Seeing both sides 2005
I have been in one way or other seeking that level of discussion ever since. After committing my time to pursuing my desire to make art, I was lucky enough to meet an artist who similarly craved discussion, and we formed a duo-didactic relationship which we continue to the benefit of both.
Conversation by the sea 2005
Being greedy, however, I always crave more: a diversity not only of input, but diversity of conversation, discussion, building and meandering dialogues which ebb and flow - and like the tide wash up diverse detritus. Of course such dialogues and discussions take time - but I keep hoping that blogs for instance will deliver more conversation.
Well, this morning I finished reading a wondrously stimulating conversation, conducted by email and skype by two artists: Simon Lewty and Susan Michie. My encounter began with a post written by Eirene on her visit to the Leamington Art Gallery re-hang. I was immediately drawn to the work The men who Lie in the Road by Simon Lewty as shown in that post.
Simon Lewty: Dartmoor, Known and Unknown 1998 (from here)
I was immediately struck by the combination of dream-like figures and shapes with handwriting. The look of a map, enticing me closer to the surface and the meaning: to see and read the story. Straightway I loved it, and wanted to know more about the artist, about whom I had previously not heard.
I found that a book is available from Black Dog Publishing: The Self as a Stranger, and so without hesitation I ordered it, and have now finished reading it. There are essays by others, but the gems are the two pieces towards the end: one an essay by Lewty himself entitled The Self as a Stranger. The pinnacle for me, however, is the dialogue at the end between Lewty and Michie. There is just so much packed into this dialogue, this exchange of emails discussing art in general as well as their art in particular that I will doubtless read and re-read it many times, pealing the layers. This is what I have craved from blogs (I probably have been looking in the wrong places, or just not looking hard enough) and has given me much to ponder while I hunker down to doing solid stitching work over the next few weeks.
I have also found a paper, Writing Silence which Lewty has written about Susan Michie's work, here. Reading this will help me to fill in the background of the other half of the dialogue. I have not been able to find many examples of Michie's work online (there is one here) apart from on here and here with Lewty.
Talking it over 2005I hope that my duodidactic friend will enjoy the book as much as I have, and we shall have so much to talk over.
Meanwhile Simon Lewty continues to generate a buzz in my brain. There is an interesting video of him talking about his approach to making work on the Art First site. And here is a quote from that dialogue with Michie:
Whatever it was, that 'something' that led me to become an artist and still makes me persevere year in and year out, in what ... is an incredibly private journey and a very limited lifestyle, was not I think primarily fame or big money or celebrity. No, I think what drew me was a kind of magic, and I just knew I didn't want to do anything else. It was the magic in art, and making that magic that fascinated me, not the thought of being a magician.
I find that so affirming: it's the making, not the being that matters.