Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Atonement and Artland USA

I usually avoid programmes about contemporary art or going to experience contemporary art in buildings because it reminds me of the adequacy and limitations of what I do. Today waiting for Atonement to begin I watched Artland USA in which Toby Amies travels the USA looking at artists and their art and their were two successive visits which impressed me greatly. The first was to an artist who continuous creates pictures on a large expanse of sand using a rake or how. The pictures exist only from period when the sand is wet enough to create the work until the tide irradiates them and such is his commitment and enthusiasm for the work that he does not always climb where the entirety can be viewed and if wished photographed. This is homo sapiens creating art in the way the prehistorically beings attempted to engage with their environment in .a creative way. A similar approach although his work has longer physicality is someone brought up on a farm who realised at art school that he was not going to become a creative painter and has since created canvasses on agricultural land portraits and scenes using flowers and vegetables and where the creation evolves as part of the landscape, susceptible to weather conditions and the frailty of plants in relation to the forces of nature. Had I not paid to view Atonement before it left the box office screens I would have used the time to view the whole programme and then any others if they are available on line or at least to check on future availability.

Atonement is a good film but not a great film. I have not read the novel on which it is based. It interest me not as a film but as the work of a creative writer who as an adolescent misinterprets the behaviour of adults with disastrous consequences which results in one young man being ruined and beings sent to prison for rape of a 15 year old guest relative, and her elder sister who has fallen in sexual love with the young man, cutting herself off from the family. As a consequence of the Second World War the young man is able to enlist and has brief contact with his faithful and loyal lover before falling victim at Dunkirk and his lover and friend also meets an untimely ended as a consequence of another historically accurate event. It is only in later life that the young girl who was the author of the imprisonment of the young man and separation from his true love is able to face the truth of her actions and she uses to book to seek Atonement for her actions and to achieve a happy ending for the couple.

This is the core of my own work but where there is no pretending about myself and the implication of my thoughts and actions however unintentional and subject to the forces of human and physical nature. Because of this much of my work is confidential and will remain so although it is part of the whole work, much is also open and public although I use the work and experience of others as well as my intellectual and emotional response to their work and their lives to project and represent the confidential dimension.

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