Deep thought of the day, what are you reaching for?

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As I write the title I suddenly realise many people may be reaching for the end of the working week, the bottle, the next bar of chocolate, the next holiday. We do all reach for that comfort but what are we blocking out.

I have been a bit pre occupied these last couple of weeks not blocked with writer’s block but literally with ‘block’ blocks in researching minecraft parties. I am going all out this year with a Minecraft themed home party for our soon to be 8-year-old. Family birthdays, lots of sculpture events happening and a very busy sculptor means I find it harder to sit and write. Perhaps, just an excuse really however as this next week is half term I am trying to get this written before having the boys and really no time for writing.

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‘Reaching’ by Sam Shendi outside the studio

I have had a few conversations recently about ambition. What it means and why some of us have it and some of us seem to lack it. In conversations with my husband I reach for the dictionary. I must have had the foresight to know it would be useful to request it from a dear friend when we got married and she wanted gift suggestions. The definition of ambition is ‘an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honour, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment’.

My husband thinks he wasn’t ambitious as a child. He didn’t aim to achieve what he has achieved thus far more a determination to better his situation perhaps. In my mind he is definitely ambitious to fulfil a dream but more crucially has the unbelievable determination to strive for its attainment. Meanwhile, I like being in the presence of that ambition and almost make it become my own in many ways but  power, honour, fame, wealth have very little interest for me. I don’t have the drive to reach further or the ability to sustain any determination not for things materialistically. I have a very circular way of thinking. Say like taking a further step my writing into writing a book then I wonder why? for what reason? My mind goes into a spiral of being able to talk myself out of it.

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‘Reaching’ can be seen at Newby Hall, Ripon. June-September ’15

We live in a world where success is often measured in material wealth and possessions. Although we do need those to a certain extent in this western world, aiming to achieve your dreams is something quite different. I guess it is all about purpose. What is our purpose in life. I am too much of a day-dreamer, my personal ambition is reaching into the realms of spiritualism, for something beyond this world…. but I guess it is ok to have these lofty ambitions when your husband is working hard on the ground!!  So this Friday thought is. What are we reaching for? Why are we reaching for it?

Yesterday the sculptor took this piece along with several others in a new collection to  Newby Hall, Ripon. N.Yorkshire. So if you are looking for some inspiration, a wander in the grounds of an 18th century house, something to do over the summer the exhibition will run from the 1st June ’15 until the end of the season – 27th September ’15. 

An answer to Moore’s Daughter; ‘all is not lost, there is form in Shendi’

Mother and Child, Old Masters, Public Art
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‘Mother and Child’ by Sam Shendi 2015

Two people very independently but both very close and beautiful souls sent me the article in The Guardian which Mary Moore (Henry Moore’s Daughter) states that Hirst has sent art back by 100 years. Perhaps they could see that the article would interest me on a number of levels.

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Mother and Child, from the back

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‘Mother and child’

Exploring the human figure, shape and ‘finding freedom within form’ are the focus of much of both sculptor’s pieces. Observing the human condition, using the human figure, reclining or mothers and child a link of the source of inspiration. In fact some of the earlier work of my husband’s has a very Moore like quality to it. But, dare I say  I believe my husband’s work continues the line of work that Moore started.

It is all about seeing things within that form and from different angles. Looking at the images of this piece every angle in a digital images looks like a different image. Like Mary says about her father’s work, about ‘exploring the invented object’ in front of you.’ In a modern 21st century contemporary setting with the addition of colour and focus on outline in an attempt of abandoning form as a mass, my husband’s work takes it to the next stage in development, thought process or idea. Yes artists like Damien Hirst may be relying on the title and have put the form back in the frame. However, there is always a reaction and response within the art world. Laconic titles such as ‘Mother and Child’ which my husband uses harps back to old masters such as Moore, giving you an indication to the form but allowing you to use your own imagination and interpretation for the rest.

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Mother – in yellow and pink, Child – red and blue

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‘Mother and Child’

We have become a two-dimensional digital age , a world of flat screens and it is why education is increasingly important about shape and form. Otherwise these skills will be lost. It was so interesting reading what Moore’s Daughter said about her childhood with her father as a sculptor, playing with clay, thinking about thees qualities of light, shape and space. I observe the boys interaction and how they relate to their father, the sculptor in similar ways. Although this winter the studio has been a little out-of-bounds, we are all looking forward to the sunnier warmer days of playing round the studio. In the article which was highlighting the new exhibition of Henry Moore’s work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Moore said she hoped the show would encourage people “to explore what is in front of them with an open mind and in a fresh way, so that they might re-evaluate or see things that they have never seen, understand things they have never understood. I hope it generates excitement about sculpture.” I think my husband’s work is creating small slow ripple of excitement in the art world and I really hope one day we will be able to get his work into Yorkshire Sculpture park. Seeing Shendi alongside Moore, what a spectacular way of seeing sculpture that would be.

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The shadows create additional images

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‘Section of Mother and Child’

The evolution of ‘Evolution’.

Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art

It has been a welcome break to be offline and unplugged for a month. However in today’s world I am not sure how possible it is to keep that up. We have evolved into an online society. So much  has been happening in the ‘Sculptural World’ I am not sure I can catch up with what has past. So will have to run with real-time and tell you what is happening today and coming up this month. In all things Yorkshire, we have two solo exhibitions happening locally.

This evening we open at Damside Mill ‘Evolution’ an exhibition about the journey of work over the last 14 years. An interesting collection of work from the bronze beginnings to the recent modern minimalism. Join us tonight for the preview:

flyer

At the same time ‘Evolution’ the sculpture has moved from its first location outside ‘The Royal British Sculpture Society’ and now stands proudly in Lister Park awaiting the accompaniment of two other larger piece for ‘Art in the Park’. We are also getting ready for the exhibition  ‘Only Human’ at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery which opens on August 13th and runs until February 2015. It seems serendipitous that I have been visiting this place since I was 10, worked there and last year our eldest son learnt to ride his bike in this exact spot. As a family we have been on a journey through this creative space. Would highly recommend a visit.

'Evolution' in Lister Park, Bradford

‘Evolution’ in Lister Park, Bradford

Ego, I go, grammar goes…

Publications, Steel

I don’t know if  ‘Ego, I go, grammar goes’ makes any sense, but as a title it sounded good to me. Spelling and grammar have never been my strong point. Perhaps I just keep telling myself that in order to remain lazy and nonchalant about it. Methodological thinking is not how my brain seems to work. I need to start making a conscious attempt to self correct and proof read a little more. It  annoys me when I see, ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ and ‘their’ and ‘there’ misused. So it’s quite worrying that I myself am doing it. There is obviously, therefore a handful of readers browsing my posts and pulling the grimace on their faces that I sometimes do. I guess it is a lesson in placing judgment. We should never judge others or criticise others of  behaviours or actions when we ourselves are not perfect. “When we think we’re perfect, we expect perfection from others. When we start to recognize our own weaknesses, we begin to be more forgiving of the weaknesses in others”. Yasmin Mogahed. So I apologies for my grammatical mistakes and that the grammar goes.. out of the window sometimes in my writing.

So in keeping with bad grammar…’I go’ everywhere yesterday looking for a magazine. Supermarkets, newsagent, shops and none of them have it. I then had an idea of going into a coffee shop and seeing if they have a copy. They have a stack and kindly give me three. As I walk back to the car flicking through it, I can’t find what I am looking for. I look back at the front cover. June 2014. It is June but perhaps I am needing the July issue. I give up and return home. All of this because that morning I bumped into a friend who tells me what really good coverage and images of my husband’s work.  I am not sure what she is talking about and then she explains he is in a local magazine. At home, I  casually tell my husband over brunch forgetting the ‘artist ego’ and so then he phones a friend to find out where we can get a copy, texts the photographer who writes back “it’s really good, I’ll drop a copy to you this week”. “This week” the sculptor can’t wait a moment longer. So I offer, I must make clear and I go on a hunt even though for me I only half understand the urgency. The artist ego has fully kicked in. “Ego might seem self centred but artists and writers need buoyant egos to go on working” Elizabeth Baines. 

I wrote the above this morning whilst my husband stood outside our business and two ladies boldly walked past with a ream of magazines distributing them to local business. I then had to wait until this evening to see it and read it.  Entitled “Body Art, a West Yorkshire sculptor is making a name for himself with head-turning works”.It’s an amazing three page spread with great images and lots of details and promotion. Even with a strip line on the front cover “Man of Steel” talk about massaging the ego and reinforcing the boys opinion of Baba! A few facts not quite right but ultimately a great piece. It even gives this site a little promotion, “Sam is married to a writer, who he says is “wholly supportive of my work” Her lively blog ‘The Sculptor’s Wife’ shares news about his work, as well as family life with Sam and their two sons”. In reading that it definitely buoyed up my ego though seeing the words ‘married to a writer” in black and white print feels a bit fraudulent. At what point do you become a writer? Can a writer own up to having have bad grammar? So, perhaps the ‘Ego’ is not a bad thing. Bad grammar, maybe.

 

Yorkshire Living, complimentary magazine (July 2014 edition) :

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Contrasts

Colour, Exhibitions

It’s London Fashion week, (so probably also in New York too..right?) I wouldn’t have known except for making the connection between the title of my husbands group exhibition this coming week. (Preview this evening) It’s just fashion baby, get over it! on at the Interchange Gallery London. There is a merging of fashion and art and also a dividing. The vocabulary, the networking, the ambition, the ‘worlds’ that fashion and art seem to create; a parallel reality. Like the way of life in London in comparison with Yorkshire.

My husband just called to tell me all about the preview, the setting was an exclusive hairdressers where he was shocked to see that a man’s hair cut would cost practically 10 times what it would do here. The vast difference between city and rural Yorkshire prices. Left wondering what they would do with his closely cut crop…he asked if there would there be a discount??? (Not that he was getting a cut this evening) Hard to imagine how an exhibition works in an alternative setting but it seems very much in vogue at the moment. The chatter and the buzz I could hear behind him, the hive of activity of cafe and restaurants open also contrasts with the silence I hear outside. Lots of men in suits he observed (perhaps those are the ones affording the overpriced coiffure cuts and most probably many people dressed in high fashion, affording it at what cost?

Think I would look a bit odd going to my play in the wood sessions in a Maria Grachvogel pair of trousers!

( The Girl Next Door )