roads, before whom two paths branched out. The beginning of one was plain and it’s end was full of thorns; the beginning of the other was thorny and it’s latter part plain. He used to warn the passers by and say to them, “You see this path that it’s beginning is plain and for two or three steps you walk in comfort but at it’s end you meet with thorns. You also see the other path the beginning of which is thorny; for two or three steps you walk through thorns but in the end you come to a straight road.”

Jessica Snow

Artists have a particular interest in the notion of fate because of the role it plays in creativity.  Fate is chance, fate is the ineffable, fate is the unknown.  Freewill, on the other hand, well that is different, at least that is how one constructs it in the mind.  Freewill would be pouring the cup of coffee, getting out the supplies, thumbing through the books and delaying the research till tomorrow, choosing particular tubes of paint if the artist, like me, is a painter.  Freewill is choosing this or that brush.  But then… the painter is in front of the canvas, assuming one has even gotten to this point because of the discipline and rigor involved in the freewill aspect of things…this is where the day to day falls away, the will falls away, and some other principle seems to begin operating.  The painting is created in another register of existence, and although the artist is there mixing color, applying it in large thick uniform fields or thin skeins of glaze, the work is being created of its own volition, and this determines the character of the painting.  The artist grapples with this paradox, tries to reign the whole thing in, but gradually succumbs to the painting’s assertion of its own will, and the results of this process can range from a catastrophic disaster to an enchanted wonder.  And that blow to freewill, whether its effects devastate or come as an enormous relief, could only be fate.

James Rielly

I have just spent most of the summer collecting images, stories, jokes, listening to lots of music, watching every film I could. Trying to fill myself up. Then waiting for the flow to go the other way. Learning to share and Learning to fit in, are the start of that process. So I am happy to get these two works out there, just to let go of them.

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