Art

TODAY

September 28, 2016

So what am I doing at the base of the sculpture ‘Birth’?

carving

I’m carving the letters TODAY.
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Six hundred million years earlier, visitors to Windgrove begin their 1.2 kilometre journey along the Gaia Evolution Walk where each big step (one metre) equals 500,000 years.

The years roll by with each step. From the Precambrian Eon through to the Cenozoic Era — via the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods — The Walk is completed when people touch the sculpture ‘Birth’ with its inscribed word: TODAY

Interestingly enough, after almost five years in the making, this lettering marks the formal completion of the Gaia Evolution Walk. The Walk is finally finished.

“To the future”, I say.

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On the gate is the sign: The Future. Once inside, students within the expansive classroom of the Wombat Circle talk, not only of what they learned along the Gaia Evolution Walk, but how they view the future of the planet, the environmental and social changes that will surely occur, and, most importantly, what role they might play in helping to create a peaceful word for themselves and others.

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Another topic of discussion that I like to bring up is whether or not human constructed art has a place in the natural environment. Is the sculpture ‘Birth’ an eye sore? Or, a lovely addition to the surrounding trees? Is it just one man’s ego intruding on the landscape?

Or, does it move beyond a pleasing aesthetic and become transformative to a person’s life? And the earth’s.

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New version

March 1, 2016

Last year I posted a short one minute video that was part of an advertising campaign by Tourism Tasmania. Recently, the producer of that video sent me a five minute, “Director’s Cut”. This is a really beautifully crafted video. Enjoy.

Tourism Tasmania – Peter Adams from Brad Sayers Director on Vimeo.

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Dan Bailey at Windgrove

January 15, 2016

It’s been a whirlwind of drone footage and photos for the past month by long time friend and guest artist at Windgrove: Dan Bailey.

windgroveaerialcircles Dan

For a visual treat, go to Dan’s own blog to see more images and read what he has written about his time here.

www.panopicnic.com

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My long time friend Dan Bailey is visiting Windgrove for a month. Here’s his first video of the area.

Enjoy this visual treat.

Emily at Roaring Beach from Dan Bailey on Vimeo.

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If art is your life

August 17, 2015

To Millie

And to all young artists who are at the beginning of their hopefully long, most times rewarding yet sometimes torturous, career in the arts ……. some hints.

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Marge Piercy

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Speaking of love, you must love your art as dearly as towards a person.

In my home, next to the dining table where I can view it daily, is nestled a tiny, fairly faded post card reproduction of ‘Pygmalion and Galatea’ by French sculptor Jean Leon Gerome. I keep it as a reminder of the power of artistic intention.

Basically, the painting is of an ancient myth where the sculptor Pygmalion falls in love with his own artistic creation. This love is so strongly felt that the sculpture literally comes to life.

My personal interpretation of this story is that, as artists, you and I have to love our work with such an intensity that what we create becomes embodied with a life that is as viscerally connected to us as with our own children.

To be frank, most people will have no understanding of what this means and they will continually, from ignorance, refer to our works as though they were just objects or things. Certainly, nothing imbued with heart or soul.

But be kind to these people, as they know not what they talk about.

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Lastly, you should familiarise yourself with “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Beautifully descriptive and insightful, here’s a taste:

“As you unfold as an artist, just keep on, quietly and earnestly, growing through all that happens to you. You cannot disrupt this process more violently than by looking outside yourself for answers that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling.”

“Allow your judgments their own undisturbed development, which, like any unfolding, must come from within and can by nothing be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birth. To allow each impression and each embryo of a feeling to complete itself in the dark, in the unsayable, the not-knowing, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and humbly and patiently to await the dawning of a new clarity: that alone is the way of the artist — in understanding as in creating.”

Stay true to the muse that resides within you. A great life awaits.

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While having a residency at Windgrove, what does an artist do the majority of their time ?

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Good question. But the most obvious answer — make art —is not the correct one.

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On the Windgrove letterhead is the strap line: “Refuge for learning”.

It does not say: “Refuge for doing.

Or, more specifically, a requirement to continuously make art while tucked away in a studio with or without other like minded artists busily being artists.

Usually, when artists are given a residency, they’re required to exhibit a body of work at the end of their residency. In most cases, this works well for both the artist and the facility that offers the residency, because it’s a given understood by all and easily followed.

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At Windgrove, however, other than helping to share in meal preparation and an hour or two in the garden, I like to push the notion of allowing the artist complete freedom from obligation.

If one is to be in a residency and come away with new ideas and a renewed passion for life and one’s life work, a nurturing gestation period of contemplative walks and observation is, in my view, not only a better way to stimulate the muse, but a necessity.

A necessity few artists, let alone the general population, are able to access.

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Windgrove is no Club Med. More like a Zen retreat for the creative spirit.

For that reason, I have no photos to show “the art work” that American furniture designer/sculptor Miriam Carpenter did while staying here for five weeks; just photos of her more meandering times.

If interested, Google Miriam for a look at her professional capabilities.

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What I can offer, though, is one section of an email she wrote from New Zealand after leaving Windgrove. The poem Atavism she refers to is printed below.

It will take me a while to process everything I have gathered from Windgrove and my time with you, but for now I can offer up the initial bits and pieces.  As I read Atavism to myself time and time again, and to others (as I did throughout CollaboratioNZ), I feel an ever increasing resonance.  I have done my best to see, and am aware that the world has and is happening a third time in all I suspect I will never be able to see.  Standing at the foot of Tane Mahuta, I felt my whiskers wider than my mind, away out over everything… and the strength and vibration of the forest stroking my fur.  My perception and seeing has shifted as anthropocentric thoughts dissolve into viewing life as an integral part of Pachamama. 

Windgrove is alive and thinking.  Consciousness is the land, not from it.  Your vision is sharp and I have deep respect and gratitude for your ever increasing tenacity in cultivating a rich opportunity for emotional, physical, mental and spiritual enlightenment.   I am honored to be the Maiden – for I have three more phases on this journey, and I am rich, content and inspired beyond my wildest dreams.   

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Atavism

1
Sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. A dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide
still worlds like this one you have found
again, for a moment, in the open.

2
Something is being told in the woods: aisles of
shadow lead away; a branch waves;
a pencil of sunlight slowly travels its
path. A withheld presence almost
speaks, but then retreats, rustles
a patch of brush. You can feel
the centuries ripple generations
of wandering, discovering, being lost
and found, eating, dying, being born.
A walk through the forest strokes your fur,
the fur you no longer have. And your gaze
down a forest aisle is a strange, long
plunge, dark eyes looking for home.
For delicious minutes you can feel your whiskers
wider than your mind, away out over everything.

William Stafford

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