When your direction is to burn stuff for art, well, things can get a little weird. I actually had to clarify the email that Jimmy Chiale sent out. “You mean, you don’t want us to vibe off the name only? you want us to actually burn stuff too??!!” I got a pretty good laugh that day but I must say, I never (for the most part) turn down a challenge. So with that, I was taking part in the “Let It Burn” exhibit that was going to be showing at Hashtag Gallery in Toronto.
For me, the challenge is to keep true to your medium while following the instructions for this show. burn stuff. The most obvious to me was to actually burn the muslin fabric that I work with for my modern batik – but obvious is boring. Recently, I tested out a finished piece of MB on wood – which worked out amazing. I decided to mark up my wooden canvas to create patterns and markings that I think I am known for in my work – this is where the wood burning tool came in.
Next thing was to figure out the subject – which right away for me – was a surreal woman, sultry and hot, temptress of the world, making men burn for her charms. Crazy how the mind works right?
Needless to say, It was a crazy 3 weeks creating the batik piece, lighting the edges of that (and my fingers) on fire, gluing it on fabric and then steady wood burning from there. Smoke got in my eyes .. and I am not trying to be romantic here. Smoke got in my eyes. Red, teary eyes.. my house smelt like a big fireplace – it was a trip. By the end of it, I was sick of her. She kept looking at me goading me as if saying .. you are not done yet?!! I was never so glad the day I dropped her off at the gallery so I wouldn’t have to see her anymore.
Jimmy asked for a short paragraph to explain my work – I wrote an ode to my crazy diablesse.
“La Diablesse” represents the emotional burning one feels when attracted to someone. She is of every race, her skin red to emphasize the lust you feel when you see the fullness of her lip, the curve of her breast and the dip in her back. She makes you forget what is right or wrong, forces you to live in the moment …her power forever burnt in your memory. C’est une Diablesse.
The opening night at the gallery was a great success – packed to the rafters. The response to her was amazing. Someone thought the artist was a guy because of the way I had written my paragraph. Its funny when you think of your pieces.. they are kind of like your loves. You fall in love with them, you hate them because they are not cooperating. I am not by any means a writer but how can you not spout poetry about something you love?
I may have found a new medium in the wood burning .. who knows! for now, I will let my burnt fingers heal and think about a motto that I always keep close in my thoughts > You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the power to leave the shore – Translation.. buck up and just do it – that’s another one of my motto. g.