Tag Archives: Culture

Cancelled Art Exhibition

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“Pilgrimage Fragments: World” 2020 Deborah Stephan

This is a preview of my cancelled art show; postponed to 2021.  The exhibition that I have for 24 paintings in June will probably be put off until next year also.  Life is unpredictable – handle with faith!  The world is in lockdown; be at peace and look up.

“Pilgrimage Fragments”

Artist Statement

Postage stamps from various countries leave, return home and converge on hand-painted paper leftovers from art school projects.  Decade after decade the collection grew.  Postage stamps from family travels, from friends afar, and international homestay students, lay in a file waiting to be collaged and historicized for future generations.  Microscopic beauty portrayed pilgrimages and voyages of loved ones through war and peace.

Like the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto in the summer of 2009, they lie open for our viewing and for piecing together of the lives that created them.  The Qumran Caves hermit scribes, the family and business writers, and the visitors from Europe, Africa, Iran, Mexico, Spain, North America, all leave their mark as they inscribe life’s meaning.

They say that Jesus is like a red thread all through the Bible.  So too, the red yarn links each of the twelve art works here.  Prayers of our ancestors are still being answered throughout our lives through moves, relationships and hardships.  We can slow down, consider like daily laundry, how our quotidian habits of the heart form our life’s journey.  As we view the travel collages, perhaps we can invite God to travel with us, enjoy God’s company, and let God set the itinerary.  Others have set out in coracle boats like the Celts’ missionary journeys, others have walked the Camino de Santiago sacred route in Spain, or to Lourdes in France for healing.  Some are arm-chair travellers whose journeys are more inward than outward but powerful nonetheless.

The viewer embarks on a journey of self-knowledge, God knowledge, or even to seek meaning in life by studying people in other cultures.  Questions may come to mind, ought I to go on an expedition, what kind of passage, who will I invite as a travel companion, and even what will be lost or found if I set out on a spiritual quest, will there be enemies to overcome?  How much do we want to be changed?  We count the cost as we consider what we will risk for compassion and service of others.

Deborah Stephan

Vancouver, 2020.

Experiences of Art: Interview with Wendy A.

EveCafe

“Cafe Eve, Simons, Park Royal”

www.modernmixvancouver.com

Bio: Wendy A.

  • retired Home Economics teacher
  • born in B.C.
  • powerful Scottish background
  • grew up in a household of visual art and music

Goya’s painting of a boy in an orange suit with a ruffle was something Wendy looked at in an art book at home maybe a hundred times starting at age five. It took her attention. Orange was not her favourite colour. She usually liked green.

The boy was Spanish royalty. She had the fabulous pleasure of actually seeing that painting a couple of years ago in the National Art Gallery in London, England. She said, I would have been surprised if it was not in the show of Goya portraits. In her visit to London she hoped it would be in the exhibition. She knew she would be visiting London but did not know if the dates worked for her to see it. They did. She did.

In her joy of recognition she was drawn to the oil painting, attracted again by its beauty. She remembered the painting as being about 5’ by 3’ and as having an ornate frame. There was such clarity, such colour, she remembered, and the facial expression of contentment.

Wendy wrote in an e-mail after our interview at the Eve Café:

The Boy in Red is 50 inches by 40 inches and it is of the son of the Count and Countess of Altamira.

I think I know why I loved this picture so much right from the age of about 5 and it never dawned on me before today —- he looks a tiny bit like me at a very young age. 

I guess I am a bit of a narcissist!!

Bye for now,

Wendy.

 

Painting of Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga, 1788

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Osorio_Manrique_de_Z%C3%BA%C3%B1iga

“Striking and often unforgiving, Goya’s portraits demonstrate his daringly unconventional approach and remarkable skill at capturing the psychology of his sitters.”  National Gallery London, bio of Francisco de Goya

Schwitters Again (Still)

Mixed Media on Cardstock 8 1/2” x 11”

“Lemon Ginger Tea” DS

The Tate Britain had an exhibition of Kurt Schwitter’s work in January 2013. I saved the “Arts and Ideas – BBC Radio 3 – R3 Arts: Night Waves” podcast to listen again to the interview between host Martin Sweet and the art critic Charlotte Mullins. They are recorded as saying he was one of the great figures of European Dadaism. About Kurt Schwitters work, they celebrated that it was: “extravagantly impure embracing all conceivable materials: bus tickets, boxes of licorice allsorts, cotton wool… He called his creations: “merz”.

As a collagist myself, I naturally work ‘after Schwitters’. It is my heart style. I save and glue anything from my life. Again and again I come back to reading about his methods. His room of ‘merz’ amazes and inspires me. (Imagine a room that becomes smaller from the sides and ceiling as he adds architectural found pieces of wood in white.) I enjoy shape and pattern. I find both in Schwitters’ collages.

The work is intuitive and organic. It flows naturally from life. It becomes cultural artifact witnessing everyday lifestyle and a new kind of legacy documenting the intimacy of the personal for the family. It is non-hierarchical and so easily accessible as a practice for rich and poor of any age or culture.

I consider what I will collage in the studio today – some black and white wrapping paper from a generous Korean friend, a parking receipt with blue, and some emerald green foil from my favourite chewing gum. This I may top off with a hot pink sticky note. The possibilities are endless. Made in the image of God, we too create not ex nihilo but out of the givens of the daily detritus of our lives – reminiscent of the leftovers from the feeding of the five thousand. In the workshops I pass this on. In feeding others, I am fed. DS.

google keywords kurt schwitters