Scored moments / by Ellice Mol

10 November 2017

Between 1966/68 John Berger wrote an essay called ‘The moment of cubism’. It’s an essay I have read many times because the ideas he puts forward have kept me on the edge of my seat. The essay begins with:

I find it hard to believe that the most extreme cubist works were painted over 50 years ago. It is true that I don’t expect them to be painted today. They are both too optimistic and too revolutionary for that. Perhaps in a way I am surprised that they have been painted at all. It would seem more likely that they would yet to be painted.

I quote this passage because the word ‘moment’ was one that I wanted to use in the title of the exhibition. The use of musical instruments within cubist works was used because they were common objects of beauty and were in the artists’ studios at the time. I also believe they were used because the relationship of musical sounds in the way that they ‘continue’ after a string has been plucked. It was a symbol in visual terms of what artists were trying to accomplish in their paintings; attempting to put more levels of reality into the picture, extending the format into the world beyond the four sides.

(Image: ‘Braque’s Kitchen’ 1999)

Later in the essay Berger states “rather then ask of a Cubist picture: is it true? or: Is it sincere? One should ask does it continue?”. When one encounters a ‘great work’ in any period it is kept alive by our memories and we are forced back to seek out its magic. Memory is another form of continuity.

The word ‘scored’ fitted all so well with literally a musical score and also ‘scoring’ taking place in Anne Ferguson’s major work in the exhibition. The other meaning ‘to score’ is when you ‘hit the mark’ and things go well, which I hope we also do in the exhibition. Its not easy to establish a title for a group exhibition without a theme which is always the easiest solution.

This partnership of Anne Ferguson, Allen Holley and myself has a heart with many common beliefs and tendencies. We have been practicing artists for at least 30 years with a historical knowledge well before the modernist period. We commonly discuss craftsmanship, quality and originality which are now seen as quite old fashioned. We are all interested in ‘natural order’. Allen’s work ‘Mariners Music’, is influenced by the sounds of the ocean and he also has a great interest in bird calls. Although Anne’s work has a simplicity and quietness that I could not achieve myself, we have a common interest in Eastern philosophy.

I have selected my works for this exhibition with all the above in mind. In the last 10 years transparent and reflective materials have entered my work. These materials have helped solve a problem of having been trained as a sculptor in a tradition which has a heavy emphasis on form and weight. I paint and draw as much as working in three dimensions and I’m interested in making works that ‘come and go’ in space (possibly disappear). Also against my training is the love of story telling, with most of my ideas coming from reading and everyday life experiences. The idea of how small a Russian doll can get as it reduces in size an infinite number of times interests me. Also the story that comes from the American-Indian culture that the world is supported on a turtle’s back which is supported by an infinite number of subsequent turtles into the depths of space.

A large amount of material used in my works come from recycled objects or discarded materials. I like to think that I can turn rubbish into gold.

When I go my studio I feel like a child that has wagged school and given the keys to the toyshop.

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