how little needs to be said to know nothing

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how little needs to be said to know nothing – exhibition @byronschoolofart – 13 to 25 April 2018

My current exhibition opened last Friday 13th April at the Byron School of Art, Project Space, Mullumbimby. For those that may be wondering where this is, Mullum (as we locals call it) is located in the Byron Shire (Byron Bay area), Northern NSW, Australia. It’s a beautiful little country town with a thriving arts community. The Byron School of Art, or BSA, is a welcome addition to the community and is growing in popularity as it offers year-long courses, short classes and exhibition opportunities encouraging artists to experiment with their ideas. I was fortunate to be selected to exhibit this year with this large body of work on paper I’ve been quietly creating for nearly two years.

Entitled ‘how little needs to be said to know nothing’ this exhibition explores an inquiry into the direct experience of form (the body, thoughts and emotions) and formlessness (silence, stillness and spaciousness) through my daily contemplations and meditations.

With a keen interest to understand the human experience of consciousness I wanted to take the simplicity of a piece of paper, showing up with a brush in hand, and surrender to whatever the moment created. I wanted to just paint and paint and paint and see what would be there at the end of a hundred paintings. So far I’ve painted 70 works, most of which have not been edited, or gone over, but rather completed in one or two sittings, put to the side, moving onto the next. In this way I felt I was better able to stop the mind from jumping in with conceptual ideas of what ‘should’ be on the page, or allowing overt self-criticism.

As the months rolled by I began to see themes emerge. One of them being “how little can I express onto the paper for it to still engage and meet me in some way?” In this way the title ‘how little needs to be said to know nothing’ can be read as a question or a statement.  Reviewing the paintings, I realised the exhibition feels like a visual journal, where what started as painterly expression, using the metaphor of a vessel for form, has quietly fallen away.  The paint has became thinner, the subject has receded, leaving just spaciousness on the paper. In today’s busy digital disruption lifestyle, I like the simplicity of that.

The exhibition continues until 25th April and can be viewed Monday to Saturday 10am to 2pm at the BSA Project Space, 112 Dalley Street, Mullumbimby. I will be there most days to share the experience and would enjoy your feedback should you be able to pop in and say hello.

For more information www.byronschoolofart.com/bsa-project-space-calendar/

Some more pieces from the exhibition:

Melinda Blair Paterson artist
untitled #6 – melinda blair paterson – mixed media – 290gsm paper – 2016

The above piece was in the initial part of this series that used the shape of a vessel to depict the human experience of form.

Melinda Blair Paterson artist
untitled #21 – melinda blair paterson – mixed media – 290gsm paper – 2017

The above piece shows the language or asemic writing I love to express. It is a language that has no meaning and yet brings a palpable experience of energy through my body when it is written.

Melinda Blair Paterson artist
untitled #45 – melinda blair paterson – mixed media – 290gsm paper – 2017

The above piece is an example of the later part of this series where spaciousness became the main expression and simplicity of colour was applied in thin washes of paint.

 

 

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…the more art becomes abstract

The more horrifying this world becomes… the more art becomes abstract.
Paul Klee

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Feigenbaum (Fig Tree) (detail) – Paul Klee – 1929

The morning internet meander, skipping through a series of website/blog/social media links; I’m stopped in my tracks reading this quote.

You see just prior I’d been shocked at the horror (and beauty) of the photos from today’s wild bushfires in Northern California on CNN. My heart ached for the loss of acres of natural and man made landscapes, and sadly, lives. I was taking it all in; choosing to feel it for as long as I could, before I noticed there was a click, a change of screen, and a seeking of serenity. A counter balance to the viewed horrors and increasing sense of heart pain.

Artist - Park Seo-bo
Black ink, white clam and oyster shell powder and glue with Korean Hanji paper on canvas – 130 × 195 cm – 2001

This came in the form of researching some of the artists introduced to me yesterday via the recent post Finding the Forgotten Note from Slow Muse blog by Deborah Barlow. One of my favourites. Abstract artists like: Agnes Martin, Park Seo-bo, Martin Puryear, G. R. Santosh,  Okada Kenzo and Zhan Wang currently featured at the Boston MFA (Museum of Fine Art) exhibition Seeking Stillness. 

The curator’s statement:

Artists help us see and make sense of our world. Many, in this divisive moment, have engaged directly and powerfully with the social and political issues of our age. No less powerful or relevant, however, are the works that can lead us beyond the unsettled present: to places of respite, contemplation, transcendence, stillness.

 

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Transformation – Melinda Blair Paterson – digital image – 2017

 

So it has been in my own art practice this year as I have felt an increasing movement towards less and less;  a minimal reductive abstract expression emerging, which brings me solace. Perhaps it is the inner seeking of a counter balance, a transformation into stillness, or just simple “relief ” sometimes, from the overwhelming disturbing ‘going ons’ felt and seen in our world at this time.

Mx

Acknowledgement and Gratitude
Curator’s statement from recent post Finding the Forgotten Note from Slow Muse blog
Image – Feigenbaum (Fig Tree) by Paul Klee from Museoman
Image –  Ecriture by Park Seo-bo from Artsy

pearl presence

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blue pearls – mbpblue designs – 2016

The putting down and resting of the paint brush last year, was subsequently followed by an exploration of ‘making’, which opened a number of new creative expressions here. One of which became a love of playing with the simplicity of pearls, in particular, blue pearls. I’m fascinated by their shape, colour, lustre, and of course, beauty. I prefer freshwater pearls as each one brings its own unique signature.

I purchase my pearls from a local bead shop, Trinkets, in Byron Bay. It’s one of those shops which is set back from a busy main street, with a somewhat dark narrow doorway. Entering, is like walking into a shop from an ancient bazaar, there is an explosion on the senses with floor to ceiling colour in beads and jewellery making materials from around the world. The pearls are right down the back, seemingly forgotten, in the current fashion of colour. Here I stand fossicking away in the corner, rummaging through bowls and strands of freshwater pearls, picking over each one to see if it meets my sense of beauty, collecting a few special ones, and then happily bringing them home to ponder and play.

I find myself creating designs that resonate with my natural aesthetic for minimalist simplicity. Of course there are the usual designs of balanced placement with a central pearl, accompanied by smaller seed pearls each side. However, being an abstract artist who’s into awareness, I couldn’t help but create designs that felt different and off-centre, helping move the mind and eye in a way that encourages internal inquiry… together with a sense of beauty.

I’ve particularly enjoyed selling the mbpblue abstract designs, and have had some lovely feedback from a customer in the United States, who said she consciously challenged herself to go with something different. Yeah… go girl… that’s the spirit!

The current range of blue pearls is small and select. They quietly sit in my online store being viewed and favoured by Etsy shoppers each day. Occasionally one is sold and I’m encouraged to pop back into the bazaar, rummage through the bowls, and wonder at the individuality of each freshwater pearl made from Mother Nature’s mastery. Moments are lost in the back corner of this little shop. Perhaps due to the simplicity and beauty of ‘pearl presence’.

Mx

 

 

Indigo Textiles

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handmade indigo cotton summer shawl – mbpblue designs – 2016

The end of 2015 had me playing with a few creative projects including monoprinting with indigo (September) and sewing (October). One day the question arose: “I wonder if I could print with indigo onto fabric?” I didn’t mean indigo dyeing. I had seen the fashionable explosion of indigo textiles into the clothing and homewares stores in recent years, and had friends that were loving the creative experience of a dye pot.

No… in my usual Aquarian style… I wanted to do something different!

So what started as a curious question ended up as an R&D obsession. A lot of hours, days, weeks later, and the help of some wonderfully generous master textile artisans from around the world, I was able to discover an ancient Japanese organic process that allows the indigo to bind to the fabric without going through the usual oxygenating process of a dye pot. Yeah!

During my sewing foray in October I had picked up a few metres of various cotton fabrics. I decided to test the process, and to my amazement it worked. That was a happy happy day.

I cut up and hand frayed some fine cotton muslin, monoprinted three summer shawls using rainforest leaves from my garden, and finished them with detail hand stitching. The handmade process is slow, taking up to 30 days to air cure the fabric in warm weather to ensure the indigo pigment permanently binds to the fibres.

It’s slow art making at its best, and I can understand why indigo fabric printing has not become fashionable, unlike it’s big sister, the dye pot. Yet it meets my need to do something different from the crowd; to enter into a slow art practice, which i find ensures a slowing down of the mind while only an awareness of the creating exits; and it has gifted a beautiful ancient organic sustainable art practice into my hands… oh yes… and lots of cups of tea while I’m waiting for the fabric to cure.

🙂 Mx

ps… if you are interested to see more of these handmade indigo shawls they are now featured in my Etsy store – mbpblue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bush roses

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bush roses #5  – melinda blair paterson – 2016 – oil on board

 

Summer time brings the bush rose outside my bedroom window into full bloom. It’s a delight to awaken each morning and smell their fragrance. Yes… roses that do offer a sublime scent that goes straight into the brain and sends endorphins of pure pleasure through the body. Nothing like the perfect, yet devoid of scent, commercial roses found in most florists or roadside stalls today. Real roses thank you very much!

I’ve learnt over the years that bush roses are traditionally short lived once picked. Their petals flop and quickly fall, taking their scent with them. Knowing this, however, doesn’t inhibit me from loving the ritual of using my sharpest gardening shears, gathering as many as the bush will allow, and bringing them inside to fill my tiny little cabin with their beauty, perfume and grace. Bliss.

Last summer I began seeing visions of pale pink roses on a dark background. I found myself buying a small set of oils, a few canvas boards and began translating the visions into little paintings. There have only been five small artworks completed to date. A couple of prepped boards still await my return, and I have no idea when? It was like the Muse arrived one day, played with me and then left, just when the game was getting interesting.

Oh well… maybe she’ll come back to play again next summer.

Mx

 

doodling with Rupert



it has been brought to an end in understanding   2015   words – Rupert Spira,  drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson

It has been going on for a week or so now, this love affair with Rupert Spira, or rather his recent published work ‘The light of pure knowing‘, some 30 meditations on the essence of non duality. 

I sit at my desk, take my journal in hand, push the play arrow on the iPad, and enjoy an hour or so of exquisite pleasure listening to Rupert whilst doodling with black pen and colour pencils. I’ve coined it ‘contemplative doodling’. 

Every now and then a few words spoken by Rupert, in his elogent English accent, filter through and I write them down. Words that unknowingly penetrate the mindless abstraction of doodling, and strike a note of connection and deeper understanding. I love that. Mx



the object comes to us, we don’t go to it   2015   words – Rupert Spira   drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson



beauty is the experience that objects are not objects   2015   words – Rupert Spira   drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson



being aware in everything   2015   Melinda Blair Paterson



floating in awareness, forever free   2015   Melinda Blair Paterson



how close is this experience to the knowing of it?   2015   words – Rupert Spira  drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson