Today after spending the morning in the studio (we have our Final Exhibit next Friday, the 24th, so I am really buckling down to get my last painting finished!), and after a nice lunch with Ted (Edward Holland) and Hugh, I decided to go revisit Willie Dougherty at the Irish Pavilion and Susan Norrie at an Australian outpost. I took my time, wandering through the crowds and actually got the opportunity to speak with a gallerist here who already has the catalogue for the summer that we’ve put together and said that he was the most drawn to my work. That was exciting to here! He said he would like to stay in touch which felt great…and hopefully he will come to our exhibit.
Then I spent and spanned time with Susan Norrie, “Havoc”. I saw a poster of the exhibition and am happy that I went. The dueling films that appear on a two sided screen are otherworldly and exquisitely beautiful. I felt the hinges of my jaw loosen. The first room consists of 10 smaller (13 inch tv screen size) screens and features the emotional images of people who have suffered through natural disaster in Indonesia. The narrative documentary style video pieces are all informative and heartbreaking. The final room (images I’m posting below) is almost the heavy metal, black metal, terrorist, prayer-filled response to the previous. Masked men on horseback ride through a foggy desert valley. They move in slow motion and are occassionally accompanied by the thunderous sound of hooves. The piece runs in loop and shares a screen with a man who stands at the lip of a volcano. He holds a lamb. Smoke bellows and waves from within the stormy depth of this unmeasurable chasm. I was sure he would throw the lamb in offering of sacrifice. A cry for help. A yearn for a better time. An end to natural disaster. But instead he turns…just as the horses on the other side are thundering forward into the fog that surrounds them. He turns, still holding the lamb and starts his decent down the steep slope.
Willie Dougherty in similar emotional vantage point,”Ghost Stories”. Three separate rooms feature video, narrated by an unseen voice. In “Ghost Stories” the narrartor speaks of uncertainty, death, and memory. In yet another, a woman shares her doubts and fears, her mouth never moving. We don’t know if the thoughts are indeed hers or the artists. As a viewer I was thrust into the environment that exists behind the screen. I felt my way into the pitch black room. Black walls and black floors. The videos created the only light. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to experience the work alone…and not have to risk stepping on finger tips or visa versa as I crouched onto the floor. (I have some fotos of these pieces as well but will post at a later time…I have to fill this post with Susan Norrie)
In both situations, I felt a sense of calmness but also a sense of upheaval. A reminder of the mind, thoughts, future uncertainties and remembrances of the past.