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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jessica Kitto

Jessica Kitto

Second Year BVA Jewellery, Dunedin School of art.


This piece consists of French knitted tubes, embedded with hand carved bones. The bones were originally made of stone and carved with a diamond headed drill. They were made to appear delicate and thus representative of the body’s fragility, with the knitted tubes encasing the bones evoking, in contrast, a sense of physical comfort and warmth. Through the use of wool the piece is designed to ‘snuggle’. The knitted tubes also act as a form of protection for the bones, alluding to the anatomical formation of the human body. The selection of colours reflects this idea of anatomy, the deep red is symbolic of the inner workings of the body; both the red and white representing the protective and functional quality of human flesh and blood. ‘Bones’ is a particularly interactive piece due to the fact it can be interpreted as you will and in that it is a three dimensional object that, when worn, acts as an experience evoking a particularly physical response due to its emphasis on the corporeal.

“All these things you’ve given me”

“All these things you’ve given me” consists of every piece of jewellery the artist has ever been given by significant loved ones. Every piece holds a sentimental value to the artist and is specific to a memory or an emotional attachment she has to the particular person from whom she received it. The piece was constructed through linking one piece to another. Each individual piece holds up another, so if one falls down, it won’t be alone. The work can also be likened to a spider web, the web like formation associated similarly, to how we each carry distinctive memories or attachments, which define who we are. The subjective nature of the piece means that it is both unfinished and cannot be worn by other people, due to the emotional attachment and significance the artist has to each individual piece. The more the piece grows the more emotionally heavy and unwearable it becomes to anyone, but the artist.

1: Bones
2: All these things you've given me

James Bellaney

These are pieces from my favourite Dunedin-based artist, James Bellaney. Bellaney is a fourth year painting student at the Dunedin school of art. Stylistically, Bellaney’s work is reminiscent of the intimacy felt in Surrealist automatism, American action painting and Abstract Expressionism. This is evident from the quality of his work, which has the appearance of being somewhat considered, yet spontaneously gestural and improvised. Bellaney’s creative process involves methodically moving the paint by means of splashing, staining, stumbling and dripping across the working space. Often it appears as though he is using seemingly random tools, as opposed to the more traditional paint brush.Upon viewing him work, his figure is reminiscent to that of to Hans Namuth’s photographs of American Abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock. Bellaney, not dissimilar to Pollock and other artists, such as transgressive artist Vito Accohi, Australian artist Dale Frank, Paul McCarthy, Pablo Picasso (particularly the film featuring him paint on glass) and many kinetic sculptors use art to convey ranging emotions and subsequent reflections upon their individual lives. However Bellaney’s pieces have a quintessential spiritual quality, which I believe is apparent because of his Maori heritage. This sense of spirituality I would liken to not only his works kinetic flow of energy (a reference to music and surfing), but also the strongest of his influences comes from his own environment, nature. As a sense of the calming waves and aggressive internal conflict merge together to create a chaotic rhythm of his perceptions of his own environment and sense of identity.

1. A Hans Namuth portrait of Jackson Pollock (1950), http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/namuth/pol3nam.htm
2. Bellaney at his performance-based exhibition at none gallery earlier this year
3. Piece from the collection, 'Natural landscapes'
4. Piece from the collection, 'Corrosion'

Beach Boys, Surfin' safari

Mid-year funk

The Mid-Year Funk
I am so disillusioned. God, how trite. I offend myself by my own lack of originality. Still, I may have a legitimate problem. I’m in a mid-year funk, a big one. A funk of Holden Caulfield and Esther Greenwood proportions. Actually no, my chemical imbalance is not quite so dramatic. Depression comes in degrees, of course, and I’ll concede that my current mental state is probably on the middle to lower end of the scale, similar to Holden and Ester in substance (adolescent angst and confusion, an inability to see where I’m going, who I am and what I want to do) but not degree. Really, the most difficult part of the whole thing is not so much the depression and apathy in themselves but my inability to see a way out of them, because they are terribly inconvenient. I have so much work to do. Mountains and mountains. Not just uni, either, but extra-curricular activities and friends and exercise and self-improvement. I feel like, actually I know, I’m not reading enough or writing enough or getting out there enough. The dichotomy of it is, I care so much about all this and yet simultaneously I don’t care at all. I just want to sleep for a thousand years, lie in bed with the shutters closed and three big blankets on top of me, curled up, warm, protected, oblivion.
Other people seem to be on their game, seem to know what they’re doing. I guess that’s a lie, we always compare our insides with other peoples outsides. But logic aside, I feel like an utter fucking mess. I don’t know how to eat properly, or work properly, I don’t know how to sustain relationships or how to deal with love and sex. I don’t have a fucking clue, I’m just kind of guessing most of the time and feeling completely out of place. I know that wallowing in this pool of self-pity I must sound incredibly whiney, that Sartre would be distinctly unimpressed, but for some reason I just can’t be bothered caring.
So how to get out of this mid-year funk and get my mojo back. Maybe when you feel like this - you’re depressed but not clinically so - you just have to go through the motions until you eventually start to care and feel passionate again. Recognizing that it’s all chemical can be helpful too, apparently. Expose yourself to as much sunshine as possible, try to sleep enough, exercise and eat well. Try to laugh, don’t watch too much TV. Fuck, I don’t know. It is so hard figuring out how to live sometimes. I think I know what I want to be, I have an idea of it and yet also an awareness that life is happening right now. That’s the paradox I guess, life always feels like it’s going to happen, like you will make it happen, sometime in the future. How can this ‘present’ be me fulfilling my life when it is “gone in the instant of becoming” and often just feels so banal and pathetic? I feel so often that the life I’m living is to be, rather than in the process of being. But then I think the word ‘being’ implies the static and this is obviously not the case as life is constantly in flux. Even in terms of other people – we think their personalities are static and easily categorized but what defines a person is really so much more complex - we are all constantly changing, we are not set actors in a pre-scripted drama:

“He used to wonder at the shallow psychology of those who conceive the Ego in [people] as a thing simple, permanent, reliable and of one essence. To him, [a human] was a being with myriad lives and myriad sensations, a complex multiform creature that bore within itself strange legacies of thought and passion...”

Maybe it is more accurate to say we are not being but constantly becoming. It’s good to look at it that way, it seems somehow more accurate in that it suggests progress, development - that all these things are a part of living and that the more active you are in becoming the more you are really living. It is also suggestive of the reality that life is constant interaction – you are never going to reach that ultimate goal, that pinnacle of being. Rather you will always be interacting, changing, growing, developing. Every day and every moment is a process.

Oh man, that all sounded so good in my head. So why does this thick blanket of ennui continue to smother me?

C’est la vie say the old folks, I guess.

1. J.D.Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
2. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.
3. William James, The Principles of Psychology (1890). Vol. 1. Chapter XV: The Perception of Time
4. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) pp137


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Charles Bukowski

Alone with Everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else

"Ugliness is in a way superior to beauty because it lasts."

Branusci's 'The Kiss'

Monday, July 5, 2010

Maria Callas sings Puccini's 'Madame Butterfly'

Maria Callas sings Puccini's Madame Butterfly.
"I must pursue her, even though I damage her wings."



Jean-Paul Sartre


“I jump to my feet: if only I could stop thinking, that would be something of an improvement. Thoughts are the dullest things on earth. Even duller than flesh. They stretch out endlessly and they leave a funny taste in the mouth. Then there are words, inside the thoughts, the unfinished words, the sketchy phrases which keep coming back... I think that I don’t want to think, I mustn’t think that I don’t want to think. Because it is still a thought. Will there ever be an end to it. My thought is me: that is why I can’t stop. I exist by what I think... and I can’t prevent myself from thinking... My saliva is sugary, my body is warm; I feel insipid. My penknife is on the table. I open it. Why not? In any case it would be a change. I put my left hand on the pad and I jab the knife into the palm. The movement was too sudden; the blade slipped, the wound is superficial. It is bleeding. And what of it? What has changed? All the same, I look with a feeling of satisfaction at the white paper, where, across the lines I wrote a little while ago, there is this little pool of blood which has at last stopped being me. Four lines on a white paper, a splash of blood, together that makes a beautiful memory.”