“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
The In Situ arts festival in late October was an extraordinary experience for me as an artist and a fun one in general.
With two large scale pieces in the main space and an entire room installation (allowing plenty of space for dancers to perform in), it was wonderful to stretch out (mentally and physically) into so much space.
The intensity required to conceive and execute so much in so little time is not sustainable for long (by me at least) but has some benefits. As I was just describing to a friend, it kept the threads of my thoughts white-hot, so every hour of work built 100% onto the previous hours, days and weeks of work – since most other distractions had been put aside... even sleep!
As well, working with the festival's fabulous lighting designer Joe Pagnan and working with light in the drawers and other components of my room installation 'Containment', has forever changed my thinking around light.
The incredible support and enthusiasm of Heather Snell, director/artistic director of the festival, and her wonderful husband Ken, was fertile ground in which to grow (thank you both!).
While I had nothing like enough time to get ready (in fact I am still trying to recover from the 24/7 preparations) but the joyful, creative and expansive experience that this was, coupled with the new work I produced for it, means I am glad and grateful for the opportunity.
And I still love that gorgeous, decrepit building!
Thanks to all who visited! For any who could not, I hope these photos will go some way toward compensating.
I make my work to be shared. With you.
Which is why, although only a one-woman operation, I do my best to share via my blog, social media and email 'Update' newsletter.
I know each thought, event or artwork is part of a larger story and an opportunity to build meaning and to connect.
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I will be updating my In Situ album on Flickr with more photographs soon, so check it out next week!
This weekend I had a great, challenging and tiring time being a student again.
One of my first teachers when I got back into visual art in 2003 was John Leonard. I took a number of painting and figure-based classes (working from a model) with him, ending with his Wednesday Workshop, a by-invitation-only group of experienced and professional artists.
I began as the least experienced member of that high performance group, which was a little stressful, but that served to help me up my game.
This weekend I was back with John Leonard and many of my favourite people (with a few notable exceptions). And I was back to painting from the model… for the first time in at least 5 years!
Since my painting has been focused almost exclusively on non-objective work for a few years, it took a while for me to work my way back to the figure in an easily-discernable way. The photos below are in the proper sequence, showing how abstracted I began and how I did find the figure again.
Drawing was a little easier because of the prep and demo’ing I do for my 'Figurative Art' classes at Neilson Park. Make no mistake though, prep and demos are not the same as mindfully drawing from a figure with no other intent.
I always loved the challenges John threw at us and he didn’t disappoint (it felt like home!). If you click here, you will go to the first drawing of the group I’ve uploaded to Flickr. There I have captioned the photos with a list of approaches required for the exercise, in their proper sequence, for anyone who’s interested. Just click the right arrow on the page to view the next drawing.
I was nervous heading into the workshop after so long away, but after a brief adjustment period, the experience was joyful and the challenge has really refreshed me. Even for someone like me who is always inventing and trying new things, periodic challenges like this are invigorating and good for my creativity.
Here are links to a few of my skilled and talented artist friends who were in the workshop with me:
does with the proper respect can require more thought than usual before speaking, as well as longer and deeper consideration of the other person's work than you would need for something you had done yourself.
For this collage, Kal and I started by taking turns at individual layers. Then things got interesting. It became a series of discussions with each intervention; longer discussion over smaller aspects as we got closer to completion.
The piece borrows a little positional/proportional structure from the original collage we responded to, as well as some colour and material reference, but in the end it totally surprised us, and that made us very happy.
Have you done collaborative work? Was it an enjoyable process with an interesting result or did the collaboration itself need more work? Please share your stories in the comments.
This summer was the first year for a new program I helped to develop and teach: the Studio Process Advancement (SPA) graduate certificate at Haliburton School of the Arts, a 14-week intensive combination of academic content and studio work.
We were lucky to have an amazing group of 12 committed, passionate and hard-working students for our first cohort. Along with the faculty team of Lisa Binnie (our coordinator), Elinor Whidden, Darlene Bolahood, Kal Honey, me and our fearless leader (and dean) Sandra Dupret, we had a number of visiting artists, a gallerist and a curator (I would thank them all by name, but I don't have them all at hand; a special thank you though to Andy Fabo) who made presentations, conducted hands-on demonstrations and consulted with students on an individual basis. Diversity of vantage points is hugely important in art, so these invited guests enriched the program tremendously by their contributions.
I found teaching for this a really interesting challenge. My favourite experience was having in-depth conversations one-on-one with the students, asking and answering questions, offering responses and suggestions, riffing on ideas. Those conversations are something you can really miss in a solitary studio practice, along with the support of a tight-knit group. Solitude is important for creativity, but so is connection, which makes all kinds of programs, classes, critique groups and so on, essential for most artists, at least on a periodic basis.
I'm very excited about the progress everyone made this summer and am so proud of them all!
The Haliburton Echo wrote an article about 'SPA' that you can check out here:
Kim Lee Kho
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.