Friday, 25 January 2013

Water Rail, Linocut, Holocaust Memorial

Today's stroll around Winnall Moors produced very close views of the squealing Water Rail I have heard here on many occasions. A male Sparrowhawk was flushed from a tree as I walked beneath it, leaving me to watch its rear-view as it flew to a distant tree-top, and the neon-blue flash of a Kingfisher's back darted along the stream.
My drawing today left me thinking I need to try a different implement. The drawing pen is a bit limited when it comes to dramatic scenes like this tree reflected in the water. I need something with which to make broader darker, gestural marks - charcoal perhaps? I will have to attempt this subject again with another medium.

My time in the studio today will be spent completing an edition of twelve prints from a linocut I made late last year.

This was the first linocut I had attempted since about 1985. It is based on a drawing I made on an eleven mile circular walk on Holocaust Memorial Day 2012. It marks the continuation of a sequence of work about 'Nothing' which included the Holocaust Memorial Day Walk and a piece of text from a 'brain-dump' about all the things that would not exist if nothing had ever existed:  

No pen, No paper, No hands, No body, No apostrophes misplaced or otherwise, No punctuation, No trains, No clothes, No sun, No clouds, No rain, No squeaking doors, No ominous signs, No footsteps across a floor, No floor, No announcements, No customer information, No hunger, No love, No longing, No wonder, No way, No chance, No songs, No music, No smiles, No happiness, No birds, No animals, No pets, No fruit, No chocolate, No food, No beer, No alcohol, No drink, No glass, No windows, No glances from a stranger on a train, No grass, No trees, No hills, No fields, No farming, No industry, No money, No words, No language, No poetry, No literature, No inquiry, No science, No ideas, No absolute zero, No algebra, No fashion, No theology, No religion, No politics, No imagination, No imitation, No recording, No art, No sea,
No islands, No soil, No land, No unfathomable distances, No space between, No planets, No stars, No dust, No insects, No trace, No life, No sex, No joy, No me, No you, No people, No cities, No room at the inn, No silk, No fabric, No dancing, No elements, No philosophy, No purpose, No being, No source, No objective, No death, No cause, No effect, No time, No delight, No fear, No hate, No Daily Mail, No suspicion, No touch, No vision, No intricate design, No mind, No thought, No intelligence, No beginning, No end, No Holocaust, No progress, No disappointment, No aspiration, No Bananas, No Woman, No Cry, No Quarter, No Satisfaction, No necessity, No worries, No doubt, No heaven, No hell, No fishing, No running, No petting, No horseplay, No play, No colour, No light, No texture, No laws of physics, No laws of thermodynamics,
No sleep, No Glastonbury, No sanity clause, No mortgage, No good, No evil, No right, No wrong, No up, No down, No Night at the opera, No Holy Bible, No Hendrix, No Picasso, No Nietzsche, No myth, No story, No history, No guesswork, No cheating, No looking, No illusions, No Bach, No conception, No Blues, No Déjà Vu, No fun, No surprises, No use, No regrets, No war, No famine, No chuggers, No Tottenham Hotspur, No Jimmy Greaves, No hidden patterns, No meaning, No attraction, No chemistry, No male, No female, No plumbing, No communication, No misunderstanding, No friendship, No rivalry, No theatre, No comic timing, No point, No education, No improvement, No Funkadelic, No faith, No beauty, No parallel universe, No multiverse, No mathematics, No marriage, No family, No place like home, No dictatorial regimes, No prison, No freedom, No distress,
No euphoria, No dustmen, No enormous feeling of wellbeing, No terror, No surrender, No empire, No setting-sun, No Fellowship of the Ring, No Beatitudes, No Gethsemane, No Calvary, No Pentecost, No Apocalypse, No magick, No self, No other, No relativity, No water-lilies, No night, No day, No future, No random acts of kindness, No hugs, No blind panic, No Subterranean Homesick Blues, No ice, No parking, No evolution, No single-cell organisms, No sweat, No atoms, No sub-atomic particles, No quantum mechanics, No Bakerloo Line, No Boot and Flogger, No Monty Python, No heroic failures, No Charge of the Light Brigade, No lullaby, No revolution, No law of Moses, No Plato, No democracy, No pork scratchings in the Star Tavern, No Queen Mother Reservoir, No Father Ted, No guilt, No precautionary principle, No global warming, No gold, No greed, No inequality, No slaughter of the innocents, No rolling downland, No short-cropped grass, No syklarks,
No problem, No trouble, No sympathy, No qualms, No mysticism, No conjecture, No painstaking research, No fantasy, No journeys, No decompression chambers, No exploration, No Freddie Mercury, No coming home in time for tea, No Particular Place to Go, No numbers, No rainbows, No fire, No air, No Gibson Les Paul, No Leica lenses, No alibis, No Glossy Ibises, No self-control, No revision timetables, No new year resolutions, No thinking outside the box, No 1966 World Cup Final, No Wild Horses, No Song of Wandering Aengus, No new arrivals, No departures, No angels, No rain forest, No Amélie, No cancer, No peace, No Steinway pianos, No electricity, No gas, No nuclear weapons, No logos, No British Library, No Foyles, No illuminated manuscripts, No pyramids, No Swan Lake, No seed drill, No Jethro Tull, No diving bells, No butterflies, No discovery, No Joshua Tree, No Ayers Rock, No Dreamtime, No ancestors, No Syd Barrett, No thing, Nothing. 

I showed this block of text mounted as an A3 poster at an exhibition last year in the Student Union at Winchester. I found a visitor reading it and explained that it was a catalogue of some of the things that occurred to me that wouldn't exist if nothing had ever existed. There are good things and bad things on the list. I suggested our task, should we choose to accept it, is to increase the number of good things that exist and reduce the bad things. She burst into tears.

Holocaust Memorial Day is officially on 27th January and in Winchester it is being marked as part of 'Space for Peace' an inter-faith event at Winchester Cathedral, where I will be joining with other artists in a meditative performance(about which, more later). In an age when world leaders and powerful political blocks are again denying that the Holocaust happened, including denying the systematic industrial-scale genocide of 6 million Jews. We should remember the Jewish Holocaust especially because it has become unpopular in liberal circles to commemorate it. We should also educate ourselves about other massive crimes against humanity such as those under Stalin resulting in an estimated 20 million deaths, and the more recent horrific genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur... It continues to be vital that we remember and mark these repulsive episodes in the history of our civilisation; that we do not forget that we all have the potential to follow leaders into inhumanity and to obey orders or simply turn a blind eye, for a quiet life. Perhaps the time to object is when we see small-scale scapegoating going on in our own national politics - if we don't speak out then - when will we? Little things precede big things. 

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