There is something that makes me truly happy.
It is listening to others as they show me their artwork. To me it is a blessing because it feels like someone is opening their door to me into their inner world. I feel like they trust me enough to open up to me about a part of themselves that is vulnerable. At least this is how I see what art making is about.
Not only that but also, just like when Constance Cooke invited me to see 2 of her choreography rehearsals, seeing others art and processes inspires me to create and to feel connected with other human beings. It’s so good to be reminded that we are all on the same boat.
I have had a few studio visits since I have been here.
One of them was Victoria Edgarr‘s Ground Zero Printmakers studio.
I was introduced to Victoria’s work at her Xchanges gallery show last June. One of her works, which fascinated me, was her series of tiny books hung on the wall. Opening them and finding indecipherable writing struck me. It seemed to me as if the handwriting didn’t try to be understandable. Hoping to capture a secret, I was still attempting to read in vain. Throughout the book were delicately details prints on transparent pages with beautiful colors. I found magic inside these books.
You have to climb some stairs like in NY to get to Ground Zero Printmakers studio. First you go through a kitchenette, bathrooms with a lit Lynch movie lamp. It’s probably the best, non blurry picture I got from that day so I better put it up!!
Heidi and I then entered a big room, the studio where it all happened. Victoria and Alain were there, working. Pretty soon, Heidi started a conversation with Alain while Victoria started to explain to me what she was doing. She was timing these pieces of metal soaking in a liquid which was eroding the parts that didn’t have a special kind of paint on them. This technique is called etching. And thankfully, the only other non blurry picture I have from this visit is the result of this experiment in progress. At this point, the medal looking piece needed some more time for the liquid to dig more into its metal.
Looking at it up close with a lense made it look like aerial photography with orange islands, shores catching the sunlight and the ocean in which we could see the melting color tones giving a sense of its depth.
The small character with the wings came from a figure Victoria had made in the past which appeared in her series called Five Castles. And wait! I have picture of it!
I am sorry for this is not doing any justice to Victoria’s work. So please, check out the series on her website asap! Seeing it on the Internet only gives you an idea though. In the studio, the work caught me with the delight of seeing the details of the prints and the subtleties of the colors giving such a sense of perspective into the images. Victoria began to tell me the stories behind this series which expressed her love for Montreal where she had lived for quite some time and all of her memories that connected her to many streets, plazas, fountains and buildings of the city. I understood exactly what this kind of connection meant and felt from my own attachment to Paris.
Our conversation moved to the intriguing sculptures which were placed on a shelf high up. They were part of a work around her interpretation of Ulysses’ Odyssey, Victoria explained. She then showed me a series of photos of her representation of Ulysses on some beautiful beaches of Vancouver Island as well as and poems. A similar series as this one. I found them absolutely original. She let me read a poem that came along with the series. Please read it and tell me if you feel like a soft part of your being was as touched as I was when I read Victoria’s poem in her studio.
By Victoria Edgarr
O Tell me, You Sirenes
keepers of secret names,
Tell me, You sweet-voiced intermediaries
You, who orchestrate circumstance
draw circumference of worlds
(birds of prey)
Here I am, bare-breasted, tied to the mast.
Me, who turned the tricks of Circe
who taking sound advice
who dreams of changing pigs to men.
With honey, hemp, and wax in the ears
of my fateful companions
by my chosen companions
I am tied.
I am tied to the mast by love & trust
by my own volition. Tied
I can’t jump ship
What is shame
What is honour.
What’s my name?