The title of this post is extremely important to me. I was watching a recording of Matthieu Ricard’s talk on The Habits of Happiness, and he used these words. It was a profound moment for me in which I realised that this explains so much. My work is currently unfolding to me. The words also explain that process of a collaborative work being developed. It is also recognition that some works ‘speak’ more than others or have a more significant voice, but that this is personal and subjective: different works speak to different people in a multitude of ways. The process of exploring, extrapolating and unfolding feels more comfortable than the idea of unlearning, because I believe that this suggests something more innately anti. I do not wish to unlearn everything I have been taught. But there is so much more out there. I do not need to pigeon hole myself and say that to be an artist I must work in a certain way, or practice in only one media. Working in abstract painting this year has been immensely freeing for me. In mindful practice, acknowledging thoughts and being in the moment has been crucial. It has allowed to to think and feel deeply, processing anxiety and raw emotion, whilst this manifested in works which may or may not indicate this. The process has been continuously unfolding before my eyes, as I have given myself permission to open up instinctively and rather than using my paintings as a shield to hide behind, I have in non-literal terms, allowed them to show everything, and nothing. Advice from Angela and Caroline throughout the MA course made me conscious of needing to find avenues for change and development. This has been extended by doing collaborative works which again require an unfolding process. The drawing itself unfolds as it is passed back and forth: it is almost an entirely separate entity: living and breathing as it evolves in stages and remodels itself. There is uncertainty and lack of control: we live continuously in the moment, being challenged and reawakened creatively. I collaborated with Noeleen Comiskey (artist, actor, friend) and she wrote:
I have learnt so much taking part in this conversation, it really does teach you to let go, not to be so precious but also to appreciate and engage fully in another person’s art. To really absorb another’s work, feel every bit of it and then merge it with your own very being in order to respond fully and with truth. A function and action that is governed by an immediate piece in front of you then outside influences such as friends/news/styles/mood, take over to guide your response. It’s truly fascinating. I normally have a vision of what I want to happen, but through this process I fully engaged with my centre and just existed with the piece, no vision, I felt my way through every mark until I could stand back and say, this is how I respond and my dialogue is complete.
N Comiskey 2016