October 2022 Mailbag No 1

Back in early September I wrote a series of posts on Jyll Bradley and her installation art - specifically her latest work on display at Southbank, London which highlights the English activity of Going Hopping. Here are the links for those of you who missed the posts.

Understanding installation art

Jyll Bradley enhances our sense of space and place

The hop culture of Kent

The Hop by Jyll Bradley- Hayward Gallery, London

In reponse to these posts, Monica in Tanzania commented:

Hello Anne
Welcome back to DownUnder, ( the duvet?? Ha Ha) and your fellow bloggers. I am delighted that you had a marvellous holiday, and that viewers will benefit from your experiences, in the coming days. I must tell you that this feature brought back wonderful nostalgic memories for me. My Grandfather was the "Tenant Farmer" of Chartwell Farm in Kent , which was part of the Estate where Chartwell Manor was built, and later, purchased and inhabited by Sir Winston Churchill. My Father was born in the Farmhouse in 1904, and he described that the young lives of himself and his three brothers consisted of boarding school during the school terms, and altenately apple picking, cherry picking and hop picking in their holidays! He advised that they never suffered from rationing after both the world wars, because the farm was a dairy farm as well, so they had milk, butter, cheese, fruit and beer always available. My husband , John and I went to England in 1983 , and I dearly wanted to see both my parents' homes in England , while I was there. John's dear cousin lived in Sutton , and she gladly agreed to drive us to visit Chartwell Farm. Well, there we were, the three of us, peering through the gates and snooping along the hedge, when two very merry 'milkmaids' came out and asked if they could help us. I explained that my Father had been born in the Farmhouse in 1904, and that we had come from Rhodesia, as it was called then, and that I badly wanted to see it. Well, bless them, they invited us in , and we entered through the spotless , white tiled dairy, and showed us around, and advised that the house was then owned by Eileen Joyce, the famous pianist. ( Born in Australia) On the upper floor , she had a huge studio, in the middle of which , stood her grand piano. The vast wooden floors shone like a mirror, and she had glass windows, from ceiling to floor, on three sides of the room. She used to hold concerts there. We looked out of the windows and saw the Oast Houses, and the dairy sheds, etc. It was all immaculate. It brought all my Father's reminiscences of his home life, sharply into focus. He was delighted, when we returned home with our photographs. So you have made hop picking a close reality for me, and I feel really indebted to you for this 'natural' , not "Warner Brothers" revelation of farm life and hop picking. I feel quite tearful! I will comment about the 'Installation Art' after you have featured Jyll's work. Thank you and blessings! M. B. Tanzania

If you're wondering what Monica's reference to the duvet is all about - DownUnder we call a soft quilt filled with down, feathers, or a synthetic fibre, doonas!! I believe doona was the brand name for the big soft bag filled with feathers etc which first arrived in Australia in the 1970s - Aussies started using that name because that's what we thought they were called and it became the generic term. Just like biro, hoover - perhaps you can think of some more examples.

I do like this advertisement which has included every possible term: All Season Microfibre Quilt/Doona/Duvet/Blanket from a well known on-line company!!!

All Season Microfibre Quilt/Doona/Duvet/Blanket (Credit: https://www.amazon.com.au/)

But back to more important issues such as do you like, understand, appreciate installation art?

Monica made this comment on Jyll's installation The Hop:

Hello Anne I have waited to see Jyll Bradley's "The Hop!" feature before I wrote a comment. I want to emphasise that a 'comment ' is a comment, is a comment , is a comment. A comment from me, is therefore in some instances , just a personal opinion, not validated by experience, historical , spiritual or material, and only inspired by my desire to be totally sincere. I was not enthused by " Installation Art!" I cannot conceive why a person should want to depict 'mayhem!' There is enough mayhem in the planet, without adding to it! Then the pictures/sculptures of a large painted trowel stuck in the ground, struck me as mundane , unimaginitive and lacking the ability to evoke a response. It bespeaks of inadequacy of imagination! I feel like the little boy in Danny Kaye's song, " The Emperor 's new Clothes," in which he sees the king riding by, completely nude, and he yells " Look at the king , the king, the king!" because he is seeing reality, and declaring it!

However, Jyll's work is different! It is inspired by nature, which is marvellously expressed with materials and shapes that give life to the creation. The Hospital Corridor, and the structure, " The Hop" bring adornement to a boring lifeless environment. Most certainly " The Hop" is a venue for joy and meditation. Those vibrations reflect off the walls, which are enhanced by their geometry and symmetry- order and peace!! Thank you for the opportunity to view the ' art' that does for me, inspire joy and meditation. M.B. Tanzania

And I can assure you all that at a later date we will be returning to look at more installation art. But now a reminder from Soumya Kundu in Kolkata, India that the covid-19 virus is still with us and that many people with compromised immunity are still at risk. Soumya has used his creative skills to decorate some face masks and to make the wearing of them far more attractive.

I thought you would also enjoy seeing some of Soumya Kundu's beautifully intricate and colourful designs. The one on the right is the Alpona design used for festivals.

If you are a Facebook user you can see more art work by Soumya by clicking here.

The covid-19 virus has brought the world to its knees in many ways and I know I don't have to list the effects here as most of us have been affected in some way -many with very tragic consequences. One of the negative consequences of the covid pandemic has been an increase in illnesses related to mental health in adults and children.

Recently we publicised for the Royal Children's Hospital the Mental Health Art Exhibition they are conducting. Andrew responded with a reminder of the fragile mental health of Vincent Van Gogh and sent in a link to a mutualart.com article The Sadness Will Last Forever: Van Gogh’s Asylum Year.

Recently we also showcased the collection of the works of the Hermannsburg School of Painters created by Steve Cook. If you missed seeing this remarkable collection follow this link to the first post in the series - Steve Cook My Story in Art Part One and follow through from there.

Like Andrew, Steve Cook also sent in correspondence about Vincent van Gogh saying:

I love the work of the great Vincent Van Gogh and travelled to Melbourne specifically to visit the NGV for his exhibition. What a tragic life he had. Misunderstood, tormented for being different, and eventually driven to a premature death. What a shame that it took that for people to realise what an artistic genius he was. The book "Lust for Life" by Irving Stone, and film of the same name starring Kirk Douglas are well worth seeing/reading, and I'm sure Kirk's portrayal of his tormented soul was pretty accurate. Such a great shame, but such a wonderful artist.

Our last item in the mailbag is from our friend Rebeca Dorich in Peru who promotes artists and art events from all corners of the world. You can check out Rebeca's blog site by clicking here and please take time to explore her many offerings of interest.

This week Rebeca is promoting Ukrainian artist Tatiana Brodetskaya.

Autumn still life, 80x60, oil on canvas by Tatiana Brodetskaya (Credit: rebecadorich.blogspot.com)

You can check out more paintings by Tatiana Brodetskaya by clicking here.

Let us reflect on all the conflicts around the world and look forward to the Quiet Day when we all learn to live together in harmony.

Quiet Day by Tatiana Brodetskaya (Credit: art.rtistiq.com)

There will be a second mailbag for October coming up very soon where Phillip Johnson (one of our favourite artists from England) has created a farewell painting to one of our most favourite sportsmen. Can you guess who this might be?