how little needs to be said to know nothing

Melinda_Blair_Paterson_BSA_exhibition_2018_2
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.

 

 

Advertisements

…the more art becomes abstract

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

Fico_web
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.

 

Transformation_Melinda_Blair_Paterson_2017
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

art to ashes

art to ashes - Melinda Blair Paterson

Cleaning out the studio, feeling the moment when brush will touch white surface again and mysteries will gently be revealed to the ‘observer’, today, however, ended in a bomb-fire of artworks that didn’t make the cut.

A liberating experience of turning art into ashes, watching  a thirsty fire lick colour and form, expressing its delight in bursts of blasting heat and towering flames under a clear night sky, encouraging me to step back or join the revelry.

Hours of agonising decisions on colour and mark making:  adding, subtracting, covering, and revealing. I remember struggling with it all and these artworks showed every nuance, hence had to go.

What a relief.

Mx

exquisite circles

Plate from Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) – Ernst Haeckel [1862]
Plate from Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) – Ernst Haeckel [1862]
My fascination for circles continued last week when cruising around Facebook I came across a post on the awakened eye that pointed to a piece called ‘The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace : The Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr Collection.’ The name alone seemed a mouth-full and would normally have had me scrolling past with judgement of ‘too hard’, however the accompanying image stopped me in my tracks. What’s that… click! The screen flicked over to a blog called Data is Nature, and as much as I found the text a bit high brow for a quick scan, I was fascinated by the images of exquisite scientific illustration.

The author Paul Prudence writes in his post:
Scientific illustration, especially of a biological kind, reached an apex in terms of draughtsmanship and delicateness during 19th century before photography became widespread. Though the emphasis on these illustrations was on accuracy, utility and facsimile of biodiversity, the personal aesthetics of the artists inevitably wrestled their way into the frame. Ernst Haeckel’s brilliant illustrations are the canonical example of this kind of treatment. (continued here)

Phew!

On viewing and sitting with these illustrations there is no doubt they are of an exact scientific nature, however, for me it is the placement of the circles, and the subtle work of pencil that evokes an etherial beauty. Some forms appear feminine and organic, and yet a surprising element of the masculine and mechanical appear in others. All of which felt like a pointing to something deeper and perhaps beyond the duality of our world.

I found myself re-reading the post and trying to understand what Prudence was saying about Haeckel’s work. What does ‘canonical’ mean? When in doubt… Google it! The definition of CANONICAL FORM is ‘the simplest form of something’ in a mathematical context. I felt even more pulled into these drawings; bathing in their beauty, simplicity and form as captured by the artist.

Simplicity = Circles = Form in Beauty = Awareness (to me).

Mx

loving each new creation

untitled  -  12Mar15  - pen and pencil  - melinda blair paterson
untitled – 12Mar15 – pen and pencil – melinda blair paterson

I have a confession…

I watch myself fall madly in love with each new artwork I create.

Even the ugly ducklings.

It’s always been this way.

In the moment, when pen and pencil or brush and paint, are doing their mindless abandoned thing… its pure joy tearing through my veins whilst the finished creation is delighted in and loved like a new-born child. Carefully placed where my gaze can intermittently check, re-check, and greet the new one.

It’s a curiosity because I’m not saying every piece of artwork I produce IS fantastic, however the experiencing is.

The conclusion I’ve come to is the creative expression springs forth from the Truth of who I am, the Love that we all are, and thus creates this wonderous mad alive loving experiencing.  🙂

Mx

beauty in imperfection

. . . that was the moment I became educated
about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

plate by Blossom Young, Moonrise Studios, Mullumbimby, Australia

Living life in a small space tends to encourage zen-like simplicity. I find myself giving due consideration to most objects I bring home. So when it comes to items that are not of a practical nature, I am even more ruthless in my weighing up. I ask myself… do I really need it?

I’ve wandered in and out of Moonrise Studios in Mullumbimby for over a year now. Stopping to admire and desire the hand-made ceramics by the gallery owner, Blossom Young, more times than I’d like to admit. So when the buying of Christmas gifts was recently on the agenda, I decided to treat myself.

I explored every surface of this beautiful little white, light filled, gallery looking for the right piece . Being on a budget, my choices became refined. I was just about to give up when I noticed a little plate nestled on a shelf behind the front counter, with a blue web-like design, and asked if I could see it. Oh it has a crack in it… damn… (think again)… oh that doesn’t matter, it’s the design I love and it’s the perfect size. I asked Blossom if the crack could be filled, and that was the moment I became educated about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

The term ‘kintsugi’ means golden joinery in Japanese and refers to the ancient art of fixing broken ceramics with a lacquer resin made to look like solid gold. It is thought that these vessels become more gorgeous, and more precious, than before they were fractured. Many Japanese cherish the imperfection of a broken pot repaired in this way, seeing it as a creative addition and/or rebirth of the pot’s life story. (Source: Dick Lehman)

I had to wait about a week while Blossom lovingly filled the cracked plate before it was bought home for ‘kintsugi’. The sense of ritual was immediately apparent. The appropriate materials were gathered and laid out on the table: cotton gloves, small fine brushes, specialist glue and gold leaf sheets. Slowly the glue was applied to the crack line. A waiting of 15 minutes was needed for the glue to cure. Sitting patiently, an opportunity to bring presence to the task was deafening. Time’s up! A flutter of excitement as cotton gloved fingers tore tiny pieces of gold leaf from the glistening sheets; gently allowing them to float down on the tip of a brush onto the glue. Painstakingly the crack began to emerge as a volcanic outflow across the patterned landscape. It’s glowing imperfection now offering beauty and new life.

I love my little plate from Moonrise Studios. It sits on my bedroom dresser, offering it’s pattern and gold imperfection to my eye every day. It’s an object I’m glad I’ve brought into my small space. It gifts the simplest of pleasures. As an artist, it especially reminds me to allow the beauty of so called ‘imperfection’ into my creativity… and even more so, in life.

Mx

Note: Thanks to ceramicist, Dick Lehman, for his article – Kintsugi: gold repair of ceramic faults. The complete article is here.

art and awareness

sahaja peace (detail)  100x100cms  acrylic on canvas  2014  melinda blair paterson
sahaja peace (detail)     100x100cms     acrylic on canvas     2014     melinda blair paterson

I’m an artist living in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia and am passionate about awareness or consciousness and expressing this through art.

I  started my artistic career over 10 years ago with a spontaneous awakening after my mother passed away in 2002. I spent the first five years painting intuitively without any formal training, but somewhere along the way I got the idea I needed to go to art school so that I could say I was ‘a real artist’.

After three years of training and a lot of frustration I finished with some wonderful technical skills but felt completely devoid of what had been an innate intuitive joyful expression in my life. It took me another three years to stop listening to the critical conceptual voices in my head that were very much of the contemporary art world speak I’d learnt in art school.

Now I’m happy to say I am standing as an artist that paints and creates from that space that has no name and is beyond the conceptual mind. I call it ‘consciousnessism’.

I was recently asked to feature my work on a artisan’s blog called ‘the awakened eye’. This blog features artists that express their work from a nondual perspective. It was such a liberating experience. I finally felt I was able to talk about my art without having to dumb it down for the contemporary conceptual art world. I was able to speak about my art in a way that is about consciousness.

This is what I plan to bring to this blog. To share my art, creativity and nondual awareness that prompts a deep desire to express this in a form of beauty that is an offering and invitation to life.

Mx