Saturday, December 5, 2009
And here we are on the morning of the show. I am taking the picture, of course, but Mikang, Lucie, Sally and Andrea are parading along, taking important items to the gallery which is about a block and a half from the residence. Food, flowers, a computer for music, and wine. By this time, everything was set up in the space, ready for viewers. At 10:45, we toasted our success with champagne. And at 11, people appeared to see what we had made.
But at 9, a mere two hours before, we were still far from finished. André was there with his trusty level and hammer. Dale was mopping the floor right after Sally had swept. Bit by bit, it took shape, one piece at a time.
I like to think that I am an optimist by nature but I really wasn’t expecting many people to come to the opening. The best thing about being a little pessimistic is that, if there is a surprise, it is a good one. And, indeed, I was pleasantly
surprised. Quite a steady stream of people came throughout the two hour opening. I talked with many in French, some in English, and many I didn’t talk to at all. There just wasn’t the opportunity. Most were supporters of AIR Vallauris and come to all the openings. But there were those who came because they had seen the announcement and wanted to see the work.
The show is wonderful. I know that that is a strong statement but if the work had been curated by one person, it couldn’t have been chosen more successfully for holding together as a whole and yet having such strong, individual work. We were all quite proud of our own work and of each other.
I promised pictures and here are some. I tried to get pictures of everything and I generally succeeded but some are out of focus and some are not well-lit, or some have a head or arm obscuring a part of the piece. So what I’m showing here are the best pictures. All the work is good.
Sally has four sculptures in the show, all in natural clay with black iron oxide. The elements in each were suggested by what she saw here, the cobblestones, the shutters, the curved ironwork and the patterns in manhole covers and wall surfaces. Nature plays a large role in her work. In her native Australia, she is surrounded by water and plants and stone, and they show up in both her painting and clay sculpture. Her website is www.visualarts.net.au/gallery/sallywalk.
Lucie had a theme for her work. She called this body of work “Echoes”. She was considering the reverberations of her experiences here, the sounds and sights and how they echoed throughout her stay. This piece in the “well” is a self portrait, with round ear-like forms emanating from the inner space. A head shaped object sits on a shelf, the surface flowering where the brain is contained. Lucie is ardently intellectual. Her work can be seen at www.kunstenaars.nu.
Mikang had seven pieces, five with multiple elements. The interplay between the elements is an important part of her work. Seven days of the first week she was here. Seven sets of cups or cups and pitcher in different colors. Three painted standing sculptural pieces, reflecting the buildings in Vallauris. Each piece is made with care and placed with sensitivity. Each is a direct result of her having been here, in this place, with these people. Her website is www.limmikang.com.
And I have already gone on and on about my own work. I was especially pleased with the drawings and they were received well. The surprise piece was the two tea bowls, one made in the raku workshop, the other coiled, with a painted paper surface. It was fun to do and was surprisingly successful in its conceit. My website is www.lissahunter.com.
There is something wonderful about openings. I have always said that everyone should have two hours when his friends say how wonderful his “work” is. It might be her cooking, or his storytelling, or their gardening. Everyone goes to an opening to enjoy the work, to celebrate the artist. Rarely would someone say something bad. Not out loud, anyway. It’s a moment to hear other impressions of your work, to make connections with the people for whom you do this work. Even in another country, in another language, this is true.