carole cluer

Art, hope and self acceptance

Category: Uncategorized

New Exhibition, New Journey

Well I know I am never going to get an award for the most updated blog, hats off to those who manage to fit in regular updates in their busy lives!

The summer has flown by, filled with family, but now with my son back at uni and my daughter beginning a new life with her first job in Cornwall I need to focus on my own work.

My summer hasn’t been completely devoid of art however and that is my first piece of news, last Thursday air arts launched their 2012/13 season with an exhibition in The Royal Derby Hospital and I am lucky enough to be part of it.

I am showing seven of my solar photograms, the theme is light relief and so fits perfectly with this part of my practice that explores how we use objects to comfort and reassure us during difficult times and is obviously completely dependent on sunlight for its creation. Interestingly each artist was given an object from Derby Hospital’s archives that linked with their work as part of the Hidden Histories project.

This exhibition is especially important for me because ultimately it is where i want my work to be seen, by the public, in their everyday life to hopefully connect with them during times of uncertainty.

The exhibition has been beautifully curated by Antoinette Burchill with a wide variety of work by other very talented artists and will be on display in the hospital until March, if you are in the area go and have a look, you will find my work on level 1 near  maternity.

You can read more about the work of air art at http://airarts.net/  and the Hidden Histories project http://hiddenhistories.tumblr.com/

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My other news is that I am about to start my Masters in Fine Art, I am excited, scared, nervous and disbelieving, who would have thought that when I went to that small informal outreach lesson comfortingly called ‘Drawing for the Terrified’  that I could have got a degree never mind been accepted on a masters course.  I think if someone had told me then that that was a possibility I would have been too overwhelmed to continue but I have been incredibly lucky to have had really supportive tutors, each encouraging me on to the next step.

I think that is the wonderful thing about life, you never know what it holds for you, there was a time when I worried whether I would see my children grow up, I worked in an office to fit around family life and wondered if I could draw.

I am doing what I dreamed of when I was fifteen, it s a little late but perhaps sweeter for it, and shines brighter because it is a consequence of the darkest time of my life.

I know now that no one has any guarantees in life but also that if you look there are always new and wonderful things to see and experience, although sometimes these may be small and fleeting they are precious and glorious.

Waiting and working and news

Life is odd at the moment, I have that feeling I have forgotten something or left the iron on, a kind of out of sorts feeling that you can’t quite catch to consider.

I am waiting for my degree results, after three years of pressure and stress my life is weirdly empty, real life has rushed in to fill the void, how did I ever manage to clean the house, shop, cook, meet people before when it takes all day now? My mind is full of what will be my next step, the MA, teacher training, life as an artist, I will have to make a decision very soon, up until now I have been nudged along step by step without really thinking of what I will do in the future. The future has arrived and I need to decide.

I am forever searching for opportunities and that is my news.

I have been accepted for an exhibtion at Royal Derby Hospital in September, the theme is light and I will be showing some photograms. I have 7.3 m of wall by the maternity ward, it thrills me to think that my work might be seen by people who are going through such a momentous time in their lives.

I have developed my process so that they are more vibrant than previously and am experimenting with digital inversion. I have put a few of my experiments below. I am pretty pleased with them and very excited about showing in a ‘proper’ (non university) show.

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Degree Show Open!

Last Friday evening, our degree show opened for its private view, after three years of hard work, soul searching and challenges it was over. Looking back at the fifteen year old who was persuaded to give up on her dreams of art college it seems at once like yesterday and a life time ago. I can’t quite believe I have finally done it. There is a saying that trying one new thing a day keeps you young, well it feels like I have been doing that for the last five years, ever since I stepped into my first class, aptly named ‘Drawing for the Terrified’ determined to see ‘if I could draw’ and petrified that I would find that I couldn’t. Thanks to some great tutors I have been encouraged  and nudged on to each new step right up to now when hopefully I will soon graduate.

One of the best things about being on the course has been the other students, I am not sure what they think about having older colleagues but they have always been supportive and encouraging and they have opened up my world and made me feel just like another student. At a time when my views could have narrowed and hardened they have made me see things through younger eyes, they are funny, clever and inspiring.

Anyway, Friday night was great, I talked to lots of interesting people,saw great art, drank a little too much and got an award!  The award for lifelong learning, a complete surprise and I am thrilled because if nothing else (and there is loads more) the course has taught it is never too late to start and you should always keep trying – and learning.

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I will write a post about my plates and book over the next couple of days

Our exhibition is part of Sheffield Hallam’s Creative Sparks 2012 and runs between 6-23  June, 10-4, Mon to Sat.

I am exhibiting at the S1 Artspace Gallery, 120 Trafalar Street, Sheffield,S1 4JT.

If you are nearby please pop in.

http://www.shu.ac.uk/creativespark/visit.html


Beauty – only skin deep?

A lot of my work is concerned with how our appearance affects the way we think about ourselves so I do spend time thinking about how this notion of beauty has shaped our world. Although I have never considered myself beautiful I have had to adjust my own view of myself as surgery and age has changed me, life traces the passage of time over all our bodies and if we are to remain content with ourselves we have to learn to accept those changes.

We have all grown up hearing phrases  like ‘ugly as sin’ and listening to fairy stories like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, where the hero/heroines are beautiful and the ugly are there to be punished or redeemed. In the past women have been disfigured and restricted by conventions that demanded corsets and foot binding and it is a shame that today when women in the west have more freedom than ever that so many feel it necessary to starve themselves and undergo surgery.

The trouble is beauty can now be bought, cosmetics, dyes, surgery, dieting can create a facsimile of perfection.  It is interchangeable with success, if the rich and successful are beautiful then by becoming beautiful riches and success will follow. It is used to promote and sell, it is a commodity to exploit.

It would be lovely to think that how you look doesn’t make a difference but you only have to remember back to your school days to know that the beautiful are treated differently, the groups of pretty popular teenagers to whom life seems to come so easily and the groups of awkward plain young people who have already learnt that they have more to prove in life. What is sad though is in a recent worldwide survey only 2 % of women stated they believed themselves to be beautiful.[1]

When we view the rest of the world through the filter of the airbrush then its understandable that our own image will be less perfect and as long as beauty is epitomised by the absence of imperfection then we are all doomed to fall short of that standard.

With medical advances enabling those with disabilities and deformities to live the variety of the human body is only going to widen, if we are to evolve into a happier and more content society then we need to find a way that allows beauty to encompass that variety.

We need to embrace the imperfections that life writes across our bodies. The notion of beauty fundamentally affects how we view the body, others and our own and it has been used to exclude and control but there is hope that it can become inclusive and celebratory because ultimately it is us who write the guidlines.

Here are links to a couple of interesting websites

Changing Faces is a charity that works to promote equality and acceptance for those with facial disfigurement. The whole site is interesting but try taking their face equality survey and see how accepting you are.

http://www.changingfaces.org.uk/Face-Equality/Take-the-face-equality-survey

The Face Research Lab which is has online psychology experiments that judge the facial traits people find attractive and programme for you to create your perfect/average face

http://www.facelab.org


[1] Nancy Etcoff. ‘The Real Truth about Beauty: A Global Report’, Dove White Paper, (2004)                    

<http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/contentarticles/52%20Beauty/dove_white_paper_final.pdf&gt; [accessed 20 March 2011]

Hello world!

I am a final year art student, studying at Sheffield Hallam. I am in the process of creating my WordPress blog, I am pretty slow so don’t hold your breath but once I am up and running I hope to talk about preparing for my final degree show, my art and interests