Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thoughts on Art

Sunday I enjoyed visiting Scotland's National Gallery of Modern Art. They had Damien Hirst's famous Away from the Flock, literally a sheep floating in formaldehyde.  They had a couple of nice Frank Auerbach pieces. His paint application interests me, and seeing them up close allowed greater understanding of his sensibilities and choices.

They had a room of large Agnes Martin paintings - light, airy, spacious, simple, gorgeous. The placard said that her parents emigrated from Scotland's Isle of Skye! Top on my list to visit. Agnes Martin inspires me because she captures the full experience of being outdoors through the most simple formal choices.  Google her paintings, and you won't feel much. See a room full of them and you will feel sun on your face and wind in your hair. You will feel calm and clear-minded. You will be among the clouds and earth and sky and sea.  

They had a lot of work by American artists, part of an exhibit going on in museums throughout the UK called Artists Rooms. Vija Celmins, Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Francesca Woodman. All looking good. 

One las thing about the museum- the guards wear plaid pants!

I am feeling great about starting my year as an art student at the ECA! We had our first meeting with the college director and the 20-odd students in my graduate program. There are people from all over: Norway, Chile, Switzerland, Greece, Japan. Edinburgh. Glasgow. Dundee. There are 3 other Americans (Ohio, Georgia, Kansas). After the meeting, a few of them invited me out for a drink at the local student bar. I got to hear some gossip about the staff and school itself, and also learned some good things about the local scene. One girl described Edinburgh as a DIY city. No one will necessarily come looking, but if you want things to happen, they can and they will. 

Tuesdays are reserved for Special Projects. Every week, a different student has to create a temporary installation on campus unrelated to their thesis work, and we all meet to look at the project and discuss its merits. 

Fridays are reserved for lecture on the contemporary Scottish art world, and will include guest speakers and gallery visits. 

Beyond those two taught days, the time is ours to research and create. I am excited for this freedom. Here are some basic shots of what will become our studio for the year. The building in the distance is the Scottish Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. 







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