Saturday, February 9, 2019

icons and masks of memory

"Sticky Beak"

I haven't blogged for a while but have been very busy in this new year. 
Just taking a break from the artist books while I explore another of my favourite 3D areas. I like to use materials that have a history, hopefully one that has left marks and traces of earlier times. I'm currently trying to declutter and get rid of stuff I've had for decades. But I can't get rid of things I've saved as it would be admitting that keeping things for all these years was a total waste of time.

So, I'm giving things a new life while thinking of the old original use  long ago. I think it helps me establish some sort of continuous thread that links it all together.

The main materials that sparked this latest burst of activity have been bits of timber from old school desks that were being discarded from schools I worked in. Most have scratches on both sides, engravings and scribbles, the odd obscenity and lots of initials.

"side winder"

"so long"

These mainly chunky iconic wooden pieces gradually changed when I started deconstructing one of my mother's old excercise books she used for her dressmaking subject at school.

"personal baggage"

The shallower low relief masks used some of my oldest ephemera such as a luggage tag from the ship we went overseas in the 70's and one newspaper add from 1900's of the ship we came to Australia in the "Esperance Bay"
esperance bay

The "nose" is the original spine inside out of mum's exercise book. The base is the book cover. Army blankets and bitumen paint are powerful reminders of my youth.

"gold eyes"

The masks ended up more painterly and complex texturally - a long way from the original starting point of the simple wooden blocks. I think both approaches work well in very different ways. 

I just love the accidental scratches and marks that seem to come from nowhere.

A close up allows you to get a glimpse of the surfaces both old and new on the masks.

The test tube has dutch instructions from my mother's dressmaking notebook. Collage on another lid with original nails from Sri Lanka used very old envelopes and book spines. Some of the board came from an old cabin trunk we brought with us on board the Esperance Bay when we migrated. 
In a way I probably haven't strayed very far conceptually from the artist book. 

"George from Brisbane"

"George from Brisbane" utilises old school desk and part of an old envelope and mount board for a low relief. George is an imaginary man from Cooroy whose correspondence I found in an antique shop years ago.  


lid mask

This mask refers to my childhood in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The board is from a small box of tea which my father sent us when we first came to Australia.
I have transformed some of my clutter which is now more compact but will be even harder to finally dispose of (unless I give them away to a worthy cause.)

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