I’m putting up six of the Playground of the Midlands canvases here…only one of which I think is quite finished (though I think two others are pretty close) because its supposed to be a painting blog. Though I don’t feel so good today so I’m doing a lot of displacement activity instead. I doubt I’m the only painter who does that. Part of the avoidance has been some clearing of shelves – I’m an inveterate hoarder so have way too much ‘stuff’ – and I came across a copy of Flash Art from Summer 1999. That led me to wondering what had happened of late to that Flash Art favourite of the 90’s – Mark Kostabi. Was Kostabi World still in action?
So to that marvellous invention for all us avoidance merchants – this Internet thingy! It appears Mark is now mainly to be found on Facebook…and that (unbeknownst to me) he did for quite a few years write a magazine column. And in the spirit of my online flaneur I came across his review of Italian painter Giulio Turcato – also previously unknown to me (and without being immodest many pals will tell you that’s quite rare…). But I’m now loving his work…so not entirely an afternoon wasted…
And with him having to chosen Rome to live in for part of his time alongside his articles and cable tv show Mark has gone up a little in my estimation of him!
over times long past. Many eons ago I was party to an explosion of public art across the United Kingdom…aiding and abetting a variety of schemes that, for better or worse, were intended to ‘beautify’ and ‘edify’ public enjoyment of the environment. It seems it wasn’t confined to the UK as here in the Lunigiana (wedged in the borderlands between Tuscany and Liguria in Italy) there’s a fair amount of it too. Including this rather splendid piece in Piazza Cavour in Aulla. It seems we are witness to a lively game of geometric footie…or calcio as its known here. Or perhaps, given the garb sported, a game of volleyball or some such. Whatever the occasion and the exercise there’s a deal to admire – I’m especially taken with the knees myself. It got me to thinking about who gets to make these works and who selects them…and that’s a topic on which I’ve quite a few stories from my involvement back in the UK (don’t get me started on the Shoe Last in the pedestrian precinct in Northampton…). Anyway I rather like this one though I doubt many people give it so much as a glance nowadays.
And a good holiday is an excuse to have a play about (as well as sit pondering) on projects that as yet maybe don’t make a deal of sense. I’m cutting out canvas letters to join my sewn canvas shapes using odd snippets of text that I wrote down from poems into a sketch book almost thirty years back. They are so obscure I cannot begin to recall what the texts were or why I chose them. But I did it here in Italy and I’m here again (courtesy of my chum Sue) where I’ve been shaping and sowing the canvas pieces over the past few years so there is a connection though what it is and why its significant to me I have no way of articulating as yet.
But of course time away from your usual haunts is mostly for the simple pleasures of experiencing other cultures and environments. This part of Italy is framed by the Appenines to the back of us and the Apuan Alps away to the south east, its quite rugged and hilly, and at this time of year looking its best, the blossoming of the vegetation in springtime before the more arid days of summer…though we’ve been blessed on this occasion by warm and sunny weather.