Clyde

Tuesday 14 June 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

“All works of art start as potential. Similarly, all relationships start as potential. When I meet a person I try and see not their mask, with its defenses, but what’s underneath. I get accused of refusing to acknowledge who a person is choosing to be right now. When that person is arrogant or rude or selfish then my friends say, “Clyde!!!!!! THIS is what this LOSER is about.” But I say, hold on people, this is only what this person THINKS they are about. So this so-called Loser person is confused. But if no one sees their potential then they may not ever see it themselves and that would be tragic.” (CD booklet)

“You could say I inhabit them, the pictures. There is a police Inspector, an attractive woman who drops by every time we have a new installation launch. What goes through her mind, I don’t know. What kind of authority does she represent? Does she dig misjudgement? I would like to think so. Every given situation could have a more positive outcome if all involved could step into their potential. What holds us back? I wonder about this a lot.

But I know in my heart that a person can change all because we don’t just give up on them. It takes patience. And can be beyond frustrating. Giving people a second chance or the opportunity to do the right thing has always been my way. Is it disappointing? It can be, yes. There are moments when people I care about will choose the ugly response. Maybe they become consumed with their own blind desire and could care less who they take down as a result. What a result. Have I accredited a person with far more benevolent characteristics than they deserve? The future has shown me this is a fact. My friends are not disposable or replaceable. I would like to think I’m a decent listener. When a friend phones up and goes, ‘You got a minute?’ I don’t think they necessarily want my two cents worth. They may just need to vent. That’s just what friendships are about... not having to fix a situation there and then. I know they just need me to be a sounding board. That’s all really.

I am more aware than ever that a lot of my friends are opiniated about art. An artist’s work will come in and if I’m honest I may not be responding to their way of expression. But then I figure maybe it’s me. Then after hours and days of living with their works, the art begins to articulate itself and I begin relating to it. Whatever the format, if a piece of art has made it this far then I want to formalize that particular artwork’s identity in my own mind. If I’m not excited by an installation that arrives here, before I make critiscism, I force myself to look from all angles. And Pip will say to me, ‘C’mon Clyde. Tjis artwork, if you can wall it that, is absolute RUBBISH and a rape of a perfectly decent tree. If you can be objective “this artist” in reality should be arrested for molesting a forest.’ And I’ll burst out laughing. The absolute truth is that more often than not, if I can apply the art of patience, eventually I do become privy to the secrets of the art.” (American Doll Posse tourbook)

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Arguing with people is a waste of precious time. Fine you can be right if that’s what you need to be. I’m off. Usually I go to this private gallery where I work right now. Surrounded by art all day takes me to places that I have never seen. All works of art start as potential. Similarly, all relationships start as potential. When I meet a person I try and see not their mask, with it’s defences, but what’s underneath. I get accused of refusing to acknowledge who a person is choosing to be right now.

When that person is arrogant or rude or selfish then my friends say, "Clyde!!!!!! THIS is what this LOSER is about." But I say, hold on people..... this is only what this person THINKS they are about. Some of my friends, I know this for a fact, see this quality as a weakness.... a
naive approach to life. But you see I don’t think it is sound judgement to close the window for change to anybody. So this so called Loser person is confused. But if no one sees their potential then they may not ever see it themselves and that would be tragic. I can get lost in a picture and found again. After a painting has revealed its secrets to me, I am a woman changed forever.

The coveted job of working on the project "Women Artists: Late 20th and Early 21st Century" has kept me busy over the last many months. Featuring Minimal Art, Op Art, Performance Art, Media Art and Interactive Installations, and Artisan Handicraft to name but a few.
Although I have had the opportunity to work on women’s installations in the past, the exposure I have had to the vision of these women has shaken me from slumber.

Paper strips coated with wax transparently hang.... covering a huge space and stops me in my tracks. The drawings of trains, a chain link fence, a cityscape rendered with precision. The order of Toba Khedoori calms me.

The merging of cultures in the paintings by Mona Marsouk brings together the future and the past the east and the west that proves there can be a synthesis of the global dilemma that we have to wake up to and face daily.

The love I have for art was bred in me by my grandmother, affectionately known as Gran. Her father had taught her how to
look at art being an art critic himself and encouraged her study in painting. He of all people understood the plight of women painters. He would always take her to watch painters create and encourage her to take out her sketchpad that she carried everywhere. By the end of a workday he would come back and pick her up after she had been the mascot of that particular artist’s studio for the day. This is how she really developed her stunning technique, by allowing the masters to tell her their secrets. Because this was before the second world war, Paris was teeming with painters and sculptors.... most of whom my grandfather got on with famously.

So the story goes, his uncle had been teaching at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture until the wave of the impressionists divided the art world in France in the nineteenth century.

Apparently his allegiance to the new movement of Impressionism alienated him from many of his colleagues. Uncle Claude, as Gran would call him, secured a position eventually at the Salon des Independents which was established in 1884. He lived to embrace PostImpressionism and Symbolism. Lots of isms...
Since that time someone in the family has been involved in the growth of independent galleries throughout France.

A cousin of mine outside of Paris has most of Gran’s work saved for the generations to come. A thought of Gran and her other female contemporaries enters my mind when I am surrounded by modern women artists. The struggles that these women endured remind me of how far the woman’s art movement has come and how far it still has to go. When I think of Lizzie Sidel in her struggle to be recognized as an artist in the mid to late 19th Century, it reminds me of the inequalities that women painters and sculptors have had to endure. The wealth now of art from women has not solely been shaped by the desires of men but from a back catalogue of women artists of the past. Women expressing and reacting to different emotions being liberated even indirectly by WW II were artists the likes of Leonora Carrington, Meret Oppenheim, Ithell Colquhoun, Toyen [Marie Cerminova], Tamara de Lempicka to name but a few. These women among others gave the world a new way of defining female sexuality. I can see the inspiration that these artists have had on some of even the most controversial female artists that are in the present exhibition that is about ready to open. Soon now, very soon now. Every breath of mine is devoted to this opening.

The museum has had all kinds of threats from different religious groups, (too many to name) from just pure ignorance. One of my best friends dropped by and security called me down. As I let her in past the protesters she exclaimed in disbelief, "Clyde, Dahling, can you imagine me, ME wanting an invite to the museum, But HONEY, this is the bomb."

Nonononononononononono just rushed out of my mouth louder than I intended, but security backed off as I pulled my friend away whispering, "Just don’t say the word bomb."

Posted by Clyde at 3:26 PM 74 comments
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