I’m working on a living artwork at the moment but this one, titled “Splat” (aka Moss Man) is a long standing idea which I’d ultimately like to make a life size version of.
Henri Matisse by Henri Cartier-Bresson. No particular reason for posting this except it makes me smile.
I am completely in love with the art of topiary (in my world also know as hairdressing for hedges) so I had to visit Levens Hall when I was in Cumbria a couple of weeks ago.
I’m working on my own topiary at the moment which, shockingly, isn’t square-shaped and is on a much smaller scale than these beauties. If it develops into something that actually resembles something other than just a bush I will post some photos on here.
Rectory Nurseries and Garden, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Home to artist/horticulturist Kevin Duffy.
The garden has a delightful array of objects and installations that juxtapose spiritual and whimsical themes with playful humour. It has an Aladdin’s cave feel and is totally unique. I recommend a visit to truly experience the magic.
Maladaptive (2013-14) by Mel Ede
Acrylic, metallic paint, holographic paper, glitter mosaic tiles, glitter paint, glitter glue, mirror mosaic tiles and holographic sequin waste on canvas
New artwork…Acrylic, mirrored mosaic tiles, glitter glue, glitter paint, sprinkle glitter felt, holographic paper and (the pièce de rèsistance) googly eyes…on canvas!
Mel E Squared
Artistically, 2013 has been a year of epiphanies. I spent some time contemplating why for the last 10 years my artwork has been predominantly about squares. What is it about the humble square that I love so much?
The answer came about quite unexpectedly after reading an article about dreams, the sleeping rather than the aspirational kind. I experience a lot of strange dreams so it caught my eye. The article talked about how dreams are our brains way of making sense of the world and help us work through the puzzles of the day. It also suggested that the brain will continually work through anything that perplexes it until it is deciphered. Immediately, a memory came to mind, one I had never shared with anyone but which on reflection has haunted me for many years.
The memory takes me to school, being told off by a Maths teacher. I’m being told off after I had returned some unifix cubes (the dirty pale blue coloured ones) to the Maths department. I did not return the cubes in the shape they were given to me and as a result I am being told off. The cubes were given to me in several large cubes.
The reason I did not return them in large cubes was because I didn’t understand how they fitted together. I genuinely could not comprehend how to take all the small cubes and make them into one big one. I was shouted at in front of other students and was told to put them back together as they were before. I remember this incident being particularly upsetting, not least because of how the teacher handled it but because intellectually it made me feel inferior. After my teacher’s outburst there was no way I was going to admit that I was struggling to figure out how to piece the cubes together. I ended up just leaving them in a drawer until I left school; fearing punishment and further embarrassment the puzzle remained unresolved.
Over the years I remembered this memory, not consciously thinking about the cubes but rather the associated emotions that arose from the experience. It wasn’t until I read the dream article that it suddenly struck me that my brain, subconsciously, may have been continually trying to solve the puzzle of how unifix cubes fit together! I realise this may all sound absurd but having realised this I believe that I’ve been subconsciously thinking about squares and cubes ever since that day. I also realised it was around the same time I started to like abstract painting, in particular, Kandinsky and Mondrian’s work from the 1920s.
The majority of my creative ventures have always somehow involved squares or geometry of some kind. After leaving school I studied photography – framing everything in squares, my favourite subject to photograph? Industrial buildings and warehouses which were rigid and often cube like! I was also deeply into collage well into my twenties but remember only ever cutting out square pieces of paper to make them. It wasn’t until I started painting at university that my fascination with squares really started to reveal itself – ironically due to an encouraging teacher!
As a result of this epiphany I bought some unifix cubes to figure out how to arrange them into one large cube and finally solved the puzzle! It was all a bit too easy and I wondered why on earth I’d found it so challenging.
"Falter" (2013) by Mel Ede
Several years ago I attended an interview for a Fine Art Masters course at Brighton University. The interview was challenging and needless to say I didn’t get accepted. This knocked my confidence more than I realised at the time. In fact, it led me to cease painting altogether.
After a long creative break I took up painting again this year and 4 months ago I completed a painting I started several years earlier. I’m not sure why I decided to start again; I think it was something to do with getting older and thinking about old hopes and dreams. Around this time I had the pleasure of meeting my “art hero”, Peter Halley, whose work, both artistically and intellectually, has always inspired me. Peter asked me if I was an artist and it dawned on me that I wasn’t, or at least, I didn’t feel I was anymore. Somewhere along the line I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being creative and it was meeting Halley that prompted me to complete that lost and forgotten painting.
The painting I completed (still untitled…I just call it “the green one”!) is one of my favourite pieces and is what led me to start my newest painting, titled “Falter”.
My perpetual love of modernist architecture, concrete and what I call “nature’s grains” (surfaces found in nature; mud, chalk, stone etc.) mean that texture is now more prominent in my work. In “Falter” I used a textured spray paint to allude to walls but juxtaposed them with reflective, shimmering surfaces through the use of glitter and pearlescent mediums. The intention here is not one of subversion, but of union, the bringing together of both natural and artificial textures (naturalficial if you will!)
For some time I have thought that my paintings were abstract self-portraits. I felt that my studies on paper were an interpretation of me or what I was thinking or feeling at the time. Then the paintings were what I wanted to be, how I wanted to think or feel. Ironically, the person who interviewed me for that Masters course inadvertently complimented me when he said that my sketchbook studies were better than my finished paintings!
To me, my latest painting feels more subdue than my other works, even with the addition of glitters and the bright orange pane. My approach was more intuitive and unlike before, I didn’t do any studies on paper. The composition, colours and textures were changed throughout the process and evolved into the finished piece. I think it was important for me to investigate new mediums and use different tools to create “Falter”. After such a long time away from painting I had to remember what it was I used to love so much about it, which, as it turns out was simply the process.