Posts Tagged ‘passage of time’

Regina Benson and Ray Tomasso at Ice Cube Gallery, Denver 2015

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Early in September, while visiting our daughter in northern Colorado, I enjoyed a gallery hopping day in Denver with friend Regina Benson who herself was exhibiting “Water Marks” at The Ice Cube Gallery.   Sharing the gallery with Regina was Ray Tomasso, whose recent collection of cast archival paper was titled “Memories of An Ancient Sea”. This gallery will be closing next year as the space has become financially unfeasible to the artists who lease it; and so that relationship could be said to be ‘melting’, perhaps. Maybe it was no coincidence that both these fibre artists gave watery titles to their exhibitions connecting water and landscape. 

In her home state Colorado and the other western states, issues of water usage, entitlements, over-usage, conservation of water resources and naturally occurring drought spells mean water is a serious public issue. In this collection of textile installations and paintings, Regina explores environmental, social and historical issues surrounding the abundance and scarcity of water, finding inspiration along coastal shores where she often dives, and inland landscapes that satellite imagery shows to have been shaped and scarred by water that long ago disappeared leaving ‘stark cracked surfaces with darkened paths of long gone water’.regina benson's jelly fish blog_edited-1

Regina’s work is frequently dimensional, and often to the extent that the viewer can physically enter and wander through her created environment – this time a large group of jelly fish hovering near the entrance as if in water that demanded my immersion!  Delicate and floaty, hovering at the end of very fine fishing line, they responded to the slightest air current around them, in a very convincing ‘watery’ way.

regina benson Sea gypsies 2 blog

From a gallery card “She creates an environment for visitors to pass around and between rivers, sea sides, and tide pools; sometimes imagined at a distance, sometimes immersed in depths, and sometimes revealed only in the cracked dry beds of past waterfalls and eddies.”   Other works were less dimensional, and perhaps half were flat against the wall but they were no less watery.

Below is a multi panel one I particularly loved, ‘Baltic Seaside’ for which she does not specify whether the inspiration is from an actual dive visit or something from her childhood revisited.  Here dry grasses in soft sand dunes filter fading daylight as the water views beyond the grass blend into nightfall.regina benson Baltic Seaside 1 blog (1)


Dry river beds in Arizona and northern Mexico are similar to images received by NASA of patterns left on the surface of Mars by long disappeared flowing water on that planet’s surface.  Those reports and Regina’s observations while flying over the drying South West led to a wonderful piece titled “Dry Spell”. Perhaps best of all the pieces in the exhibition, this textile rendering of a worn, dry, rocky surface using dyes, stitch markings and quilting demonstrates Regina’s ability to observe natural phenomena and present their essence in textile and fibre art.regina benson Dry Spell_edited-1 blog


Now to the work of Ray Tomasso, whose recent collection of cast archival paper casts was titled “Memories of An Ancient Sea”.  ‘Cast’ of course implies dimension, and these panels, while flattish, each protrude several inches from the wall plane.

Tomasso South Sea Odessy blog

Ray Tomasso “South Sea Odyssey”  40″ x 58″ x 7″

tomasso Aground On a Shoal blog_edited-1

Ray Tomasso  “Aground On A Shoal”    68″ x 90″ x 6′

I had not previously known of Ray’s work, and found it spoke to me of archeological material, such as unearthed decaying man-made materials on an excavated rubbish dump site, or along edges of dried up lakes or seabeds, such as Lake Baikal.  (as suggested by the exhibition title)  Certainly textural details in places suggest rivets or drill holes, and ragged edges might allude to some violent, catastrophic end event having taken place and been preserved in fine mud.  In total his work has an appealing air of industrial decay, and I loved it.

Explore his website for insights into his process, and the eco-friendly aspects of  his materials.

Photos provided by the artists.

An Update on Motivations

Friday, July 17th, 2015

In the past day or so I followed another quiltmaker’s link to her blog about what she has been making recently – a site I’ve been to a number of times, and left a comment to the effect “I see what you’ve done, but what’s your motivation?”   Her response was that she didn’t think people would want to read about why she uses the materials and subject matter she does.  I really differ, and though I thought  her response a bit vague, with a principal rationale she gave as it being play, I appreciated her answering.  Yes,  I do like to read about what motivates people; after all, we all have different reasons for doing what we do, and, we could use other ways to express ourselves – painting, ceramics, writing a book or making movies, whatever. The artist in each of us is responding to a unique vision of the world around us.  Well that’s my view anyway – and I wrote back to her, in part –

The making, the sewing and assembling, is different for each of us, and leads to distinctive styles – but that is still different from the why behind it.  …. For myself, a lot of my work, including my Ebb & Flow quilts, or the works in my Tracks series (galleries on my website)  expresses what I see as a major theme in the world about me – that everything is in a process of change as long as your time scale is long enough – and that change over time brings people into and takes them out of our lives; change can affect health, wealth, geographical location, and of course we ourselves change through age and may even change emotionally as we move through time.  My vision is explored via abstract arrangements of lines, shapes and textures in fabric and thread; I don’t do anything pictorial/representational. Well my current series is as representational is it might get ….

Then I checked my own blog, and found it is a long time since I wrote about my own motivations!…. and if the above artist or any new reader was checking they might be wondering – so let me say a few words in general about all the textile art I have done –

For more than 30 years my original works have been inspired by landscape structures, processes and resulting patterning of textures.  Since childhood I have been fascinated by natural forces and the roles they play in shaping the landscape.  I studied geography and geomorphology at university. Since marrying a geologist in the late ’60’s, I’ve found myself living in a variety of different landscapes: coastal and Outback Australia, central western USA, littoral and urban Uruguay, all of which have influenced my work.   Regarding Landscape as a metaphor for Life is taking me in new directions.

I am currently exploring a landscape known as The Bungle Bungles or as the Aboriginal people have always called it, Purnululu.  It’s a large, deeply eroded sandstone and karst range in the Kimberley region of NW Australia.  In almost 20 years of Outback living, much of it up north, I still have not yet been there – but it is one of those iconic places Australians want to go, and I hope to one day. Iconic it may be, but it is also mysterious, and I wanted to use it as the subject of an art quilt competition I was entering at the time. I have become further intrigued with it and there are still several more ways I want to explore how I feel about this huge mass of rocks that stand arising out of plains like a group of sentinels.

While reading of the WA Government’s application document for the Bungle Bungles / Purnululu to go on the World Heritage List, I came across this comment by the writers –

“Religious beliefs, places of spiritual significance, stories and paintings
associating ancestral beings with the landscape, kinship connections and language
identification are all essential to the connection between people and place in Purnululu,
providing traditional owners then, as now, with a guide to living and being.”

This rather convoluted long sentence,  and other reading, have really focused my mind on this place, and at the moment I feel it could take me until the end of the year or beyond to exhaust the topic – a bit like a series of paintings on haystacks or waterlily ponds,  I guess.  While racking my brains for a suitable title, as I normally do I compiled a list of words I associate with my subject, and it includes these :-  age-old, timeworn, massif, massive,  keeper, emblematic, timeless, seasonal sculpture, silent, presence, overwhelming, mysterious …   And some titles I considered were/are Dreamtracks, Sentinels,  Ancient Keepers, Guardians.  The entry into the art competition that started all this I called ‘Dreamtracks’, and I may continue naming the series this with the addition of 2,3 etc., but I’m not sure if the one I am working on now will really be suited by this title, or not – I’ll wait and see when the quilting’s done.

BungleBungles 6


Anzac Day Montevideo 2014

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

We rose early Friday morning to attend the 7am Anzac Day Dawn  Service arranged by the Australia-Uruguay Camera/Chamber, and actually, although we were prompt starting in the cold wind, ‘Dawn’ was prolly technically about 15 minutes earlier.  When John Prentice began with the introduction to the observance, we could look out through the distinctive naval theme sculpture behind him at the Plaza Vigilio, Punta Gorda,  and on the horizon count 14 ships waiting to enter the port,  which equalled the number of attending souls, 14.  Our honorary consul Diego Paysee laid the wreath, and John Shaw, next to John P (in black) later performed the Last Post and the Reveille/Rouse.

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The piper, Gonzalo, played stirringly, and in my conversation with him afterwards, he had very complementary words about the Victorian Police Band pipers of years gone by, and one of my own favourites, The Bad Piper whom he described as a highly accomplished technically brilliant piper – and so say all of us!!!! I’m a total fan, by the way.

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At the solemn stage of the observance, yours truly is pictured reading the poem ‘On Flanders Fields’ that I always seem to get roped in to read; I know, it doesn’t look as if I am speaking, but that is just when Graciela took the shot. I got through it all without faltering – phew.

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The three young Aussie lads appearing in these two pics, were visiting Montevideo from Newcastle.    I didn’t get their names, but Marianna, the Kiwi holding their flag might have.  Their parents would have been proud of them.   They were due to leave the country a few hours after this, but they found time to come along.  Travel well boys.  It was cold this morning, as I am sure it was in many of the places that Aussies and Kiwis gathered for observances and marches.

Very New Work

Thursday, January 7th, 2010


My regular readers will remember the texture of this work which I showed in two posts oct. 22 and 31st last year.  Now it is on display at www.galerialoscaracoles and featured in the lovely little 8p colour catalogue produced for the opening event last night and now in circulation, I can post the full view of this and several other new works for all to enjoy.  Not many of you will make it to the gallery at Jose Ignacio in Uruguay this summer.

“Timetracks 15”  is large – 110cm h x 225cm w.  Like a number of other pieces in this developing series, it is about the decay that disturbs the quality of every surface you can think of, including landscape, natural and man-made objects, (animal, vegetable and mineral), landscape, skin –  any surface will show changes given the passage of enough time.  The destruction of the textile surface is often accomplished with my trusty wood burning tool acting on a suitable fabric – one that responds to burning in other words.  A couple of newer pieces appear below – first is “Timetracks 15”  The second one, “Post Apocalyptic Lace”, could herald yet another direction this group of work will take.

In the gallery I was impressed to see that these narrow vertical works are beautifully displayed against the clear glass panels of the pair of doors in the main entrance – almost looking as if they were sized for those two spots.

The season opening party at the gallery featured about 20 pieces of my work, beautifully arranged, and many people came and looked at mine and the well-stocked collections of other gallery artists’ works.  When we arrived at the gallery a few hours before the opening time to drop off some last minute things, I was a bit amazed and of course, delighted, to find so many more than the handful of pieces I expected to be out on show that evening.  They say the last week of the month my work will be ‘featured’ – what more they could do to feature my work I am not quite sure, but something tells me I should put the pedal to the metal and get a couple of wip’s completed….

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