Gales, tornadoes and entropy

[Notes from 30 Nov] A day of gales and tornados – ‘like something I’ve never seen before … and then it just stopped,’ said a man in Stockport. I’m feeling mortal, which is why at 02.30 I’m still up, or at least awake and been watching a couple of videos of two Turner Prize nominees, sculptor Martin Boyce and painter, George Shaw. I’ve not looked at Boyce’s work before.

His inspiration was a set of concrete trees made by French Modernist sculptors Joel and Jan Martel for the 1925 Paris Exposition and a reference point for the installation. On the video Boyce explains his creative process – shows how he moves from concrete to repeating patterns – from fallen concrete leaves to found letterforms – the process is so organic, each individual piece so light and gentle. I love his ideas, love the way that art can communicate things that words, fiction, cannot.

I liked George Shaw too – he’s very down to earth, comes from Coventry (the Midlands qualifying IMO for the southern most boundary of ‘The North’). He paints places from his childhood – tries to get into the mindset of how he saw places as a child – and in others, tries to communicate how he feels about it now – he says it’s like time travel. One painting was of a pub which was the focus of family life when he was a child – another is of the same location after the pub was pulled down. All the things that happened – the celebrations, funerals, christenings – gone. A lot of his work is about the end of things. He accepts that things have to have an end, that we’re all crumbling, moving in that direction. He sees what he’s doing as ‘painting the journey out of his life’. I liked that – a bit like dancing off the stage and I love the idea of writing my journey out of my life – makes sense of entropy – and so very positive.

[Image: Martin Boyce ‘As Yet Untitled’, painted steel, fabric 2010 via Tanya Bonakdar]

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