Sunday, August 21, 2016

a return to water

She was still pregnant and he had left her for another woman. Shocked by his duplicity and so lightly done. A twilit landscape. A coastal town. Like a mad woman without words, out beyond language,  she clawed at the sea wall. Held back and down to frustrate this lethal compulsion - a return to water.

Another night. I dreamt that I was pregnant or that something was happening inside me, my tummy steadily and slowly expanding. No kicks or movement though and it seemed to me that there was no human life inside, only emptiness or a growing silence.

We were to have one therapy session a month in a public space - in what could have been a public library, a bookshop or a junk shop. No customers but their potential and no books that I cared to read (thank you very much). Three places; one where you borrow things that are not your own, one where you buy new things that become your own and one that holds lots of old things belonging to other people, he pointed out.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

dreams to the post-self

I had returned to Edinburgh to study and was searching for the flat which I had purchased at a distance without viewing beforehand. It took me some time to find the right door, the numbering system not one I immediately recognised; three numbers, one variant. 

I could see the sweep of a hill behind the houses, a gathering of trees atop, the promise of the sea and a church bathed in setting light; independent impressions. I compared this view to the view I held up in my hand on a postcard. It must be this door, a coral coloured door. This location, this aspect, distantly but distinctly familiar as if I had made this return before, perhaps portentous this feeling.

Once inside and looking around fellow student flatmates unmet appeared, already settled in. A larger than life-size cardboard cut out of a female actor in corset and suspenders propped up in an armchair directly opposite the main entrance. 

Apart from that one bright view which seemed suspended in no particular fixed place once inside, the flat was dark. Windows in the living room looked out onto a close external wall, heavily curtained, the sills and ceilings above wet and dripping, paintwork peeling. My heart sank. maintenance. money. mistake. 

We walked into a small bathroom where the light returned, a window opened out or maybe the outside came in. I saw myself in a mirror, long haired. A warm breeze, two birds on a tree; a moment that slowed down and righted.

Now looking behind doors in anticipation of finding at least a bedroom in which I could be well. A shock at the discovery of what was to be my room. The door opened onto a large, low ceilinged, windowless and wet space, tiled over with colourful swimming pool tiles as if once partly underwater. Shallow troughs - perhaps waterways, low walls, metallic steps, a hose. All in a disquieting and irregular arrangement that I could not recognise or make sense of and knew I could not live in or even happily beside.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

betty woodman: theatre of the domestic

Theatre of the domestic. Everyday spaces and objects are sites worthy of attention. And there is no distinction between the sacred and profane, between matter and spirit. Does materiality pushed to it's edges contain everything, doing away with false dichotomies?

Surface and space, the void and the manifest. Sculptured forms with flat motifs representing three dimensional forms, exposing the removals and displacements of representation in a kind of playful tunnelling.

Here the separation of art and the living, the wall and the spectator, is disrupted by the contrast between thinly painted backgrounds and the foregrounded ceramic objects, by the discordant relationship between surface, form and perspective, by the melding of painting and sculpture. 

Friday, January 22, 2016


Something about cliché and the gap between expectation and reality. Gestures understood to be meaningful, exchanged without weight or charge and we end up not really talking about anything at all. Empty language.

His paintings are the only colour in a washed out landscape and he speaks of a richness that is indiscernible to other eyes. The only one not trying to convince himself and others of rightness, content with his illusions. The truth is, there is none beyond what you create, invested in conviction that may not be warranted. Only the unfolding over which our constant watch and worry is wasted. 

The relief when pretence is dropped, when ordinariness is okay. The heaviness of denial and holding back to release and the lightness of not knowing; projection to presence or appearance as appearance. The dissolution of what one hoped for to the humour of not getting what you thought you wanted. And family, that container of both grand illusion and a unique groundedness; pain and it's momentary relief.

Frames so tightly crafted and still, putting into relief the untidiness of human disruption and restlessness. And nature, ordinarily wild and without shape, here steadies the eye in much the same way. But still a background of indifference, sometimes piercing our silence or silently infecting our mood with illogical pressures.

A group of islands. Untethered, regrouped, then dissolved, our meetings.

a film by Joanna Hogg