Tag Archives: Painting

‘Of This World’ and ‘Ekphrasis’

Looking back on 2017 I am very pleased with these two books: ‘Of This World: 48 Haibun’ (Red Moon Press, 2017), and ‘Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word’  in collaboration with Maria Pierides (Fruit Dove Press, 2017).

If you have liked any of the books please think of adding a review or a few stars on Amazon.

If you haven’t read them and you’d like to purchase a copy, please contact me via the contact form here, or Fruit Dove Press for ‘Ekphrasis’.

For copies ‘Of This World’: Amazon UK 

Amazon DE 

USA: Red Moon Press

Of This World, Ekphrasis,

Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word

Great news! Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word, the book accompanying the eponymous forthcoming exhibition at King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales, is now ready, hot off the press, and available to order!

Fruit Dove Press says:

21751955_10154607584357271_6430121091860266218_n

We are pleased to announce the publication of Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word by Maria Pierides and Stella Pierides.

Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word presents 24 new paintings by Maria Pierides – and a response to each of these paintings in haiku, the shortest of poetic forms, by Stella Pierides.

From the back cover:

Stay awhile, travel the paintings, hear the echoes in between, and tell your own story too.

Alan Summers President, United Haiku and Tanka Society, co-founder, Call of the Page 

I highly recommend this book. Take time to look carefully at the paintings whilst letting the words float in your consciousness.

Robert Lamoon, Visual Storyteller and Curator

From Welsh Country Magazine:

Maria Pierides’ work is inspired by her surrounding landscape, cultural identity, history, myth, time – and poetry. Maria’s visual abstractions are the outcome of conversations with the artist’s being in a particular place at a given time, shortcuts of her lived experience in colour, in texture, in paint. The collaboration with Stella Pierides, who responds to the paintings with haiku, adds layers of meaning that expand in ever widening circles and offer new and unexpected inroads to the paintings. Between image and word; between substance, imagination, and reflection; and between the past and the present, a world resonates, inviting us to engage with the whole of our being.

Printed on 30 pages of pearl photo paper

For copies please email pieridesmaria@me.com
or fill out the Contact form on the Fruit Dove Press website: https://fruitdovepress.com/

UK: £18.00, incl. P&P
Europe: €20.00, incl. P&P
USA: $24.00, inl. P&P

*

Ekphrasis

Fruit Dove Press http://www.fruitdovepress.com

ISBN 978-3-944155-06-7

Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word

Over the past few months, I have been collaborating with artist and painter Maria Pierides on an ekphrastic project. The result is  Ekphrasis, the forthcoming exhibition at King Street Gallery, featuring 24 of Maria’s marvellous paintings together with my haiku responses to each of her paintings. A book of the exhibition will be available at the show.

King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales, announced the forthcoming event in Welsh Country Magazine:

M Pierides & S Pierides exhibition of paintings & poetry

A new exhibition which opens on 27th October in the Chate Room, King Street Gallery, showcases a dynamic new collaboration between painter Maria Pierides and poet Stella Pierides.

Delighted! So much looking forward to it! I copy below the full notice:

“Ekphrasis: Between image and word” presents new paintings by Maria Pierides – and a response to each of those paintings by Stella Pierides with haiku, the shortest of poetic forms. Maria Pierides’work is inspired by her surrounding landscape, cultural identity, history, myth, time – and poetry. Maria’s visual abstractions are the outcome of conversations with the artist’s being in a particular place at a given time, shortcuts of her lived experience in colour, in texture, in paint. The collaboration with Stella Pierides, who responds to the paintings with haiku, adds layers of meaning that expand in ever widening circles and offer new and unexpected inroads to the paintings. Between image and word; between substance, imagination, and reflection; and between the past and the present, a world resonates, inviting us to engage with the whole of our being. To coincide with her solo show at King Street Gallery, Maria is working on a book featuring a selection of paintings with the haiku written in response to them. King Street Gallery artist Matt Pearce said:

“Despite having been showing at KSG for less than a year, Maria’s work already has an extraordinary following at the Gallery because of its unique emotional impact.

We are very excited about Maria’s forthcoming exhibition which adds to her paintings a response – in poetry – by Stella Pierides,
which will inspire a new dialogue around the paintings.”

Ekphrasis,painting,haiku,

A private view takes place at King Street Gallery on Friday, the 27th of October from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Maria and I would be pleased to see you there. The exhibition runs until 16th Nov.

For more information about King Street Gallery please visit: http://www.kingstreetgallery.co.uk

International Haiku Poetry Day 2015

In 2015, The Haiku Foundation celebrates haiku on a global scale, encompassing the work and achievements of haiku poets from around the world. From this year on, International Haiku Poetry Day (IHPD), replacing the THF’s National Haiku Poetry Day, becomes the biggest celebration of haiku poetry word wide. On April 17 each year, haiku poets, haiku poetry fans, and organisations will be getting together under the auspices of the THF in order to honour the depth, reach, creativity, and joy of the genre we have come to love.

For this year, the Foundation has organised a series of events, from local haiku readings and celebrations, over HaikuLife, a FilmFest showcasing work submitted by individuals and organisations, to EarthRise, a rolling collaborative poem.

On April 17th, 2015, from 12:01 A.M. at the International Date Line, a wave of haiku contributions begins and rolls throughout the day, with poets offering their haiku at dawn their local time. The finished collaboration, on the theme of Light, will be permanently archived on the THF site.

I am very much looking forward to the day, and the many exciting contributions from poets around the globe. I will be setting my alarm, and posting my own haiku to the inaugural EarthRise.

I am also delighted that the FilmFest, HaikuLife, features a short film of my haiku together with paintings by Alfred Wallis (from the excellent Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, collection). I created this film with the (much appreciated) support of Rob Ward, After-Effects Artist and Animator. Besides my presentation, there are at least 12 other contributions by haiku poets and organisations, amounting to almost 90 minutes of film.

I hope you will be able to join in the fun on IHPD.

For times, url, and other information about HaikuLife and EarthRise, as well as the local (to the US) readings, please visit the Troutswirl blog at The Haiku Foundation site.

Update April17, 2015

Happy International Haiku Poetry Day, folks! Contribute your poems to EarthRise, watch the HaikuLife films, go to the readings, enjoy the day!

My short film, Haiku Journey, is shown today — together with a number of other films — and will be permanently archived on the Haiku Foundation site. Please see here

For an introduction to the Foundation HaikuLife project, and the list of all projects shown, please click

Alfred Wallis at Kettle’s Yard

Wallis,Kettle's Yard,haiku,painting,I’ve loved Alfred Wallis’s paintings for a long time, having encountered them only in books and postcards. Now, on Sunday January 11, 2015, I had the good fortune to see a number of them in real life, as part of Jim and Helen Ede’s collection, at Kettle’s Yard House, Cambridge. The compelling immediacy, directness and force of the paintings astonished me, and started me musing about the reasons for this appeal.

Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) was a fisherman from the age of nine, turned painter at nearly seventy. Born in Devonport, Wallis later moved to Penzance and St Ives. He only started painting after his wife died, at the suggestion of his neighbour, a grocer who gave him cardboard from his shop to paint on. Painting was his company, he said.

He was ‘discovered’ by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood who arranged for his work to be included in London exhibitions and to become known in the art world. Wallis’s career took off, with some critics considering him to be the most original and inspiring British naive painter of the twentieth century. Wallis himself remained the person he’d always been, and kept living the simple life he had always lived by the sea. His work speaks of the sea and the boats, the lighthouses, the marine life he knew and remembered.

Jim Ede, quoted in ‘Kettle’s Yard and Its Artists’ (Kettle’s Yard Publications), noted that about Wallis:

“Though he is always drawing the same ships, the same houses, the same water, each of his paintings is a new experience… He does not set about to enclose his vision, his thought, into some preconceived scheme of colour or design… with Wallis design comes, with its subtly variant lines and spaces, not with experience of drawing or painting, but from closeness, almost identification with the thing he is drawing.”

Similarly, Ben Nicholson wrote that, to Wallis,

“paintings were never paintings, but actual events” —

and this it seems is what Wallis himself was attempting to do. He had a directness of approach; he eschewed perspective, and an object’s scale was often based on its relative importance to him in the painting – some of his fish, for instance, are larger than the fishing boats; some birds bigger than the tree branches on which they perch. Houses slide perilously down slopes, ready to fall into each other, and the waves appear the way he might have seen them as a teenager when on board ship to Newfoundland. Wallis’s perspective is emotional, is experiential, certainly not a draughtsman’s perspective.

ranunculous,Kettle's Yard,A viewer’s dip into the moment as experienced by the painter… a resonance with the thing depicted—which is ‘other’ because we are different, and, at the same time, ‘familiar’ because we are human, sharing the same world, the same reality—a willingness to share the painter’s focus of attention, through which selected objects (fish, birds, houses) are foregrounded and magnified… Are we not getting closer to the experience of haiku? Isn’t this a link to the interplay between Wallis’s style of painting and haiku? Instead of paint as the medium, in haiku, language expresses the experience. Without embellishment, linguistic trickery, and without, or only minimal punctuation, haiku in its brevity sets the stage for an experience by the reader resonating with the moment the writer captures.

Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge has the largest collection of Wallis’s paintings, thanks to Jim and Helen Ede, who over a period of ten years bought Wallis’s work. They donated their collection, together with their wonderful house, to Cambridge University.

You best explore all the works by Alfred Wallis at Kettle’s Yard, in the context of the collections in the house the Ede’s put lovingly together. Alternatively, if you are not able to visit, you can take a look at his work online

Well worth a real or virtual visit. Or both, as I am now doing.

Malevich at Tate Modern

For the first time since his death in 1935, Malevich’s work is featured at the Tate Modern. Fresh, moving, as well as full of movement, confident, it is a work that touches the viewer, questions and carries her away with confidence. It did me! I liked the tagline: The man who liberated painting.

Malevich, Dynamic Suprematism 1916I know the abstract expressionists in particular are said to have done this, but here is a whole new storyline. This exhibition shows the history of a free spirit, in art anyway, seeking the path to a new art: art freed from the obligation to equal reality, allowing colour and form to interact freely. Unlike Kandinsky, who made them sing in elaborate combinations, Malevich painted geometrical shapes in floating, superimposed, juxtaposed relationships; above all, squares and circles of pure colour.

Out of habit, I note that Malevich was the first of fourteen children, only nine of whom survived; that his family were refugees from Poland, fleeing events at home; that poverty and having to move often, were part of his personal history. All this may well have had an impact on his search for an alternative world and a different way of seeing things. In a post about inequality, these personal details become signposts, showing some of the routes unequal paths may take.
Experiencing the world from this perspective may be, partly at least, behind works, such as those shown here:

“paintings that do not picture the world, yet speak of (and extend) its infinite variety with a visual language all of their own. It is an art of utter originality.”

Malevich’s initial enthusiastic support of the Leninist revolutionaries could also have been fired by this wish to create a new world. He freely gifted his new art of Suprematism to the revolutionary regime, that, seeking to overcome the chasm between rococo Tsarist Russia and the revolution of the people, sought new ways of seeing, of expression, of being.

Jonathan Keats, writing in Forbes, says that when the Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein visited Vitebsk in 1920, he was surprised to find

“buildings were painted white and brashly embellished with bright orange squares, blue rectangles, and green circles. The artist behind this carnival of color was none other than Kazimir Malevich – founder of Suprematism – who was teaching at the local art school … bringing art to the people.”

Here was reality being defined and changed by art. Here was an artist’s l(eye)ns, lens, producing its way of seeing the world. The Forbes contributor points out the similarity with Banksy, and his creations on the walls of San Francisco’s Mission District;  and of course, there is the graffiti at London’s South Bank.

South Bank graffiti,

Not only exteriors, but interiors too were being defined by the new world. Malevich’s symbols were painted on china and crockery; when materials and resources were scarce, the old china of Tsarist times were recycled: the new motifs of triangles and squares being painted on top. The experience of inequality in Tsarist Russia led millions of people to seek a new world of symbols, untainted by the past.

But there was disillusionment too. The Stalinist regime following Lenin’s, forbade the creation of abstract art, and even imprisoned Malevich. There was a time of not painting. Then a new Malevich emerged, a new way of doing things. In his new work, without the abstraction that was forbidden, representational painting appeared. In it, Laura Cumming notes,

“There are poignant souvenirs of Malevich’s radical past if you look – the future, as it might have been, in the blacksmith’s vibrant uniform, in the wild clothes he gives the Russian workers, in the triangles jigsawed together in his 1933 self-portrait. But this self-portrait is otherwise so like the one that opens this show, painted more than 20 years earlier, as to measure the loss. All that remains of this brief, brave adventure is the secret motif in place of a signature – a tiny black square.”

Actually, I liked Malevich’s new ways. The first time round, in his developing Suprematism, freedom fizzed out of his painting. This time, restrained, yes, by the prohibitive regime, by time, by other factors too. But it seems to me, on this visit, that these restraints added a new dimension to his work. The portraits I saw at the Tate exhibition’s last room, were not limited by, but smouldered with restraint and pathos; there was much condensed emotion, history, reference, symbolism to fully engage. Would Malevich have created these works without the benefit of his later years? Without his experiences, good and bad, at the center of changing times?

Without wanting to simply attribute the spurt of creativity and genius to inequality and misfortune — far from it — I would not wish to ignore their existence and possible role in Malevich’s later work either. In any case, I think he made it new, for a second time.

This post is part of a series of articles on the theme of Inequality, written for Blog Action Day 2014:

Phylida Barlow at Tate Britain

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain

Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain

Recently I visited the Frank Auerbach display of 15 paintings and 29 drawings at the Tate Britain, selected by his fellow painter and friend, Lucian Freud. The collection was offered by the Lucian Freud estate, and accepted by the British Government, in lieu of inheritance tax.

The group of paintings is of international artistic importance and a good ’teaser,’ anticipating a major Tate retrospective planned for 2015.

A fine group of works, including one of my favorites, Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, 1962.

What a fantastic, bold show of both, imagination and brushwork, deep feeling and insightful depiction of psychologically layered scenes. The same subjects — Julia, his wife; Estella, his mistress; Jake, his son; Mornington Crescent — visited again and again, let the viewer get intimately acquainted with, as well as intrigued by them. Born in 1931 in Berlin, Auerbach came to England in 1939 and has lived and painted in London since. A London painter, and a painter of London, Auerbach has gone under the skin of the capital, making it the prime set of his work. If not Auerbach, then who else captures the energy and multifarious burdens carried by London’s inhabitants so realistically?

In an interview by Hannah Rothschild, Auerbach, from what has been his tiny home and studio since 1954, opens up about his work and life. Surprisingly, a sparse and spare studio and frugal life are juxtaposed to and contrasted with his many-layered, rich encrustations of paint in his work. The charcoal paintings are also ‘rich’ in depth and insight that feels both, inquiring and haunting. I left the room intrigued by his work, troubled, and at the same time, strangely satisfied by his profound achievement. Reading Rothschild’s interview later, I found this which rang true:

“So why does Auerbach paint the same face, the same view over and over again? Wouldn’t it be interesting to try a new landscape or a different nose? Auerbach shakes his head. ‘The closer one is to something, the more likely it is to be beautiful,’ he says. ‘The whole business of painting is very much to do with forgetting oneself and being able to act instinctively. I find myself simply more engaged when I know the people. They get older and change; there is something touching about that, about recording something that’s getting on.’ Amid the frenzy of paint and energy it can be hard to spot the person in an Auerbach portrait. ‘Likeness is a very complicated business indeed,’ he says. ‘If something looks like a painting it does not look like an experience; if something looks like a portrait it doesn’t really look like a person’.”

Well, here’s food for thought.

peas in a pod —

thick brushwork layers

the light

.

The interview can be found here

‘blue moon’ haiku in 3 languages

blue moon

why am I reminded

of Mount Fuji?

.

in French:

.

lune bleue –

pourquoi me rappelle-t-elle

le mont Fuji ?

.

and in Romanian :

.

lună albastră

de ce îmi aminteşte

de Muntele Fuji ?

.

I wrote this haiku as a response to the painting  by André Derain: Mountains at Collioure, 1905, posted on FB by  Virginia Popescu (see here).

Virginia very kindly, and enthusiastically, translated my haiku into French and Romanian! Once again, thank you, Virginia! I like this idea!

You can see Virginia Popescu and other poets’ responses to paintings, and indeed contribute to her project yourself, on her FB page here

Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds at the Tate

Seed Painting

I visited Ai Weiwei’s sculptural installation Sunflower Seeds at  Tate Modern just after they stopped the public walking through the field of seeds at the Turbine Hall. Like many others, I found myself feeling disappointed. The seeds looked beyond my reach (I had looked forward to walking on them, listening to their crunching sound), and pale compared to those in the pictures I had seen. A message in front of the installation explained that Tate had been advised that interaction with the installation (such as visitors walking on the seeds) could cause dust to be emitted which could be dangerous to health.

I stood in front of the pale mass of more than one hundred million seeds on the floor feeling lost, thinking that had they glazed the seeds, I would now be walking on them! At the same time, knowing something about clay, I could understand the concern. So there I was, standing perplexed and disapointed, being faced with a case of dust to dust, or rather, dust, clay, ceramic seed, dust, with a short interval in between.

Then my eye caught the video screens right next to the seeds, and my whole experience took another turn! A fab-fun-fantastic video tracing the creation of the seeds – from the mixing of the clay to the forming of the seeds, the painting and firing and selecting the best seeds – the stories of the craftspeople in it were engaging and the colors, the scenes both breathtaking and remarkably informative.

I loved the idea of the amount of co-operative work that went into producing the installation. A whole community – more than 1600 people of Jingdezhen, a Chinese city with 1700-year-old history of porcelain manufacturing: it is known as the Porcelain capital – was involved in creating something together (the porcelain seeds), something that gave them employment, as well as purpose and community spirit. If the sunflower seeds symbolize the people of China, as suggested, then these symbols have been lovingly created and treated with respect.

Seed PickingStanding there, in front of the video images, next to the seeds and the playing of the visitors’ videos, it occurred to me that the Tate installation consisted of the seeds and the video together. That they were inseparable. No, more than that. That the seeds, the video, the dust, the message about the danger from clay dust (after all, which potter/ceramic artist has not heard of this hazard?), even the interactive videos made by visitors to the Gallery addressing the artist Ai Weiwei, all were part of the same installation! After all, Ai Weiwei is an interactive performance artist, merging life and art. I still believe that this is the case. Even if unintended, unconscious, a chance happening, I think even retrospectively, the lot belongs together.

In an article “From Seeds to Dust” Ulara Nakagawa alluded to the dust possibly belonging to the installation. I consider the Seeds installation as offering the possibility of a total/comprehensive/whole art work, where the art object consists of multiple layers: tangible visible object(s), sound, video, text, interaction with the artist, and an ongoing archiving of the viewers’ experience and thinking in their communication with the artist. After all, the Tate tells us: “…what you see is not what you see, and what you see is not what it means.” Well done, Ai Weiwei!

Girl

Girl

I wrote this poem in response to the painting titled Woman by Robert Campin. The painting can be found in the National Gallery, London. Here is the link: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/robert-campin-a-woman

My poem, Girl, can be found in the print Journal Off the Coast, International/Translation Issue, Spring 2009.

Girl

after ‘Woman’ by Robert Campin, 1378-1444, National Gallery

She rarely smiles. A thick, white veil
frames her face, stops her innocence
from straying too far;
remembering the world outside.

Here she lives, here she is
and here she stays: four walls,
bench, Bible, rosary, Cross,
pair of clogs, glass, pebble,
compass, chair, table.

She would be lost, but
for her little pleasure:
a bowl of coconut ice
refectory Sister leaves
on her windowsill.

'Girl,' in Off the Coast