Archive | May, 2010

Artist Bytes: The Art of Patricia Goodrich

26 May

Patricia Goodrich

It is my great pleasure to publish the first Artist Bytes Profile on my friend and fellow artist, Patricia Goodrich from the USA.  We first met in May 2009 during the 2nd Spring Festival for the Visual Arts: Art, Storks and Nature in Rabat-Sale Morocco and became reacquainted in March 2010 during the 8th International Women’s Festival: Art and Development in Asillah, Morocco. She is a published poet and multidisciplinary artist, who makes sculptures, paintings and mixed media installations. From the 14-24th August the Inirii Museum in Alba Iulia, Romania will present a solo exhibition of her work titled Art Beyond Borders that is sponsored by the Romanian Inter-Art Foundation . The Virtual Artist’s Collective published a book of her poetry titled Red Mud in 2009, and will release another book On the line of the Orient Express around fall this year.

Patricia is a perfect example of the itinerant artist. In the last few years her  art has taken her on expeditions throughout the USA, Europe, and Africa. I imagine her artworks to be pinpoints on a map of the world,  that enable us to follow the trails of Patricia’s expansive artistic career.  The  artist often uses materials found on location and she has an intuitive understanding of the way that landscape shapes and defines our experience of place. Whether it be the  traced  lines of paint and pigment on canvas; the carved organic forms made from wood, salt, stone or steel; recorded voices of international artists on cassette tapes for her Voices Underground Audio Project; or the words and rhythms of her poetry, all of her creative works follow the contours of the landscape and capture a moment in which the artist engaged with, and attempted to become a part of, her immediate environment.

If any one person can demonstrate the benefit of intercultural exchange and involvement in artist’s workshops and conferences, it would be Patricia. Through constant exposure to the perspectives of diverse International artists, cultures and countries, she has shaped a unique perception of the world through her art and established herself a home within a global artistic community.

The following piece of writing  provides an insight into one of the artist’s festival experiences.

View of Asillah Morocco

Shifting Sands: Morocco’s Creative Women Festival
Written by Patricia Goodrich

Two months have passed since the Festival of Creative Women: Art & Development in Asillah, Morocco, and here in the USA I feel its influence almost daily.  Last night I opened an email from Fatima, a painter whose vibrant colors reached from her clothing right into her art works, a woman with whom I shared a circle of conversation and fresh brewed tea along the sea near the walls of the old city medina.

Patricia and Fatima

This was a conference/exhibition where time was available to become acquainted, to laugh, and to communicate in the universal language of art stitched together with French, Arabic, Berber, English, and a good measure of gestures.  Sufi music, couture fashion, meeting the Princess Charifa Lalla Oum Keltoum, walks through the winding medina streets and along the sea, the warm hospitality of our hosts— all were there.  And still with me here, as I search out possibilities for the craftswomen to exhibit their works here, a desert and ocean away.

Patricia with Mina Boutoutla, President of the Artisans Cooperative in the North Atlas mountains and Asass Khan.

Sufi Musicians

The work I chose to exhibit, two abstract paintings from my Rivers Without Boundaries series, another titled The Fire Within, and  Almost Perfect, an egg-shaped jadeite sculpture, were influenced in part by my misconception that figurative work should be avoided in Morocco, a largely Islamic country. Yet when I arrived at the festival, I found the women were creating portraits, landscape, abstract works, often incorporating cultural symbols and colors into canvases, graphics, and even into traditionally woven fabrics, rugs and blankets.  Yet, my own selections did reflect the festival: art pushing beyond boundaries, created from an inner spirit and passion, celebrating the imperfection of what it is to be human.

Patricia Goodrich, Rivers Without Boundaries (one of a series), acrylic on canvas, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Patricia Goodrich, Almost Perfect, polished jadeite stone, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The festival, founded eight years ago by Wafaa el Houdaybi and supported by the Association of Contemporary Artists with the patronage of the Princess, benefits not only the women painters, sculptors, and crafts artists, it inspires and informs non-Moroccan artists like me through the connections we make and by erasing preconceptions of what it is to be a Muslim woman creating art.  The Festival also promotes connection and economic development among the Moroccan artists.  For instance, two of the crafts artists represented a cooperative of women weavers from the Atlas Mountains and another woman and her husband brought their hand-woven fabrics used for finest quality traditional garments. Joining the company of the Moroccan artists were also dynamic artists Kim Goldsmith from Australia and Natasha Novak from Slovenia.  We were four continents drawn together!

Natasha Novak, Kim Goldsmith, Wafaa El Houdaybi and Patricia Goodrich

Married couple Hamzaoui Aycha and Ole Bzou presenting their silk woven fabrics.

Yet, men were not excluded.  In fact, their participation was integral to the conference and its influence on me. Knowledgeable, progressive men from Egypt, the Emirates, and Morocco spoke about the origin and influence of Berber language and the bridge between traditional and modern architecture.  Art critics reviewed the exhibitions. More, they interacted with conference participants over long conversations, shared meals, and much drinking of mint tea.

Patricia with exhibition guests at King Mohammed's palace in Asillah

This Festival reminded me we are grains of sand shifting in a common desert, waves in the same ocean. How grateful I am to share this world of arts and artists and appreciators of it all.

Morrocan artists and craftspeople with Patricia in the gallery, Asillah

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The 18th European Artists Symposium “Art and Intercultural Dialogue” 11th – 24th of April 2010 Haus am Turm Werden-Essen Germany

21 May

View of Werden-Essen Germany

Haus am Turm Werden

I have been to a few International artist workshops since 2008, and I can say so far there are three major benefits. First, the provision of space, time and art equipment provides an opportunity for the artist to experiment with ideas and to make new work. Second, in conjunction with the workshop there is usually almost always an exhibition coordinated by the host organization in which, the artists present the work they produce during the workshop without the overhead costs of installation and gallery rental. Third, what I consider to be the most important and interesting part of the workshop experience is the opportunity to work alongside a variety of artists from different nationalities and stages in their career, and with whom you can establish a network of friends. The last point is the most important for myself as an artist, because for most of the year I am working in isolation in my home, so the workshop enables me to observe other artists approach to their practice, but also to engage in lively discussion about art, and life in general, not to mention having lots of fun!

Scottish artist Sigrid Shone

Japanese artist Norio Takaoka

The 18th European Artists Symposium “Art and Intercultural Dialogue” was described by many of the participating artists as the best workshop they had been to for a long time, because of the interesting and friendly group of artists invited to attend. I would say that the workshop was very successful, because it included the three benefits mentioned above, and was a very well organized event, thanks to Karola Teschler, Simone Ramshorn and the rest of the European Artists ev. Management team.

Saudi Arabian artist Ola Hejazi

President of the Omani Society for Fine Arts Maryam Al-Zadjali

The workshop was located in Haus am Turm on a mountain in Werden-Essen, overlooking the city and river. The artists invited included current members of the European Artists e.v. from European countries such as Germany, Poland, and Italy, and also new members from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, France and myself as an Australian/European National. The artists primarily created paintings for the duration of the symposium, but a few artists including Brunivo Buttarelli and Rudi Punzo, and Fulvio Colangelo created sculpture, photography and performance art.

The artists worked for nearly two weeks in the shared studio spaces, and in the evenings presented slide shows or videos of their practice to the group. There were two excursions to visits museums in Dusseldorf and Essen.

Rudi Punzo designed experimental instruments and insects that were used to create organic musical performances. His insect pieces were displayed in a public park just outside of Werden. On the final evening of the exhibition he gave a live performance.

Insect installation by Italian artist Rudi Punzo

The group of artists from Essen Symposium

Ralf Klement, an artist from Germany, is a sculptor who uses a chainsaw to carve giant carrots, vegetables and ordinary domestic appliances. He coordinated a special workshop for children, in which they would draw a portrait of several artists in the symposium, and then Ralph would carve a giant wooden version later painted by the children. This was a very popular activity and was a nice link between the artists and the children.

The resulting artwork from the Symposium is now on exhibition in several locations. The opening of the exhibition was in Haus am Turm, and then the work moved on to its current location in Mulhausen, Germany (details in my previous post or check out the European Artists e.v. link on my blog).

Ralf Klement's sculptures from the children's workshop

Italian artist Fulvio Colangelo and his two portraits

The highlight of the workshop from my personal experience was the group of artists and the friendships and sense of fun that developed over the course of the two weeks. It was an intense experience, to live, eat and work with the same group of artists for that length of time. Yet, this is what made the experience so rewarding, as I gained an insight into the methodology, process and approach that each artist pursues to produce their work. I learned a lot about my own work through discussion and the observations of other artists, particularly from the Arabic artists in my studio space. I discovered how the personal and cultural identity of an artist might influence the approach and concept for an artwork.

Not having to cook, or clean for two weeks, and sleeping one minute from my studio, allowed me plenty of time to experiment with concepts for new work that I had not explored at home. At the end of the workshop I came away with plenty of new ideas for artworks and approaches, as well as many new friends I hope to see at future workshops.

Maryam Al-Zadjali, Kim Goldsmith and Ola Hejazi in the studio

In the upcoming blog posts, I intend to include profiles of artists involved in the Symposium.

International Exhibition of Artists from Four Continents and Art 20: Small Works for Big Impact Exhibition

13 May

At the moment there are two exhibitions that you should all see:

International Exhibition of Artists from Four Continents, Galerie O.T. des KunstwestThuringer e.v. Dr Wilhelm Kulz Strasse 20, Mulhausen, Germany.

The exhibition runs until the 4th of June, 2010, Monday – Thursday, 9am-4pm.

The exhibition showcases paintings and sculpture made by artists who participated in the 18th European Artists Symposia “Art and Intercultural Dialogue” in Essen, Germany in April this year. Most of the artists are members of the European Artists e.v. an artists organisation based in Germany. I will write further about the Symposia in upcoming posts.

The second exhibition Art 20: Small Works for Big Impact, is a touring exhibition that includes paintings 20x20cm by artists from the European Artists e.v. It includes 350 artworks made by 120 artists from 31 lands.The money raised by the sale of these paintings will go towards a project in Kenya.

The exhibition will tour across Europe and beyond, but for now it is set up in Haus der Kirche, Kristianplatz 1, Mulhausen Germany. The exhibition ends on the 3rd of June, but on Friday the 4th of June the fundraiser auction will be held. Please check out the work and make a purchase to support a worthy cause.

More information about the organisation and exhibition can be found at  www.europeanartistsev.de/

Artist Bytes

13 May

Artist Bytes will be a short post that profiles artists that I meet on my travels. If you are interested in being interviewed or profiled on my blog, post a comment on my page and I will be in touch.

Artist Bytes: Textile paintings by Kim Goldsmith

13 May

Currently I am working on a series of paintings inspired by the many vibrant woven rugs and tapestries I saw on my travels in Morocco in 2009-10. The patterns and imagery for the paintings use personal symbolism, but the memory of the Moroccan fabrics is suggested in the unusual combination of colour.

I am interested in the possibility of evoking the sense of touch in the viewer. I treat the canvas as a three-dimensional object-in-space and intend to emphasise the characteristics of form, colour and texture that allude to the fabric’s object-hood, rather than create an illusionistic image of a textile.

The idea that I can confuse the sensory perception of the audience becomes a constant stimulus for my work. In the past I have experimented with forms and glazes that make porcelain  look and feel like some other material, such as plastic or flesh. In my Shelf Life Series of 2008 I attempted to trigger childhood memories of plastic toys by developing a specific glaze for my porcelain objects (for images check out my link www.noise.net/spoonfeeder).

My background as a ceramic artist is now influencing the form and approach of my painting practice. The ultimate aim for my series of Textile paintings is to move the imagery beyond the surface of the canvas and create something that lies between sculpture and painting.

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Arab-mediterranean “Art and Development” International Women’s Day Festival, 15th-19th March, 2010, Assilah, Morocco.

6 May

Between the 15th – 19th of March, 2010 I was invited to Assilah, Morocco to participate in the 8th Arab-Mediterranean “Art and Development” International Women’s Day Festival.The exhibition and festival was located in the Centre Hassan II des Recontres Internationale, situated in the heart of the five hundred year old Spanish Medina, near the mouth of the sea port. The festival coincides each year with International Women’s Day and is organised by the artist Wafaa El Houdaybi who is the President of L’Association Marocaine des Créatrices Contemporarines. The festival was opened by the honorary President of the association Acharifa Lalla Oum Keltoum Alaoui, in addition to government officials and ambassadors from many Arabic nations.

Centre Hassan Recontres II

The emphasis of the festival was to support and promote the artistic skills of  rural and urban women in the Arab-Mediterranean nations. The L’Association Marocaine des Créatrices Contemporarines created the festival to showcase the achievements of women and to encourage the artists to sell they artistic products nationally and internationally as an independent means of income.

Eighteen female artists were selected from Morocco for the exhibition, and ten from Australia, Japan, Palestine, Egypt, USA, Slovenia, Libya, Argentina, and Italy. The exhibition included a variety of paintings, and sculptural works, some of which were produced on location during the festival, all encompassing the different views of women.

Some focused on Islamic tradition and the world of women behind the veil, such as Palestinian artist Abouhassan Samira who exhibited a portrait of her sister in traditional dress. Other works were deeply rooted in spiritual and religious beliefs of the universe, such as the paintings of Wafaa El Houda.

The Slovenian artist, Natasha Novak, presented a series titled Korant Children which is based on the masks worn during a festival that is meant to scare off the winter. Natasha explained to me that the Korant masks are only worn by men during the festival. She imagined the children of these ghoulish Korant characters, and portrayed them in her haunting series.

Natasha Novak and her Korant Children

Natasha Novak, Korant Children Series, acrylic on board, 2010.

The American artist, Patricia Goodrich, presented a series of abstract landscape paintings based on map patterns, and one of her signature river stone sculptures polished by hand.

Patricia Goodrich

I exhibited paintings that used personal symbolism to express my response to my dislocation from Australia and relocation to Germany. Refuge Nest, was a site specific sculpture that I created from fishing nets, mosaic tiles, blue thread and eggs found in Assilah. The nest provides a temporary home or refuge where I can connect to the people, culture and environment of a foreign place.

Kim Goldsmith

Refuge Nest Outdoor Installation, mixed media, 2010.

Alongside the exhibition, women from the Sahara Desert near Mauritania, were selling their silk and wool woven rugs, cushions and blankets. The group travel across Morocco every year with their wares to make an income during the festival. Two video artists, Margarita Manev and Paco F. Parado, collaborated during the festival by showcasing a video of the Moroccan women rug making. The duo video document art and craft traditions of women in indigenous, nomadic, or remote communities as a means to promote awareness and support of women who may suffer inequality.

To coincide with the exhibition, there were a series of musical performances during the evening at Centre Hassan. Group Rayula and Cordatum is an instrumental group from Germany and Switzerland that performed a repertoire of fourteenth century Italian love songs the origins of which lie in occidental musical practice. Group Al Houda and ensemble Al Jazouli, on separate occasions, performed Sufi music for the festival guests. The highlight of the evening activities was a fashion show of traditional Moroccan Kaftans, Introduced by Safae Melihi.

Three women artists creating together.

The most obvious benefit of the festival, from my perspective, was the connections that were created between women of differing religious and cultural backgrounds. By sharing the exhibition space with the rug weavers, I learned a lot about the traditions of Moroccan women.  I discovered many small things that I would never read in a book, like  how to use a twig from a bush in the Sahara to brush my teeth! On a broader level, I found that women artists share a common bond through the language of their art and craft, and this is something that disintegrates any cultural boundaries. I didn’t speak any French, Spanish or Arabic yet through my art I was able to share my own perspective. The friendships, and mutual respect for each others creative efforts, were the most valuable rewards I gained from my participation in this festival.

Press:

If you can read French, check out these links which include information about the festival, in particular, Margharita and Paco’s video project in Asilah, supported by the Goethe Institut.

http://www.lesoir-echos.com/2010/03/15/exposition-le-tapis-numerique-a-assilah/

http://www.telquel-online.com/415/agenda_415.shtml

http://www.aufaitmaroc.com/loisirs/culture/2010/3/10/un-tapis-digital-pour-tisser-le-dialogue-entre-culture-marocaine-et-art-numerique

http://www.diariocalledeagua.com/noticias_detalle.asp?id=2432&c=1

http://www.visitetanger.com/index.php?option=com_regioncrtcontent&id=175&task=detail_events&Itemid=27&lng=3

Also, in click on the tab “articles” in the top header of this website and you will find an article written in Arabic by Said Kadry for the Journal of Today’s Morocco, which includes a picture of me with my paintings. I attempted to translate the article in English via Google translator, it is not perfect but you get the idea!

The beginning of Art Bytes

5 May

Welcome to the first post for Art Bytes!

The blog is currently under construction, but the first article will appear in the next week. The subject will be the 8th International Women’s Day Festival of Visual Arts, Asilah Morocco and will include a review of the exhibition, information about the artists and images of the festival.

Medina in Asilah, Morocco 2010.

Log on for your next bite of art soon.