Archive for art

Writing, for who?

Posted in Autobiography, education, Poetry, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by kathydasilva
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Albert Camus: writer of A Happy Death; Exiles and the Kingdom

I hope eventually that the novels, that I continue to write, might finally have their own independent voice. I have read over  a lifetime, so many books and quite a few from a previous century. The style of writing, in the Victorian era, which is described as the Romanticist period,  and a bit before the gothic/romantic Mary Shelley, included, held quite a few marvels, that seem forever, to be taught, and remain, subject for study, at university level at least. In my mother’s era, they as children, were given George Elliot’s Silas Marner at school, but, by the time, I came to do my final O Levels, the main study novel was indeed, the very famous To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The American’s had usurped the English novelists, in importance! The consolation was Shakespeare for a playwriter, Romeo and Juliet, and still this was backed up with a visit to the local cinema to see Franco Zeffirelli’s, version of the famous tragedy. I am saying ‘backed’, because even by the time, that I came along, in the mid seventies, for O Level study, television, and the newly growing Hollywood film industry, had already made its dent, in the call for an attentive audience. In the fast growing technology of the TV playscreen, from black and white to Technicolor, there was an obvious demand for screenplay writers, and the need would have had many an aspiring, author in its clench. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed the replays of black and white movies, the early movies of Tennessee Williams’ screen play talent. There was a great sense of classicism, in the story lines, and emotional outpourings of the  characters,  who became iconic, to the next generation of would be actors and starlets. Great screenplays, added to great acting and directing, was bound to create diversion, and in the same breath,  an addictive pastime. I think the arguments for ‘where the great novel’ went, is thoroughly, embedded, in this call for time on everyone’s leisure moments. Hedonism, was with us from at least the post war era onward. However, it is true, that great novels, have been written that then have been made into films. But, it is also true, that not every novel, of our modern era, makes the same impact as something like, Wuthering Heights, or Gone With the Wind. And between the original novel, and the screenplay, there exists, a transformation, which does not always translate the greatness of the original text. I am mindful of something I recently, watched, but, mainly for the actors, and some of the ‘romance’, element of the story, the novelist Nicholas Sparks, who wrote Message in a Bottle, did not get to write the screenplay which is by,Gerald di Pego. I kept wondering throughout, about the flimsiness of the characters, and, so, yes, what could have been, an awesome, and, deep statement about bereavement, fell a little flat. Grief is a very complex, state of being, and my heart wanted to feel, something for the man who had lost his wife, Catherine. I could not create in  my own, head any more connection, with the entertainment of the film, than just letting the wash of the sea that eventually consumes the ‘hero’, wash over me by the finish.

Novels, That Last the Test of Time.. is that a better heading? Well I suppose the film industry is never really going to run out of great classics, as there are plenty of ghost stories and Tolkien went down a storm! Will that make people read the original novel. Well in my case, when they filmed,  Thomas Hardy’s, Jude the Obscure, I directly went out to Waterstones in Brighton and bought the book.

‘In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitization of print.’ (Will Self)

Saving the Great British Novel? Well I am not worried too much about the novel, and whether to write it or not, as there is a market albeit for electronically transferred data, thankfully, long train journeys and commuter traffic will ensure, some readership, and a growing population of retired people, which is on the increase. I am not sure whether to rely on Will Self, as a ‘weatherman’ for trends, over literature, but, I guess, given, that the classical element of some high-end writing, meaning literature, might well be suffering, some lack of recognition for the modern-day author of works of a more aesthetical nature. My thoughts are in this sense, in the days of the writer, James Joyce, who married and kept his family, not only by the means of his authoring of books, but, also by whatever job, including teaching English to foreigners, in Switzerland, and working in clerical positions of government, still kept to his goal of breaking the mould, and experimenting with poetry in the prose form.

 

Will, himself is probably way out in the frontier zone, with abstraction, and by that meaning psychological realism, to the full brunt of interactive text. With all of the content of ‘Shark’, in mind, the social comment, and the whole drama of events described vividly, throughout the story, I found myself battling with the text, and surprisingly, ending up with quite a lot of memorable scenes to describe, after laying the book down.I am intending to write a bit more in due course, but, perhaps, in the past authors, did not  have the privilege of knowing what kind of response their work would create. My question perhaps, instead of why it is suggested that society is evolving away from story telling, is it not the case that much of what is life, repeats itself, even between centuries. Science creates new subject, and new subject will always inspire more story telling. Star Wars, and Star Trecking included! And there we have that wonderful tale, Hitch Hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My theory too, is eventually any true intellectual, will become bored fairly soon, with the tittle-tattle of new fandango gadgets, and plump right back to a source of enduring quality writing. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust) included!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing…memoire/novel..Happy Days..

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2016 by kathydasilva

bookcoverimageabcIt’s funny and not, that at the moment I seem to be choosing humour to lighten what was traumatic at the time of something happening. But, I am not sure it will actually add to the ‘drama’ effect of real life being retold or for that matter remade, in the effort to fictionalize part of the story. I might be understating some of what happened if I add too much humour but humour is part of my personality, and some of that humour came from my father. At the time of a funeral the strangest things can happen. The people you have not seen for a while, can turn up looking completely different to when you last saw them, and in some way this can produce quite surprising elements to a scene. I am just remembering that famous film story, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Well that was something of a combined element of happy and sad moments in the lives of friends who had been quite close.

So to add to my dilemma, I will have to add something of what I read, or rely on for strength. Books are like old friends. My copy of Ulysses by James Joyce is thirty years old! The glue is dry and now not able to keep the pages together, it was paperback. The centenary that was being celebrated was the hundred years from his birth into this world. And that was back some years ago! I had read Stephen Hero and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When I recently went through the trauma of loss, I was privileged to view a newly written play, performed by Theatre of Eternal Values. They were Yogics, and multi national in terms of the cast who performed. So English, Italian, Finnish, Dutch, and Spanish actors took part in the story of William Blake’s life story. They did the whole lifestory, from birth to death and interwove the story of Job from the Christian bible inbetween scene changes to depict this. Blake  was someone who spoke about social injustice, and was also accused of sedition and ‘uttering treasonable expressions’, and he was quite a good craft person with regard to artistic drawing and print making.

A man who received visions from God, and saw angels in the fields amongst workers, as a child looking through a window. It is indeed amazing how one or two writers can impact a person, thoughout their life. So perhaps I am on the right track, with regard to my story after all!  It is like being in the river of life, the spiritual river if you can imagine a little of something of the mystery, it helps. My friend Michael’s poem, ‘in whose vortex I am caught up..’ Michael is a Brighton poet. The Blake play, showed the devil as a two character part representing his ‘tongue’ or two faced deceptions. It was well done. I thought this play needed to be in the Barbican. I think everyone should see this wonderful version of the life of William Blake. And now back to where I left off…..

Child Poem

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by kathydasilva

CHILD POEM

Twombly said the thing that couldn’t be said,
A broken sapling, the top resting on the standing remainder,
My child saying ‘The snails make their bed in me’,
And that his bones ..’ … are as thin and brown as twigs’,
Children always tell you the truth through their own eyes and feelings.
I’d given birth to a poetic genius able to talk to me  from heaven or earth,
He says, ‘It’s all dark in the grave, there’s no light.’
I’ve learned to hate the rain.
My sister can’t bear to listen to me anymore.
She says she’s going to be cremated when she dies,
She’s adopted new beliefs,
But, it’s all old hat eastern philosophy.
I daren’t tell her I don’t follow that.
It’s true I can’t live this life more than once through,
You have to be too brave,
What will she do if it isn’t as she says?
Then there’s God Almighty,
And the question why?
But, at least we can feel close my babe and I,
In a sense there is no separation,
‘We watch you all the time,’ he says, ‘You’re a whuss.’

New Release ‘Driftwood’ is out now!

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by kathydasilva

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‘Streaks of sunlight separated and shone strong rays of white light onto the stone floor, and as people passed through they interrupted the light, and momentarily fell under the spot light effects of the beams.’

It’s a novel about two people, who write comic satire for a magazine. Their work is full of witticism and humor about politics of the times.

My latest novel, Driftwood is now available on Amazon.co.uk as an e-book, and in the next few days as a hard copy paperback. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Driftwood-Katherine-Da-Silva-ebook/dp/B01LYQQCVP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475673195&sr=8-1&keywords=driftwood+by+Katherine+Da+Silva

Amoral, immoral, libertine…

Posted in Autobiography, Current affairs, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2016 by kathydasilva

 

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And who is to blame? I have often thought about city living as a kind of lifestyle that is fraught with ‘trouble’, where relationships are concerned.  I came from Southampton, and started to live in the London area as an undergraduate, studying art.  Yes I was looking for Mister Perfect, a man I could admire who had at least some intellect, with the potential for dating and hanging around with at least in my spare moments and weekends. But, there’s the ‘rub’. Just that, my art career, was to all intent and purpose, the thing that wholly excited me in every essence of the word. Art thrilled me. Not just looking at it in galleries, but the expansive wonderful world of thought, creative motivation, endless originating of ideas. Yes if you asked me now and then, I would have said I am a great ‘ideas’ person. I had and have a trouble solving mind, and included in the ‘package’ is my kindness in general, brought about by a Catholic and charity aware upbringing. Love thy neighbor as thy self. Love God with all your heart and mind and being. Well, those spiritual things are difficult to either ignore once you are taught them, and throw off into the air, even if you disagree with some of the teaching. I had a few encounters during my first year as an undergraduate. Vestal virgin. I was impressed by an artist called Kevin Atherton, whom I met at my foundation year of art school in Winchester. At the time I had a mild ‘crush’ on Kevin, which I never admitted to and never would talk about to others. But, Kevin had introduced me to the world of a performance artist. He had showed all his international work on slide to the whole year group, and had made friends with quite a few of the students, we looked to him for advice and with a bit of awe.  Some of his work had included painting his naked body and standing as part of a studio environment, and being photographed. His point being that the body was sculpture, and you had to search for evidence of his being in the scene as it was indeed a bit camouflaged by large parts of his nakedness being covered in white body paint. Now, this may seem very, adventurous to some who have not been initiated into the fine art of performance before. I was wholly influenced to make my own versions of time based art there on, some of which I used my own person and body to complete the installation element. I had drawn life figures before, and nudity did not bother me in the least in terms of the condition of where and how it was received given the setting was relatively formal and respected in a traditional sense. Most of what I did at Winchester did not involve my own nudity at that time. I did a fantastic drawing of an audience for the parents and friends of the school at our end of term ‘show’. All about shadows and interaction and shining lights to create moving pictures which the audience were invited to take part in by using their hands and heads to cast a shadow that I would then draw around and thus integrate the image into the large live drawing event. It was indeed a happy year of very experimental art endeavor. I sallied forth to the London scene thus equipped with time based art knowledge and conceptual-ism. Thus it is right to say I had become involved in a more sculptural view of art product.  At Middlesex University or Polytech as it was then, I progressed this interest in performance art, in every sense. And one of my first performances was put on at the Coventry Performance Art Festival around the Easter period of that year. I had wrapped myself in clear plastic, naked underneath, and lay in a corridor, across sheets of zero sized jumbo cartridge paper.  The floating audience were going to be people who just happened to be walking past, to other events. Opposite where I lay was a small old fashioned file box filled with words that described the body. Vulnerable, naked. The foot prints were part of the piece. The remnant of the performance which was to last at least two hours. I had my name chalked up on the blackboard in reception, my name my maiden name then was King. So it would have read Kathy King, performing in the basement corridor, between say 2-4pm. People walked past me, talked as they walked past me, joked, and I even got poked once or twice physically with the odd finger prodding to see if I was real. To me the afterward feeling was indeed one of triumph on the one hand I had made a first appearance at this festival, but, on the other hand, I had not seen that the content was indeed ‘adult’ in nature as my nudity was indeed therein, there for all to see whoever passed through the corridor. This may sound like a confessional. I actually went to church the very next day, seeking some solace  some vindication. And you might ask yourself why did I feel guilt? Well I had not ever done anything so adventurous publicly before, on the one hand but, I too, had not controlled the situation in total. Some of the remarks were a bit salacious, one lecturer, had passed an audible comment: ‘Wouldn’t mind her on my desk!’ , another deeply upsetting incident had occurred too, another lecturer had allowed their toddler, to trail passed unattended.  I had had no thought as to  the age group of who would be viewing my piece. And I had not put a sign saying about nudity. I was wrapped in plastic, it is true. So I had such a wake up call that day about responsibility. No one had stopped me, no one in fact made any complaint, I think possibly the world is more tolerant. However, when I went back to the art school with some photographic evidence of my performance I found myself tearing the prints up and throwing them away. The following year, I did another performance in the same corridor. I chose the theme of death and transference to the spiritual worlds beyond our material one. I had looked at tombs and themes about death in other cultures and created a coracle   of a  boat in hessian material ( it would never have floated) but also filled this with peat/compost to imitate earth and lay in it  wrapped in funereal muslin naked underneath, semi translucent. The rest of the installation included a trailing tail of torn clothing as if my body had slipped out of its material cover, and pieces of barbed wire, were placed strategically across the clothing as if I had crawled through a barbed fence and then died. This year  a whole class did a seminar around my piece. I got drawn by other art students, I had acquired a ‘status’, as artist not amateur. So why do I tell the story today to everyone, because, perhaps we all do make mistakes. Where is morality placed today? Photographed nudity, painted nudity are very different things, as one is more displaced in a progression of the revealed nudity. When I think of a century before, this perhaps would never have been allowed. However, I still stand bold in my efforts then to be an expressive art student. I was questioning things of a deep nature. The second performance the one with the boat of hessian, was so much more successful in gaining me some audience, a thinking audience. So everything we do in live makes some sort of stamp on people’s minds, an influence, as did Kevin Atherton, at the time. I had seen my future as a semi theatrical fine art performance artist then. It is a hard thing to progress and make a living by. But, art in general is perhaps the hardest profession of them all. I was still even so in command of my own morality. I met an Irish artist, Andre Stitt, who did body performance art using the theme of death, and the culture of the troubled Northern Ireland, where bodies laying dead in the road was not an uncommon experience. I got chatting to him in a pub, and he the lovely soul that he is, had invited me to his home and cooked me pizza, and we drank wine, and he had sensed perhaps that, I was a new initiate to the world of art performance. I had never slept with anyone, and I avoided telling him. All I can say was the opportunity of knowing him had been there, but, too, that if you talk about nudity in performance then this can also lead people to think that you are more than open also in a sexual sense. I was not ready for the attention at the time. His friend called round and we progressed to the pub, and I retained my sense of ‘purity’ for another time yet in the future. So what is a moral girl to do? I have wavered many times since from being completely pure to experimenting with relationships, but, yes I do believe in essence in one person partnership, we call it trendily monogamy. I guess that is a type of morality. I do believe it protects women essentially. Not everyone in the world has moralizing parents too, but it’s the culture of responsibility that was driven into my head from an early age. I seem to be speaking of grand adventures, which is great, and I am so glad to be sharing this for once. The body is sacred. Yes it is. When  I witness, the dilemma of others, and more recently the artist Jacob Appelbaum, with his issues of torment with Tor ‘brethren’, I can see why and how that happened, and would encourage people to talk and discuss what happened, communication and counseling, are the achievement of honesty and love and care. Amoral, immoral, libertine, are these the issues of today’s cultural back-draft? The flames of passion. The need for experience and expression in the young. Comments welcome, love,  and goodness always…

Titanic..Tate…Thames….

Posted in Stories and reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2014 by kathydasilva

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I went to the Tate again on Friday. Sigmar Polke, had opened. I thought it made sense also to have a second viewing of the Kasimir Malevich too. But, on the way there, I was looking at the Thames. I mean really looking at the Thames River.  A few years ago I lived at Newhaven, in Sussex, there too we had a river close to housing, the Ouse. I am pretty sure that I am not imagining it, but at high tide, the water seemed to be filling up the bank very high, almost to a point of overspill. I am now sure that what I learned at sixth form, many years ago, plus with the information of melting ice at least at the north Pole, that sea levels appear to be rising.  There is also the problem of the plate that England sits on is also sinking about an inch a year. So should we not be planning like the Dutch to shore up our sea defenses especially after last winter’s come spring deluge causing floods? I think the Thames is tidal in its favor. But, to be truthful, it seems it will only be a few years when this river bank, though solid as it currently seems will need to be built upon, or the river itself dredged to make it deeper.  The Thames on Friday looked like a sink too full of water, where someone has forgotten to turn the tap off.  Although the Thames barrier might work against a tidal wave, I cannot see that making a jot of difference if the rainfall too were to contribute too the ‘overfull sink’ situation.  It might be better to relocate to a mountainous region, like Wales.  Watching the Titanic film has reminded me how mad the world is. Making a fortune being the  goal of business men, but climate or simply environmental changes being the last thing on their minds when exchanging cash for land.  I approached the Tate Gallery entrance, and to my right, tall newly built apartments surrounded me. Most of them new. One or two older style buildings left though. Is London going to be victim of the sea? A little Venice.

The Sigmar Polke was worth a visit though I preferred his earlier work, the silver gelatin prints proved interesting if for the ‘collage’ of images put together with meaning and content.  The era of 1975.  One picture in particular was of two American Indians, in modern day jeans, holding casually rifles, and in the background a large toadstool of a mushroom, the height of a man. The sky was filled with the outspread wings of an airplane.  I think nuclear testing may have still been allowed up to this point, though the facts need checking.  Polke abstracts later on did not work for me. There was not enough color, there was no meaning other than process. His slightly more ‘hippie’, period with wall hangings, with references to tribal culture, were better visually.  Polke seems to have included images of Prince Charles, and I think there’s at least one film with Princess Anne as a very young woman visiting an exhibition.  I went for a second look at the Kasimir Malevich. Futurist, Cubist, and modernist. Somewhere between Miro and De Stijl, Mondrian.  I must confess, that too many of the pictures were so similar, that reducing the number might have helped concentrate the public’s eye.  I think Kasimir’s last period of painting made more sense. The portraits clearly show his talent for figurative painting.  I wonder today what makes a painter distinguished above others or different in style.  He died quite young in his fifties.  It was good following the time line of the Russian revolution on the wall outside the exhibition. Something to ponder.Hard times and all!P1090104

Painting over the past…

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2014 by kathydasilva

IMG_6347bI opened my eyes this morning, knowing I really had to do something with the painting I started at the weekend just to feel happy. Whatever happiness is. Whatever, I could ever hope for. And lo and behold, the freshness of a new day gave me the initiative, of course, brighter colour, lighter colour, it would lift the whole thing, the canvas needed it’s light back, somewhere between either overworking it or being too on top of it, plus I had started to use alkyd oil colour supposed to dry quickly, and let you work more quickly over the top. Well, how did the ‘dull’, get in there?  So this morning for better or worse, my painting started to transform.

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Some of the blue or violet flowers had to go too. But, the instant the brighter greens went down I began to cheer up, and see something new. A perfect antidote for depressing results.  And yes it is the job of painting a canvas to make it what it is meant to be it has a life of it’s own. I am I think more Chagall and and a bit more Kitaj, than I have anticipated! I will now be able to move onto some other canvases with some zeal. It is working for me to update, to modernize. I definitely was left feeling cramped in style last Saturday, and it needed to be stopped that feeling. Feelings fester, and grow like a mould. The mould in the end would destroy something inside. So I am happy now. Indoors out of the glare of a steady, bright but intense sun,  I felt a bit more in control of my environment, and it is a truth painting has to be a contemplative adventure.  Chagall,  dreamy and floaty images, that allow breath to the subconscious mind.  Then I began to think also of the very much larger canvases that would be a preferable size. And I love art to be a physical experience too. Something a person can encounter and wonder at.

Comments welcome!