Art and how we imprint ourselves on the world…

Art and and creativity often leads to more art and creativity. This, I feel, isn’t always incestuous (although it can be) and can be produce some interesting results. Another week and another interesting idea…
This week there is an exhibition by a local group of artists here in Norwich called ‘The Lonely Arts Club’. It is at the Stew Gallery in Fishergate for those of you who are local, and there is an interesting mix of artists and styles. And I love a good gallery.
I write about this because a friend of mine, Jayne Mcconnell, is exhibiting some of her amazing print work. And while I was looking at her pictures and the description that she writes about her work I started thinking, which is always a good thing. Her art-work inspires the writer in me.
Her pictures involve making imprints of clothing. That in itself sounds simple enough, but the print process is a complicated one, full of craft and one that I don’t fully understand. It is almost like a form of alchemy. But Jayne does not just pick any old clothes to print, each piece is carefully chosen and cherished, as she explains herself:

The objects, mainly dresses, are often old or vintage, vibrating stories and histories of previous occupants. Sewn up in these garments is the yearning and fear for the loss of beauty and craft in the production of them. How these garments become special and resonate their own mysteries becomes more apparent when seen as a collective.

When etched, these clothes are often referred to as a black and white negatives, or stills from a retrospective film. More profoundly: having the appearance of X-rays of others lives. These illuminate past histories and life styles, throwing out a rope connecting the waists of the present with that of the past.

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Apart from the fact that these art works are things of great beauty, it is this idea that they ‘resonate’ that gets me thinking; that they could be X-rays of past lives. I love the idea that objects from the past could be imbued with the yearnings, fears and maybe even memories of their previous owners or occupants. As if each one of us is imprinting our lives, loves and hopes on the world around us.
Jayne’s beautiful work seems to encapsulate some of that feeling for me, although you really have to see it in person to feel the full effect.
Is the physical world some kind of empathic recording device? I really don’t know…but…yet again that sounds like another good idea for a story; another science fiction story perhaps? What do you think?

To see more of Jayne McConnell’s wonderful prints – click here

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© 2012 Simon Poore

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