Monthly Archives: July 2014

Reading The Open by Giorgio Agamben….and excited about drawings going to Colorado

Really enjoying The Open by Agamben, thinking I must go to Milan to see the miniatures he describes. Wondering how is it that I make the work I do, knowing nothing about this writing, this thinking, and the two are so close in so many ways?

Then remembering my childhood and the animal world I would slip into to hide from the human one. How confusion and difficulty prompted this diving away then, but I was shown a path which helps me so much now.

Last night I had a dream about dreaming, and about how dreams can help us find the place to slip between worlds, which is where animals live, and is what I see in their eyes. They know their soul families, we look for ours.

The dream also contained a messenger (a shaman who taught me, who I used to work with) telling me about the drawings I can make for others, about their dreams, and how these can be healing for the recipients.

Here are the pictures which have been selected to travel to Colorado, to The Clara Hatton Gallery, in September…

sitting quietly like an animal, turning blood to milk

sitting quietly like an animal, turning blood to milk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    This work ‘Refined through Breath’ explores the refinement of vision which can occur through breath-sharing, breathing as a horse, re-entering the womb we share in order to gain clarity and a purity of vision

A dream of horses.. giving me a higher place to see from

A dream of horses.. giving me a higher place to see from

I touch my throat, the place you enter

I touch my throat, the place you enter

 

Really enjoying The Open by Agamben, thinking I must go to Milan to see the miniatures he describes. Wondering how is it that I make the work I do, knowing nothing about this writing, this thinking, and the two are so close in so many ways? Then remembering my childhood and the animal world I… Read more »

London, and afterwards…looking forwards to Edinburgh….

After a long hot coach journey to Victoria I stepped onto the pavement with my four bags and wondered how I was going to manage to reach Islington. I had my handbag, my rucksack (with clothes for the forecast storms), my portfolio with mounted unframed work and perspex for monotype-making, and my wheeled suitcase full of materials, banner, stall covering, cards and catalogues.( I had a dream last night that even my portfolio had wheel). It was very hot. so I walked a few steps, then stopped, then walked a few more. I was grateful I’d been going to the gym regularly to give me strong arms.

Two police officers helped me at Victoria British Rail but they stopped at the entrance to the tube, and the staf there told me they didn’t help with luggage, and there as no lift. Getting down the escalators wasn’t much fun. At Caledonian Road it as very hot and cabs were a rare species. I finally managed to wave one down and reached Hungerford Road with a very sweaty back.

A game of badminton in the garden oasis seemed a good idea so that was what we did, until dusk and the sky and my skin appeared yellow as the storm gathered above. Early the next morning the skies danced and sung, and awoke me early. I was on my way to Old Street tube, and then to putting up my stall, and the rain was holding off.

Sitting at my stall at A Fete Worse Than Death, July 19th, Rivington St.

Sitting at my stall at A Fete Worse Than Death, July 19th, Rivington St.

I strung Tibetan prayer flags behind me, and a  hoop I’d made of wood from a local Cornish wood, above me., as well as two little sculptures I’d made, to remind me of who I was… I also had works from dreams of mine, and examples of monotypes. I set about making anew work, from a dream of my parents who were strapped to oar blades, and I was trying to row, but the oar blades were sunk very deep into the water and it took a great effort from me to raise them to the surface, but I did manage to.

2014-07-20 15.47.50

 

I made two dreams of visitors dreams, which was fewer than I thought I’d make, but they were two very fine dreams and I was pleased to be able to work with them, and I was pleased with the drawings I made, although in both cases I needed two attempts to get to the heart of the dream with the drawing.

The Fête itself was great – here are some photos…

2014-07-20 16.07.24      2014-07-20 16.00.50 2014-07-20 19.14.17

 

Some friends came along which great, and students from long ago as well as from recent courses.

Now I’m home and preparing works to go to Edinburgh: measuring, titling, wrapping, framing, pricing… and finishing four pieces too, and trying to get in a quick swim each day the sun is shining…

and best morning joy is walking on the garden grass with bare feet, and eating my breakfast, communing with the plants which are all almost bursting with life….

 

After a long hot coach journey to Victoria I stepped onto the pavement with my four bags and wondered how I was going to manage to reach Islington. I had my handbag, my rucksack (with clothes for the forecast storms), my portfolio with mounted unframed work and perspex for monotype-making, and my wheeled suitcase full… Read more »

Dreams and Memories drawing workshop at St Ives School of Painting, July 2014…

This workshop, which finishes today, has been a full and intense experience. We’ve worked with dreams, memories, the breath, bodily impulses, the intuition and shamanic walking. A group of eight has come together as one animal, or a flock of birds, to produce something memorable and fine.

I have used my drum to help with drawing out memories, and also to enable participants to make contact with ancestral voices and images.

Here are some photos of students working, and their drawings.

2014-07-10 16.31.26     2014-07-10 16.30.08 2014-07-10 16.28.32     2014-07-10 16.29.09 2014-07-10 16.28.57     2014-07-10 16.31.15

This workshop, which finishes today, has been a full and intense experience. We’ve worked with dreams, memories, the breath, bodily impulses, the intuition and shamanic walking. A group of eight has come together as one animal, or a flock of birds, to produce something memorable and fine. I have used my drum to help with… Read more »

New essay on my work by Professor Alan Bleakley

Poet and Professor Alan Bleakley has written a wonderful essay on my work. I am very moved by his words, and grateful to him for reflecting on my work so deeply.

Kate Walters’ Bodies Without Organs

 

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari describe a difference between smooth and striated space. Striated space is settled or territorialized, delineated, conquered, mapped, articulated. Smooth space is territory for nomads – moved through and lived with but neither exploited nor conquered. The shifting desert traversed like a sidewinder, tracks soon blown over; the snowscape bleaching into a glaucous grey sky on which human nomads are small tears in a fabric soon repaired after their sapping journey. The journey itself is mapped in advance by the ice-threaded treads of animals and the tracks of their collective breath left as low clouds. In contrast are the tent pegs of conquerors turned into foundations over which concrete is poured and steel and glass bodies rise. Shift these metaphors to the body and a body that is mapped, territorialized, conquered, is a body with organs. A body as organ systems is articulated and in pieces – the vascular system, muscle, bone, the autonomic and central nervous systems, the lymph system, the reproductive system, the digestive system

 

But take away the skin – the largest organ of the body – and look without articulation, seeing the body-without-organs, and you see a lake, weather, tenderness, a breeze, a growing bruise, a wheatfield in motion, relaxation, stricture, pulse, whispers and cries. You see the processes of alchemy – burning substances to dry embers, coagulation, dissolution, salting of fertile ground, the emergence of the blues of bruising, the yellowing of the white as something goes off, the stink of putrefaction, and the glorious swelling of the peacock’s tail as layered rainbows on green silk. Strip away the organs and grasp the body in eye contact – again, in contact – and what you take in is a smear, an approximation, a trace, a ghost, but a whole and not its parts. This is the process of painting as if an animal, as an animal, or as humanimal.

 

Kate Walters deals in traces, animal spoor and doubles merging in a way that brings you back to the body-without-organs, the existence of the nomad, the spittle on a plant that burns off in the early sun. Dyads, interiors and fusions pervade her work, as does mystery. But the overriding sense is one of delicacy, of soft footfall, of leaving little trace, despite the strength of colour, often as dark as tar. This is not to suggest that the work is slight – far from it, the big themes of birth, transgression and containment run through the body of work, but they seem to wear their burdens lightly. And the body of the work resists tethering. This is because of Kate’s idiosyncratic use of containment – one body in another, animal-in-human, human-in-animal, human-in-human and animal-in-animal, suggesting not birth but protection, hibernation, involvement and involution. But a sense of contamination lurks beyond this. Containment may lead to infection, the seeds of which lurk in the borders of her work.

 

In a watercolour ‘Little Wing’ (also known as My Brother the Bird) a woman is simultaneously descending from the dark foliage of a tree and ascending to become that foliage which is also a spreading wing, a fan, likely to draw her away. But her feet are rooted in a birth caul that is also a transparent and dislocated trunk of a tree whose flowering head is a black bird, its wings clipped. The bird looks stumped. The woman looks stumped. They seem locked, but paradoxically there is no struggle. A strange sense of stasis and then transparency sit side by side as time standing still is stitched into the work, and the blacks bleach out as the eye scans. In alchemical terms, the nigredo, or darkness, is haunted by the rubedo or reddening – the bringing of lifeblood, which the spirit woman seems to crave.

 

Kate’s own title of her work ‘Generative Absence’ sums up the body-without-organs, the gentle cuff that keeps you awake but neither hurts nor insults, so that you remain suspended between sleep and waking in a world that is complete in itself, without echoes. Earlier work has a regular motif of animal-human enantiodromia where animal and human are poised as likely to turn into the Other. This is played out within tight borders and tar-dark backgrounds, as if within a cave. This world of pitch, paradoxically stripped of its stickiness, is like a drumhead, taught. And itself is pasted on a containing world of colour, as figure and ground. Madonna with Serpent is set in this umbrous underworld that remains placid but carries a lingering threat. The Madonna has snakes for arms and they seem content with their tar-dark world. Newer work has broken out of this more sombre frame to celebrate rising figures carrying promise, zest and oxygenation rather than compact and dark soil. ‘Shepherd with Goat Woman’ shows the realization of the marriage that produces the humanimal, the goat herder looking on in approval as the human loses the desire to stand upright and wills herself into the four-legged world.

 

 

Alan Bleakley 03/07/2014

Professor of Medical Humanities Falmouth University

 

Generative Absence

  Generative Absence   

Little Wing, or, Mr Brother the Bird

Little Wing, or, My Brother the Bird

 

Poet and Professor Alan Bleakley has written a wonderful essay on my work. I am very moved by his words, and grateful to him for reflecting on my work so deeply. Kate Walters’ Bodies Without Organs   Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari describe a difference between smooth and striated space. Striated space is settled or… Read more »