November 26, 2014

O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright (Collect for the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, The Book of Common Prayer (1662)).

Dr Paul Newland of the Department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies was the guest lecturer on the Art/Sound module this morning. (I wish I could have been there!):


9.00 am. Two, 1-hour MA Fine Art tutorials.  I encouraged both to atomize their painting — to isolate the components of their practice, and to understand and further them singularly and in relation to each other. The components form two entirely different sets. For the one student, the set comprises: time, distance, paint viscosity, paint medium, rate, impact, and spatter. For the other, the set comprises: pattern, tightness/looseness of paint, scale/size, tonality, and opacity of surface.

11.30 pm. A walk and a talk. Since Steve disappeared, the days have become markedly colder and brittle:


2.00 pm. After a haircut and a late lunch, I uploaded today’s lecture material for student access and moved forward with Matt. 19.17. It’s mechanical work that permits my mind to engage other ideas at the same time.

6.55 pm. Practise session 1. 7.30 pm. I returned to the ‘Sindebt’ proposition. So far, I’ve failed to discover a process of smearing and obliterating a handwritten text which was not either obvious or facile. If I were my student, I’d be saying to me:

  • Don’t expect a solution to be delivered into your lap. Work for it!
  • The answer may lie in something else you’ve done recently.
  • Are you thinking manually only or technologically also?
  • If the text had been spoken rather than written, then what would you do?
  • Acknowledge your expectations. Then erase them.
  • Think more about the nature of the support.
  • Does the size of the handwriting determine the scale of the work?
  • What’s wrong with ‘obvious’ and ‘facile’?

9.45 pm. Practise session 2. 10.40 pm. ‘The night watch’. Dealt with a few outstanding purchases of materials, appraised the progress of a number of recent projects, and reflected on the day that has been.

Images taken from Stephen Chilton’s website of his Dark Light Series (2013):

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 16.20.25

They are abstract paintings that slowly evolved through the judicious application of ethereal, luminous colour (reminiscent of the northern lights), variously stained, washed over, poured, rolled, lightly brushed upon, and sunk beneath the warp and weave of the canvas. The resultant images are visual metaphors that, through the process of multiple, thin, translucent overlays, evoke — what the English painter Samuel Palmer (1805-81), referring to the Creation, spoke of as — ‘the veil of heaven, through which her divine features are dimly smiling’. Steve’s creations, likewise, offer a partial and tantalizing vision: a promissory and an anticipation of that more perfect and satisfying ground of being that beckons from beyond.

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