Monthly Archives: January 2013

When you lay down beside me, Osiris

When you lay down beside me, Osiris, we do not speak.

We fiddle with our inner lives, we do not speak. Our bodies know each other,  our bodies’ breath has already crossed the space between us,  touching, mingling; we do not speak.

I feel your eyes upon me Osiris and I cannot look. Our bodies see each other, they know each other without touching, they are known to each other from before, when you were a branch, a stem, a leaf, a flower; and I was that tiny blue-capped bird.

I feel your eyes upon me Osiris and I want to look, to speak,  but I cannot, and you do not. We pass each other close and sparks tingle my skin. In the belly of the stag you ride. I see your profile, the dark brow, the proud mouth. I glimpse your smile – how glorious!

 

 

When you lay down beside me, Osiris, we do not speak. We fiddle with our inner lives, we do not speak. Our bodies know each other,  our bodies’ breath has already crossed the space between us,  touching, mingling; we do not speak. I feel your eyes upon me Osiris and I cannot look. Our bodies… Read more »

Rupert’s poem made in response to my show – thank you!

Rupert Loydell is a poet, writer, artist and teacher (contact details below) who I have known for many years. Yesterday he sent me his response to my show ‘The Secret Worth A Thousand’. Here it is:

THE SECRET

WORTH A THOUSAND

Kate Walters, Newlyn Art Gallery, January 2013.

 

 

parked in

the usual road

 

early for

your exhibition

 

fantastic curve

of the bay

 

cold water

dogs and gulls

 

hiss of the sea

white noise

 

dirty orange

pale snow light

 

too cold to write

or draw outside

 

 

 

 

surrounded by garden

amplified sounds

of the garden

 

as if the act

of reproducing the garden

is the garden

 

in the garden

nature is magic

by itself

 

 

 

 

a confusion of

dogs and deer

 

of animal

and spiritual

 

a confusion

of beasts

 

a bestowal

of divinity

 

impenetrable

mysticism

 

theology of goddess,

animal and earth

 

reliant on

intuitive feeling

 

what an artist knows

a personal symbolism

 

excluding non-believers

alarming the uninitiated

 

the only life

she knows

 

 

 

 

The horse with a womb

the horse with a woman

who looked like a leaf

who has become a leaf

and lives inside the horse

 

the horse that ascended

and became light

the horse that remained

in the imagination

and in the earth

 

the fantastical breath

of life in the paint

the words on the page

in the books on the table

asking to be read

 

the heating’s strange roar

sucking air out of the room

an echo of echoes

a pouring out of self

shamanic voice stilled

 

a quiet voice

in the dark

of animal skin

one shaft of light

on the dark waves

 

 

 

 

the deer

licks the doe

like a lover

 

 

 

 

bird as angel

in sacred tree

 

working itself

into a state of mind

 

world shaken off

earth left behind

 

 

 

 

owl bird

feather face

dancing in a nest

of misplaced beasts

 

 

 

 

allocating

what is due

 

to the beasts

and all that grows

 

simple movement

translated as dance

 

the buzz of a bee

considered as music

 

anthropomorphism

as a way of life

 

 

© Rupert M Loydell

Rupert Loydell is a poet and painter. His Tower of Babel artist’s book-in-a-box was recently published by Like This Press. Details at www.likethispress.co.uk/publications/rupertloydell

 

Rupert Loydell is a poet, writer, artist and teacher (contact details below) who I have known for many years. Yesterday he sent me his response to my show ‘The Secret Worth A Thousand’. Here it is: THE SECRET WORTH A THOUSAND Kate Walters, Newlyn Art Gallery, January 2013.     parked in the usual road… Read more »

The panel discussion on Saturday 26th January at Newlyn Art Gallery and Laura Gascoigne’s Essay.

I was amazed and delighted at the number of people who came to the panel discussion. The quality of the attention which we as a panel received from the audience was extraordinary. Thank you so much to everyone who came along.

 

Here is the text from Laura’s beautiful piece of writing which she delivered during the morning:

Metamorphosis & Metaphor in the Art of Kate Walters

 

Talking to Kate Walters about her work, it’s interesting how often poetry crops up. Blogging about a visit we made together to The Horse exhibition at the British Museum last year, she described finding a book with a poem by Rilke in her hotel room and quoted the lines: “You run like a herd of luminous deer/and I am dark, I am forest…” Only Kate could stay in a hotel where the rooms contain books with poems by Rilke – poems with imagery so very close to her own.

Kate’s titles tend to sound like poems even when they’re not. Nothing is single if it lives takes Donne’s philosophy that no man is an island and expands it to cover the whole of creation, animal and vegetable. The title of this exhibition itself, The Secret Worth a Thousand, is taken from Goethe and relates to a theme – of man’s kinship with animals – explored in the most painted cycle of poems in history, Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Gods changed into swans, hunters transformed into deer, nymphs turned into trees… the transformations of matter described by Ovid were the images that launched a thousand Renaissance paintings. And those transformations – and the idea of the wafer thin line between ourselves and other life forms that has now been proved by the scientific discovery that we share 50% of our genes with a banana – still excites the contemporary art world, as we saw last year in the National Gallery’s Metamorphosis exhibition in which Mark Wallinger, Chris Ofili and Conrad Shawcross riffed on Titian’s paintings inspired by Ovid.

These three artists, like Titian, are of course all men. Much of the reason for the popularity of Ovid’s stories in Renaissance art was their eroticism – Zeus’s semen raining on Danae’s bed in a shower of gold was one of the most popular. But these stories of transformation have also inspired contemporary women artists like Paula Rego and Ana Maria Pacheco. One reason, perhaps, is that in the lives of mortals, rather than gods, the female sex has the monopoly on such transformations. Sitting quietly like an animal turning blood to milk, as in Kate’s painting, is something nursing mothers do on a daily basis.

Kate’s transformations, though, go back further than the nursery, and further than Ovid. The shadows of ancient civilizations flicker across her pictures: the many-breasted figure in Inmost Affinity reminds us of Diana of Ephesus, while other images in the show – such as The kiss of the womb restores the souls of the lost – have an Egyptian look. But although Kate draws inspiration from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, she never quotes. On our way round The Horse show, I pointed out a carving she might almost have made herself and she turned away as if from temptation, saying: “I mustn’t copy”.

If Kate’s imagery reminds us of ‘primitive’ art, it’s because it springs from the same ancient source: what Thomas Hardy called ‘the old association” between man and nature. As another of her titles simply states: ‘We share our flesh’. In recognizing this, Kate’s art aligns itself with a ‘primitive’ value system rejected by the modern market economy. As the American journalist Richard Heinberg has expressed it in an essay on civilization and primitivism: “As we grow accustomed to valuing everything according to money, we tend to lose a sense of the uniqueness of things. What, after all, is an animal worth, or a mountain, or a redwood tree, or an hour of human life? The market gives us a numerical answer based on scarcity and demand. To the degree that we believe that such values have meaning, we live in a world that is desacralized and desensitized, without heart or spirit.”

Heart and spirit are at the centre of Kate’s art – you could describe it as ‘sacral’ rather than ‘sacred’. As such it is heir to an imaginative tradition represented in Britain by artists like Cecil Collins, David Jones and Ken Kiff – and more recently by Francesco Clemente in Italy. (By coincidence, Clemente’s latest London show at Blain Southern which closes today includes a painting of a man and a woman within the belly of a horse.) What these so-called ‘visionary’ artists share is a poetic quality – David Jones, like William Blake, was also a poet. Poets deal in metaphors, where one thing stands for and merges into another, and metaphors are the lifeblood of Kate’s art. Women metamorphosing into deer were the stuff of poetry long before Ovid. “Thy two breasts are like young roes, that are twins, that feed among the lilies” might refer to a painting in this gallery – in fact it’s a verse from The Song of Songs.

Sacral art is the polar opposite of Pop Art. It’s slow art, slowly made for slow consumption. You could call it contemplative, except that that sounds too detached. There’s an urgency about Kate’s work that disrupts contemplation – the lap of one of her many-breasted women would not provide Matisse’s businessman with a comfortable armchair.

“When I was a little girl,” she recalled in a diary of a recent pilgrimage to Assisi, “I used to wonder whether the earth suffered when it was covered with tarmac. I had a strong sense of how alive the earth was, and I imagined it was suffocating. I never told anyone my thoughts”. Instead, as a mature artist she has made paintings that strip back the tarmac to expose the suffocating earth beneath. There’s a feeling of self-exposure about some of her work, an undercurent of outrage at our rape of nature and abuse of fertility that gives it a ragged and dangerous edge. The bloodied watercolour Mother Feeding Herself was done after reading about genital mutilation, while The Parts of Osiris she describes as “a response to all pictures of waiting women looking out to sea, putting women back in a position of power rather than weakness”. Here in Newlyn Art Gallery, you could read it as a contemporary feminine riposte to Frank Bramley’s Hopeless Dawn.

 

‘Poema’ was a word the Romans took from the Greeks; they didn’t have a word of their own. The Romans were a practical lot but the Greeks were practical about poetry, because their word ‘poema’ comes from the verb ‘poiere’, meaning to ‘make’. Poetry is a thing made, like painting, and its manufacture dictates not just its form but its consistency: its depth, tone and speed of consumption. In his Art of Poetry, Horace makes this comparison: “As in painting, so in poetry. Some works will captivate you when you stand very close to them, and others if you are at a greater distance. This one prefers a darker vantage point, that one wants to be seen in the light since it feels no terror before the penetrating judgment of the critic. This pleases once, that will give pleasure even if one goes back to it ten times over.” Kate’s poetic paintings belong in the latter category.

 

Laura Gascoigne  

 

I was amazed and delighted at the number of people who came to the panel discussion. The quality of the attention which we as a panel received from the audience was extraordinary. Thank you so much to everyone who came along.   Here is the text from Laura’s beautiful piece of writing which she delivered… Read more »

Three Points of Contact in Penzance last two days and party!

I have loved working with this group of artists! The feeling of being part of something which has such a great sense of ease and cooperation has been wonderful – and rather new.

https://vimeo.com/57599492  – link to film made during the Glasgow leg. Thanks to all the curators, Judit Bodor, Jenny Brownrigg, and Blair Todd who made it happen for all of us.

We had haggis for lunch today as it is Burn’s Night/Day.

 

I have loved working with this group of artists! The feeling of being part of something which has such a great sense of ease and cooperation has been wonderful – and rather new. https://vimeo.com/57599492  – link to film made during the Glasgow leg. Thanks to all the curators, Judit Bodor, Jenny Brownrigg, and Blair Todd… Read more »

New work at the Exchange/dark man/dreams

I have really enjoyed working at the Exchange. I am surrounded by artists, all are working on their own things. But we have so many overlapping threads, when we talk or share or collaborate if feels so natural. Mark and I found the time yesterday to record the dreams I had retrieved from my notebooks. We sat for over an hour in a quiet room, as the sun went down. It felt intense and quite emotionally charged, as I spoke about my dreams, and to a certain extent, re-lived some of them. I felt that they are alive, like little animals, with their own magical little domains.

Here is an example:

I dream of a different world. There is a class, or a meeting of people; we are by a pool in the navel of the Earth. There is deep water, the rocks are soft, there is a strong smell of roses, and many people who  are small in stature, like Siberian Steppe people. I had gone asking for a song, but instead a perfume was taught to me.

 

 

 

A dark man dream: (1996) colourful, of travel, new places, a dark man coming back for me, twice. The first time he gave me a beautiful set of golden tools decorated with flowers. the second time, in a city, he came riding a large young horse – white or black or both at the same time – with just a strap around his neck. I was with unknown female friends. He rode around us in an anti-clockwise direction. He came from a large white-ish geometric sphere I could just see in the distance. There was a vaguely sexual feeling in the dream, of doorways, new beginnings.

An eye dream(2002): A soft pink revolving eye, in a floor below. Was there for healing and penetration of this world, this reality. Good presence.

A bed dream(2002): Of being on a high bed. My mattress was on a join/seam line of one room – Earth- and on the other side of the seam was a different realm.

Boat/heart of the world dream(2003): A boat was coming, a black boat, 2 women in it, twins, old with long hair wavy and grey. They went round and round. I was in the water, the sea, someone was with me. We went underwater, we could breathe, saw light under there, the sun, could feel the earth/sea/world breathing, the heart beating. I leaned against the body of the world, I felt safe, I saw another  boat – pale, luminous – under water and an old man somewhere who took charge of the mooring of the boat above. I woke myself up when I saw the light under the water.

 

 

 

 

I have really enjoyed working at the Exchange. I am surrounded by artists, all are working on their own things. But we have so many overlapping threads, when we talk or share or collaborate if feels so natural. Mark and I found the time yesterday to record the dreams I had retrieved from my notebooks…. Read more »

Working with Three Points of Contact in Penzance at the Exchange

Today I am going to work with Mark Vernon from Glasgow    http://archive.org/details/DataForTheDoubtfulPart7TheChildrenOfToastedCheese  .

He’s going to record me speaking about some of my dreams. He’ll decide later how he will use them. It feels exciting to be using them in a more focused way, rather than as a kind of back-up for my studio work.

I have been drawing animals and birds. Emma Saffy Wilson is also working with bird imagery, we discovered yesterday!

On the beach at Porthcurno, our first outing as a group, we saw the pregnant women in a line, part of The Third Paradise Event I believe (see 51st Biennale, Venice)

Today I am going to work with Mark Vernon from Glasgow    http://archive.org/details/DataForTheDoubtfulPart7TheChildrenOfToastedCheese  . He’s going to record me speaking about some of my dreams. He’ll decide later how he will use them. It feels exciting to be using them in a more focused way, rather than as a kind of back-up for my studio work…. Read more »

when the bird comes

Birds have been coming increasingly in my work over the past six months. A white bird hovers beside the face of the horse in ‘The Eternal Feminine draws us on’, and it is a bird which holds the transfirgured, joyous figure in ‘The Feathered and the Unfeathered’.

Yesterday in my studio I think I completed a work about the great white bird coming to heal the heart.

Birds have been coming increasingly in my work over the past six months. A white bird hovers beside the face of the horse in ‘The Eternal Feminine draws us on’, and it is a bird which holds the transfirgured, joyous figure in ‘The Feathered and the Unfeathered’. Yesterday in my studio I think I completed… Read more »

Soaring, the feathered and the unfeathered.

Soaring, I have been soaring, I touch my toe to the ground, gently push, and off I fly.

 

Opening a book at random today I found writing about Rumi. It recalled almost exactly my dreams about my body, the open windows, and the flesh which is also rubies. So how did I know this? Where had it come from? The poem must have been inside me already, or is an archetypal poem perhaps. I am full of fire still, in love, seeing your face before my eyes as I walk, as we pass each other unable to speak; as I write, as I sleep.

I have already had the experience of the ruby flesh, the opening, the parting of the robes. I have been prepared. My dream life has taught me. So what is my next step? How do I explore further? How do I make known the whispers, the night visions, the visiting birds and unfeathered creatures who have befriended me?

 

 

 

Soaring, I have been soaring, I touch my toe to the ground, gently push, and off I fly.   Opening a book at random today I found writing about Rumi. It recalled almost exactly my dreams about my body, the open windows, and the flesh which is also rubies. So how did I know this?… Read more »

January 2013, new work in my studio

About a picture with a pregnant she – animal. One particular universe; the milk from the breast of Heaven provides the ladder. Wide-cupping branches of this tree, its cells full of condensed light, branches taut, held in the air, holding me tiny, breathless, pinned to it in the immensity, watching, always watching you the deer vast as space before me: in your mouth the central heart stem emerges from your crown with a shout – fluid and full of poise.

But maybe I prefer the first image? More about balance? Emptier.

 

A troop of long-tailed tits outside the window. This morning the bird song so loud that I thought the windows must be open – but they were not. The song penetrated the walls of this house, penetrated me.

About a picture with a pregnant she – animal. One particular universe; the milk from the breast of Heaven provides the ladder. Wide-cupping branches of this tree, its cells full of condensed light, branches taut, held in the air, holding me tiny, breathless, pinned to it in the immensity, watching, always watching you the deer… Read more »