Catalogue published for three exhibitions:
Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, November – December 1996
Pier Arts Centre, Orkney, January – February 1997
Cleveland Centre for Contemporary Art, USA, May – August 1997
A selection of notes amongst the drawings in sketch books over the period covered by the works on exhibition.
To touch someone; (metaphorically/ physically)
Berenson’s «haptic sensibility»
the touch, the looking, the response
The touch – the message from the brain down the arm to the surface, and from
this surface to another’s eye and brain
«The amygdala located in the area atop the brain stems, seems to be the site where positive and negative feelings are stored – reaction in milliseconds, long before there is a conscious awareness of the word.»
Dr Joseph LeDoux
In the margins of Aeneid (manuscript with miniatures by Simone Martini) Petrarch entered names of people dear to him whom he had lost.
«Everyday I die: a man leaves nothing but traces.»
Concerning – Ibn al-Haytham’s The Optics from 12th century Muslim Spain:
«Throughout, his reasoning is an intellectual one based on a logic of thought – the necessity for certain kinds of judgements to be carried out because the act of seeing requires them… An equally intellectualised and even more theoretical approach is provided by philosophers, whose Platonic and Aristotelian sources inspired notions of intermediary modes like shape, place, dimension , order, harmony or structure, which are essential to the perception we have of anything as well as for the establishment of an elusive happiness.»
«Logic is always an obstacle.»
Blind woman/sight gained after operation:
panic of not seeing in fog
laughs at oddity of image of someone walking – legs flapping about under a skirt
bewildered at first by food disappearing on the plate, knife and fork obliterated the food – hadn’t this concept of what happened on holding them when blind
could see, but brain had to learn to understand
«What does it mean for a painter to think – this is the old question which Hubert Damisch has returned…( in Fenêtre jaune cadmium). Not only what is the role of speculative thought for the painter at work? but above all what is the mode of thought of which painting is the stake? Can one think in painting as one can dream in colour? and is there such a thing as pictorial thought that would differ from what Klee called «visual thought»? Or again….is painting a theoretical practice? Can one designate the place of the theoretical in painting without doing violence to it, without, that is, disregarding painting’s specificity, without annexing it to an applied discourse whose meshes are too slack to give a suitable account of painting’s irregularities?»
«The secret of the great artists is that they cancel matter through form, the more imposing the matter is in itself, the greater its obstinacy in striving to emphasise its own particular effect. The more the spectator inclines to lose himself immediately in the matter, so much more triumphant is the art which brings it into subjection and enforces its own sovereign power.»
«French academic critics have been much occupied of late with «genetic criticism» – the study of manuscripts and earlier versions of texts, tracing the evolution of a writer’s definitive version through corrections, hesitations and erasures.»
The line between the brain’s hemisphere
the central pivot on a balance
trunk – in a tree or plant growth
spine – book or human
analogies, before during and after painting?
«The egg of any animal above the protozoa possesses from the beginning a polar axis.»
«..issues of filling space known as tessellation through isometry…»
Shaker coat hangers at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky
«I like the rule that corrects the emotion. I like the emotion that corrects the rule»
I walked with my reason
out beside the sea.
We were together but it was
keeping a little distance from me.
The Choice, by Sorley MacLean
Cézanne compared himself to Frenhofer, the painter in Balzac’s Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu whose chronic dissatisfaction transcends the significance of any finished work of art.
Things half said
Things not said
Morning haar in Edinburgh…slow grey green curves and coils of underwater currents…
Castle Gloom between the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow.
As a student discovering in ECA library, a UNESCO publication on Spanish Romanesque wall paintings … later seeing them live in Barcelona at the Catalan Museum and up in the villages in the Pyrenees. Paperbacks from Paris Livre du Poche – on Wols and Fautrier. Giotto, Siena Cathedral, Ravenna, orange alabaster light, glitter of gold on navy blue, not Florence and the Renaissance, on the first trip to Italy. Living in Greece and Turkey, the Benaki Museum, archaic Greek and Byzantine Mistras, millions of vases, ornament from floor to ceiling in the Blue Mosque, giant painted Koran texts in Edirne, and the light. There and in Morocco, window screens, pale delicate stained glass and the light, colours and sounds of fountains.
«Every day I speak to the dead.»
«Beginnings are always delightful; the threshold is the place to pause.
Bo’s arms, the Guildford Arms
Cape Cod, white dazzle glare on water, white piers, white fencing, white balustrades, white flag poles, white houses, grey houses edged with white, white boats, white floats, white grey blue sky. Thin washy, waxy, pale grey blue, white white grey blue to powder blue.
Tears welling up before The Flaying of Marsyas in the Titian show in Washington – not the subject – admiration, envy as a painter
«Painting, for the one who produces it as for the one who consumes it, is always a matter of perception.»
«There is so much written about art that it is mistaken for an intellectual pursuit…. Our emotional life is really dominant over our intellectual life but we do not realise it.»
« I have noticed that when one paints one should think of nothing: everything comes better.»
Raphael to Leonardo