I did promise to tell you about the art showing that my sister and I attended a few weeks ago, but with all the excitement that had happened (fire in the kitchen etc) I nearly forgot about it.
In an earlier posting I mentioned meeting the two young people a man dressed in black and his female companion dressed in ghostly white. And I was able to determine that they were Goth, and it seems we both knew mutual friends in the art community.
And with that we were invited to her opening.
It was located in a warehouse area that a number of artists use to build large installations, I asked her if she owned the building and she said no that it was owned by a friend who allowed for her works to be shown.
They were oil paintings each mounted on their own white support with white gauzy cloth behind them, the walls and ceiling of the warehouse was also painted white but the lighting was set up to show the paintings and for us to not be detracted by the building, even the floor was painted white.
Her works were very ethereal, in the palest of shades, some shades were warm or cold, as if it were snow, or the palest depths of water, or warm smoke or clouds, and it appeared as if objects or people were emerging from the canvas, without using any heavy layering, in one I thought I could barely see the image of a house, an old house but elusive to capture, the word that came to mind was “Brigadoon”; I determined it was some sort of effect with the use of iridescence materials. Each painting seemed to be telling a story but only the viewer could put their own interpretation on it.
In another painting I felt as if someone just barely outside of my vision was beckoning me to enter the painting. In another one could just make out the image of a female body under a sort of waterfall, like a nymph.
There were others all ghostly and elusive; she told me that she was in her “white” period like Picasso had his “blue” period of painting, Anthena, the artist said that she goes through periods or moods of color in painting, for a while she was working in shades of gray, blue and plum, another time in greens and browns.
Beside her paintings, her boyfriend, Randolph works in clay and had a number of sculptures all worked in white clay with a matt glaze with some high glaze highlights, all very simplistic and stylized but not harsh, one of a female figure dancing and holding hands with two small figures suggested a mother and children but done without hard edges. All of these were displayed upon white round pedestals.
Which sort of eventually put me off balance, the glasses were clear, only white wine was served and the type of wine that needs to be chilled to get the maximum of flavor, the plates, napkins, were white with the only bit of color from the bits of food being served on white trays by several people wearing white full face masks, white clothing and vests and white gloves without a speck of flesh showing, all so very ghostly. Anthena was again wearing white while Randolph was in black it seemed as if she would merge with the walls and paintings while Randolph was a black ink spot among all the whiteness. With the exception of the colors of clothing worn by the people who came to the opening.
Music was being played on a sound system but not really music more like Tibetan bells, softly tinkling, and bird song nothing intrusive but more as background so that people for some reason would talk softly and indeed people who were talking loudly before they entered the showing suddenly lowered their voices.
Although her paintings and his sculptures were beautiful they would not fit in my home, but my sister took a liking to one of her paintings that suggested a ghostly forest and path with flowers all covered with a mist. Sis felt that it would fit very well with what she had in mind for her living room in her newly purchased house, on that painting I could agree, for it felt like it was the only “friendly” painting in the showing, so Sis bought it.
I know using the word “friendly” may seem strange but that was the only way to describe that particular work. The others, well I can only say is that they “frightened” me, as if I did not want to stay with them for too long.
Randolph’s sculptures were relaxing and very modern in many ways but I was not attracted to many of them except two, the first that I described as a mother dancing with her children and another where 4 figures two adults, a man and woman and two small figures children seemed to be affectionately hugging each other, I could almost sense a smile on each of the figures, my sister also took a liking to them and also bought both sets of figures. Both sculptures were not over 18 inches tall and would be stand alones once my sister could determine how she was going to decorate her home, although I had a fairly good idea from her notes that she showed me.
Eventually I had to turn my back on all that “whiteness,” and I zeroed in on a darkish corner that offered a respite to my senses. Randolph approached me and asked if I was well, and I said that I was a bit tired since I was still recovering from my accident. He found a free chair (also in white) so I could rest and we talked about his works and hers. He was very happy not only had my sister purchases a few items but other works were selling as well, so he considered the showing a success.
I was surprised that the works would sell so quickly and he said usually they would be in a gallery for several months, but those that didn’t sell this weekend were going to a gallery in Los Angeles. It was an arrangement they had made with a friend who owns that particular gallery and was up here for the opening. Randolph said that for some reason both he and Anthena felt that they would sell quickly with this opening, to use his words “They just seem to vibrate out to people” and yes I could sense that, but not everyone.
I noticed that Anthena in her languid way of walking and my sister were coming over to join us. Anthena appeared to be quietly animated mentioning that several works were sold already, and that there appeared to be a slight bidding war over several others which their art gallery friend was conducting. I congratulated her on her success, and she said that it made her happy, her other works have sold but more slowly, so to her she felt that it was a sign that the economy was improving.
Then she invited my sister and I, to her workshop which is in another part of town as well as coming over to her and Randolph’s home for lunch both at future dates, which my sister and I accepted. I did ask her if it were possible to bring Doyle and Randolph said the more the better, it seems that he is the cook in that household. “I love to cook” he said “But Anthena has dietary restrictions, so when I cook I take it to our neighbors homes, that way I can have my portion and cook enough for others, it isn’t fun just to cook for one” he remarked.
Sis asked if his neighbors were surprised by his largess and he said no, “I choose a different neighbor every other day, and then I call them or drop by and ask if they’d like me to prepare them something and especially with some of our neighbors who have children it’s a relief for them.”
He said that they repay his cooking efforts with help with some work on the property or taking them to the airport or train depot when they are going to travel out of the area.
“Of late” he said “We’ve been traveling by train, so Anthena can take her painting equipment and her camera, some times she sees something while we’re traveling and takes a picture of it and somehow works it into her paintings, can’t do that on a plane.”
“Train travel is more relaxing for me” she said “but there are times when we just decide to throw things into the car and just go. We let our neighbors know we’ll be gone and they’ll collect our mail, water things and keep an eye on our place, it works out very well.”
By this time more people were arriving so Sis and I decided it was time to leave and Sis made arrangements to have Randolph drop off the works after the showing which I though would be a few weeks but was surprised when he said that it was only for that weekend and he could bring them by in a couple of days in the evening.
As Sis and I were driving home I said to Sis that I was surprised that the showing was only for just two days and then being packed up to move to L.A. “All that work in that warehouse, all that preparation for just one opening night and two days?” that puzzled me, but Sis had talked to the art Gallery friend and was going to do the exact same thing in its L.A. opening so it could have been a “dry run” to see how well that worked.
“Too well” I remarked and told her how I felt off-balanced by it, she asked me how I was feeling as we were going home and I said “relaxed unless that’s the wine” but she told me that was the effect that they were going for, a sort of hypnotic relaxation, she was wondering if they were using a form of hypnosis, if by using the depriving of color that it was working much like those depravedation chambers but in a more subtle way.
I asked her what were her thoughts and she said that she felt that it might help some people relax enough to help them get to a mood where they could look into themselves to find the causes of their fears or neuroses, but she also felt that too much white would be too much and could cause a severe imbalance and create greater harm. But she thought she could apply some of those principals to decorating her home for her work, a relaxing mood stress reduction environment.
“Perhaps using fish ponds, Tibetan bells and bird songs, who knows, but now I’ve seen it applied in full force, I wonder what their house and their workshop are like.” I could only agree with my sisters’ assessment and wonder myself.