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About Figures Of Speech
Showing the connection between my sketchbook and my fine art exhibit
As a deaf child I was fascinated by language. Reading books and looking at art or photos on walls were main ways I made sense of the world. I didn't get hearing aids till I was 8 years old so phrases or figures of speech like “when pigs fly” were primarily encountered in printed books. To my mind these were mystical magical puzzling phrases. Similarly I primarily learned about physical places and the people in them by observing what was on the walls, the furniture, people's behavior - whatever I could see - if there were labels on things then I read them. The world was a grand multi piece puzzle to be put together in my imagination.
As I grew up I enjoyed exploring the history and origins of phrases (as well as of people and places). Dictionaries, encyclopedias and almanacs were gateway drugs, so to speak, leading to all sorts of intellectual play in the oceans of literature, film, science and art history. But words and images are the keys to all of those magic oceans.
Currently for my upcoming fine art exhibit “Figures Of Speech" I've taken fairly familiar words and phrases and have been playing with them visually with an eye towards love and laughter. In general I create paintings (and books) and then group my work in physical spaces so it becomes a visual story puzzle for people to walk around inside. Each individual painting is a puzzle and all of them together are a puzzle too. The title of my exhibit and the titles of each individual painting are clues.
As an example here's one of my paintings titled “When Pigs Fly". It is 18 inches tall by 8 inches wide and I created it by hand using ink and gouache. The ‘pigs fly’ phrase typically refers to something that is highly unlikely to happen. My painting below turns that meaning around and now it is about the impossible becoming possible - which is what the creative act is, what the imagination is and it's what love is.
As a subscriber to my newsletter you've probably seen the sketchbook page which inspired my “When Pigs Fly" painting. Below are the two together: my sketchbook page is below the framed painting.
I played with the ‘when pigs fly’ notion in a different way with this painting that I've titled “The Plot”. It is 10 x 8 inches and I made it by hand with ink, acrylic and gouache. The pig is impossibly large compared to the size of the wings and yet the plot of the novel has carried them high above all of the various plots of land.
Here's a photo so you can see the sketchbook page that led to my painting “The Plot”.
My main hope with all of my new artwork is to share with others a delight in puzzling and playing with language and images… and maybe share a laugh.
Here's a video showing a few more sketchbook pages and paintings (before framing).
All of the paintings for my upcoming exhibit began in my sketchbook and many of those sketchbook pages were shared here in my newsletter. I plan to continue showing some of the connections between what you see here when I share my sketchbooks and the fine art you'd see in my exhibit.
Anyhoo I'm titling this upcoming exhibit “Figures Of Speech” as I think that'll give folks a fairly obvious clue as to what it's all about. In case I haven't mentioned it “Figures Of Speech” is a one-person fine art exhibit by me, Sue Clancy. It's a series of 22 paintings to be exhibited in June/July 2023 at Burnt Bridge Cellars via Caplan Art Designs a gallery representing my work.
In my next newsletters I'm planning to describe more of my thinking process as I worked towards “Figures…”. I'm also hoping, technology gods willing, to share an ebook of all the artwork in my exhibit so that my subscribers who live far away can enjoy my exhibit too.
An important background piece of my thinking towards this exhibit is thumbtacked to my studio wall.
So, yeah, the main thing in my exhibit is gentle humor and intellectual play.
By the way these newsletters will build on each other as we go so please snoop in the file drawer so to speak.
Thanks for reading! This newsletter and all the artwork in it was hand-picked, free-range and organically grown. This is an algorithm-free, reader-supported publication. Everything you see here was created with love by a 100 percent fully caffeinated human using real-life art supplies. Your financial support is appreciated, so is sharing and restacking my newsletter as I'm still trying to get everything framed and… well, my to-do list is a mile long.
Yikes. I better get back to it… Thanks again! I hope your weekend is pleasant.
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