Friday, December 4, 2009

Gains and Losses

Gains and Losses, 2006

Sometimes I create work that is a departure from what has gone before it. I never stop to question if I should pursue these ideas because I've learned to trust my instincts. It's also important to recognize what these departures mean in the context of your larger body of work. Gains and Losses represents a number of firsts for me in terms of technique and content considerations.


obvious layering
utilizing floating patterning
forays into image transfers
use of elaborately printed papers and gold paint
change in colour scheme to rich browns and golds.

I had just returned from a long holiday in Italy and was influenced by everything I had seen. The colours of Italy remain with me even now and they obviously had an impact on the overall look and feel of this piece.

lavish gardens,
churches and art museums,
brocades, gilt, velvet, Venetian glass
ochres, rich browns, gold, copper and brass
history nodding to you at every twist and turn
producing a deep sense of how the world came to be
wondering how my world fits with this older, more exotic one.

In 2006 I was reading widely about the history of floral imagery in art, beauty and the passage of time. All have impacted this work. I chose to use split images to physically represent the passage of time . The left is much more focused and vivid than the right. I was going for lushness and that eventual slide into decay, again a reflection of the passage of time. The figure represents a time in the lives of women when independence and choice where almost non-existent. This was a lady of means who could afford to primp and beautify to please . Fresh flowers adorned her dress creating parallel representations of beauty caught at one moment in time but neither can defy the inevitable toll that time takes.

observing me through history
calling attention to fleeting beauty
questioning efforts to control the passage of time
wondering what women have gained and lost in the pursuit of beauty

And what does all this have to do with pattern and decoration you might ask?
The patterning and decoration help me establish a point in time and build a suitable environment in which to pose my visual questions.


hwfarber said...

I think I might have gotten it. If the woman were Twiggy and the pattern from Eames upholstery, "Gains and Losses" could have been about the 60's. Your choices pinpoint a much earlier time; by using them, you share your feelings of history and colors when you visited Italy.

I'm not sure I'm even close. I'll keep reading.

-Don said...

Throughout history traveling artists allowed the artwork, architecture, style and light of the lands they had visited to influence their work. It is a major part of the evolution of art thru history and I'm glad it is a major part of the evolution of you as an artist. Thank you for sharing your influences, techniques and inspirations.


Kathy said...

Nice analysis, Margaret. Technique ... Inspiration ...Content. Did these three occur in that order when you began the work? I ask because it would seem that inspiration would be followed by content, and then you'd selectd a technique that best suits the content. I'm really curious to know more about your process, and like the way you presented it here.

Margaret Ryall said...

Of course you're close. My head was steeped in history when I began this piece. I was thinking way back to make the point that really not much has changed where women and the eternal quest for beauty is concerned.

When you travel you can't help absorb what is around you. I never create any actual art work while I travel. I don't even sketch -just take photographs and keep a journal of random thoughts that I date and then use my photographs to coincide with the dates when I need to remember the "actuals."

This was not the order in which the ideas came. I put technique first to connect with my statement that this work contained a lot of firsts. The firsts were mostly new techniques- ways of working. The ideas came from the art I saw, the books I read and the observation of the many changes that in my own body around that time. Every magazine you pick up and show you watch on TV bombards you with ways you can stay young. It's endless.

layers said...

I think an artist needs to step outside comfort zones and experiment at times-- especially if they have been on a trip--you never know what will 'land' back in your own work

Margaret Ryall said...

Agreed. I can't wait to see what comes from your recent visit to Japan. Such a rich culture and special place for inspiration.

Patrice said...

I've never been able to hold myself to constant repetition. That's why I tend to work in series that - when played out, either temporarily or permanently - just allow me to move on, experiment, take another path.

Too often artists are held to one style due the marketing concerns of galleries and even of collectors. Here online we can market our myriad selves.

Great post, as ever!

The Artist Within Us said...

If I were not so very tired I would be able to pull together a meaningful remark, but the road trip has me like a fish out of water and I won't be back for another few more days.

When I look at your artwork and that of a few others, I feel I have so much catching up to do, but then I also need to find the time in which mind and body are one, in harmony with the muse . . .

Traveling offers us new influences which we take home with us. Over time we adopt these to our own language in small ways, evolving and merging cultures, bridging differences into a blend of a new identity.

Thank you for sharing and all the best this holiday season,