Re: ‘In Conversation’ with artist Dee Shaw
Studio 22 and Workshop Space
Sat 6th Aug 2011, 11am
It is truly an experience entering Dee’s studio. A sort of ‘come-into-my-world–other-worldliness’. Indeed, Dee challenges concepts of memory and time in her work, referring to the Greek qualitative (kinos) and chronological (kronos) time. Painted doll’s heads, more so, masks in cabinets; ‘Victorian side-show’ type influences and ‘pseudo morays’; the artist’s own words. Her work is sort of a reflection on the self and identity/ies. We talked about the importance of wearing and exploring masks with reference to changing identities as well as Victorian death masks; the theatrics and the notion of the stereotypes which some of Dee’s work evokes. See V for Vendetta, the 2006 dystopian thriller set in London.
We ventured on a collective exercise of creating painterly heads with Dee. I felt that she was sharing something so direct from her practice; what she makes and how she makes it. I felt that here we have an opportunity to do it ourselves and try and understand, if not relate to the artwork. We were, of course, at one level, just engaged in the creation of painterly heads. On another level, it was a shared experience in a conversation with Dee to try and understand her work and ourselves, perhaps in the context of what she creates and a different way to learn. And what difference does it make, if any? Well, we became stimulated with the conversation about the ‘artists at Play’ and the ‘artists exploring Play’; of ‘there is no such thing as a mistake’ and ‘you never know what you are going to get’ and creating can be ‘an unknown quantity’, as if as if time was unlimited. Even though sometimes these are much understood phrases, it feels good to hear it perhaps, over and over again. Craig from Moving Forward drew reference to the concept of ‘Occupational Play’ and Occupational Flow’ as explored by Gary Kielhofner. “Flow” is that place where you are so engaged in what you are doing that time seems to disappear. See Kielhofner’s article ‘Model of Human Occupation’, which presents a current overview of the theory and application of the Model of Human Occupation.
Also Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.