Monday, 9 December 2019

Sunday afternoon selfies in Kyoto - on ancient and modern traditions

 Late November is autumn in Japan

Japanese acer

OH ( my other half) and I didn't realise what a big thing the atumn leaves are to the Japanese until  we arrived at our first world heritage temple in Kyoto.

It is BIG.

Four star big....

On a par with cherry blossom season.

autumn colour forecast

Time for dressing up and taking selfies under the acers.

Kimono hire and selfies is the way to go. Mixing the traditions of the past with those of the present.

But you will have to wait your tun for the best tree.

While you are waiting for the best branch, you can practice your selfie pose.

And then compare notes with your friends

kimono selfies

Watching these antics lead me to a degree of hair envy.

I realised that I just couldn't compete with the young Japanese.

Jeans and hiking shoes don't cut the mustard.

Grey hairs and an absence of adornment shows a lack of self respect.

I needed a make over.

But didn't get one.

I could not compete with these beauties.

traditional hair style for kimono

Elegant and poised.

kimono and parasol

traditions, old and new

No way was OH going to look on adoringly as I posed in the autumn sun.

He would probably adopt an expression a bit more like this guy (below), who seems less impressed with the game.

No leaf selfies for us. For we had work to do.

Temples to visit. Trains and buses to catch.

Crowds to negotiate.

Sites to see.

Sunday afternoon in Kyoto

And I mean real crowds.

There are a lot of people in Japan. Especially on a Sunday afternoon in Kyoto.

Arashiyama bridge, Kyoto

No time to sit and ponder.

This is a land of wonder. Crowds or not.

And we were here to see it all....( well most of it, anyway) .

The fancy clothes and hair would have to wait.

paying respect at Kiyumizodera temple, Kyoto, Japan

Lady with chrysanthemum

The trees were a riot of colour for the whole of our trip, and my camera/phone was mostly pointed skywards.

Japanese acers
As usual, my holiday snaps don't give a really good impression of where I have been.

These trees could be almost anywhere.....

Japanese maple in autumn

OH has promised to buy me a selfie stick for Christmas. He can see that I have stick and hair envy....

Who knows what might transpire.

I might get some images of myself that are better than the one that he took of me, posing in front of the Pacific Ocean, wearing impossibly dull clothing....

 I jest.....

but you already know that.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

David Nash - 200 seasons exhibition

David Nash at Towner Art Gallery

What is not to love about a sculptor who makes work from trees, about trees and with trees.

Alive or dead, the trees celebrated by David Nash create an unforgettable exhibition, 200 seasons at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Burnt wood in three dimensions juxtaposed with burnt wood as charcoal on paper....( a clever exploration of dimensionality) is probably my favourite piece.

Circles and triangles have a strong appeal.

David Nash 200 seasons

David Nash - bonk pile 

His titles amuse.

'Bonk pile 1'

His inventory, carefully recorded on a card index, explains.

The videos of his tree sculptures at his home in Wales are captivating.

Ash Dome -  now dying due to ash die back disease was first planted in 1977. A thing of great beauty, whose future is being assured by adjacent planting of oak saplings, that will not mature in Nash's lifetime; a sculpture for the next generations.

David Nash 200 Seasons

Works that change with time; warping and bending according to the climate.

Not an artist who likes immediate results.

His patience and foresight impress.

I also enjoyed his map describing the area that 'feels' like home.

David Nash 200 seasons

I found my eye drawn to the 'car dump'.

next to the 'bog' and beside 'grass' and 'crag'.

This is a remote corner of Wales.....

My own map would have 'railway', 'stream' and 'pond' as key features.

Home is not always where the house is....

David Nash 200 seasons

Another circle - this time made with bluebell seeds.

What an incredibly uplifting celebration of trees, wood and nature this show is.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Antony Gormley at The Royal Academy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-6.jpg

Antony Gormley 'Lost Horizon' 2008
Antony Gormley is a familiar figure in the world of sculpture, and the show currently at The Royal Academy explores his work right back to his beginnings in 1970.

Several of the works were created specifically for the spaces at the academy, and induce a sense of marvel and wonder.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-20.jpg

Matrix by Antony Gormley 2019
Matrix, shown above, contains 21 room sized cages surrounding a small chamber the size of a new build bedroom in Europe.
Walk beneath it and around it distorts perspective and creates a degree of visual confusion. Watching visitors enjoy the experience is a pleasure in itself. I had a very friendly encounter with a suited, silver haired gentleman called Charles.... he had been videoing me while I had been photographing him..... he apologised that his tie was not properly done up. I thought that probably no one would mind....

His friends arrived.... he introduced me to them very politely...... I felt really odd..... they probably thought the whole scenario was odd.... I was not wearing a tie or anything remotely smart.... they wandered off and we never saw each other again.

There is a lot to think about and a lot to play with...... which makes it a very friendly exhibition. I had many conversations with strangers; all excited about the work and wishing to share their feelings.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-16.jpg

Clearing 7 2019 by Antony Gormley
There were steel reinforcing bars to clamber through......

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-14.jpg
.... tunnels to walk through, large enough to accommodate a mother and her child in a buggy who dived into the darkness.... and made it into the massive cave filling one room entirely.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-4.jpg

Cave by Antony Gormley 2019
gravity defying men to bump into.......

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-5.jpg

Lost Horizon 2008 Antony Gormley

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-6-1.jpg

Lost Horizon 2008 Antony Gormley
and figures curled up on the floor, initially appearing as radom blocks of steel, until you looked more closely.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-27.jpg

Slabworks 2019 Antony Gormley
Equally fascinating were the myriad of notebooks documenting ideas and workings.

As one who has taken a long time to find the perfect notebook for my own use, I was intrigued by his consistency of choice, which changes only a couple of times over many years.

At least with a ring binder pages can be ripped out if necessary. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-8.jpg

Antony Gormley notebook

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-9.jpg

Antony Gormley notebook

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-11.jpg

Antony Gormley notebook 
There are drawings too. And a room full of clay and seawater..... earth, air and water, changing and responding to the environmental conditions in the gallery over time. The temptation to step in was overwhelming for children....

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-3.jpg

Host 2019 Antony Gormley
and in the courtyard outside was a tiny bronze sculpture of a 2 week old baby, lying on the ground, cast from Gormley's own daughter.

I felt it so vulnerable that I didn't feel able to photograph it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-2.jpg

Continent 1989 Antony Gormley
This is a show that uplifts and provokes.

I'll say no more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is antony-gormley.800-25.jpg

Sunday, 3 November 2019

In a quiet place- an exhibition with haiku

For the last 2 weeks I have been involved in an exhibition 'In a quiet place' in Rye with two good friends, Ali Stump and Birgitta Wilson. They are both very talented printmakers.

We share a love of nature, of stillness and quiet, and of words.

So in the quiet times between customers, what better way to spend our time than by writing haiku about the works hanging on the gallery wall.

The format of a haiku is one of three lines, with five, seven and five syllables in that order.

Short and sweet.

A not too challenging way to pass time.

Starting with Conversation Piece 1 ...

Conversation Piece by Caroline Fraser

light on a small stream
dances across the water
speaking silently

and then for some bowls and jugs

upon the table
fine white china jug and bowl
remind me of home

prints by Ali Stump

'all is calm' by Birgitta Wilson

deep in the forest
branches coated thick with snow
lie quietly sleeping

Olive, my typewriter has typed out quite a few of our creations, but then decided to do her own thing....

olivetti type 5x7

She is a bit obsessional.... and enjoys patterns more than poems...

And then there are the sea wall stories.

sea wall stories and other works 

For these I have written a longer poem, which is going to get me started on making my next book.

I will share it when the book is ready, which might be a while. 

 sea wall story 2019

 sea wall story  2019

 It has been the quiet times, sitting in the gallery that have allowed new words to be written, and new ideas to form.

For that, and for the friendship that I share, I am truly grateful.

gallery view 'In a quiet place'

I will leave you with some words shared with me last week;

'The present is a magic time'.

And so it is.....