OUT FROM THE HEAT, IN FROM THE COLD – DAMIAN WALSHE-HOWLING’S SPEECH

BREATHE DEEPLY

SAY NOTHING

X 3

SEEKING ASYLUM IS A HUMAN RIGHT..

WHAT THE FUCK

1.

SEEKING ASYLUM IS A HUMAN RIGHT..

THESE ARE THE FIRST WORDS MARY SCHEPISI STARTED REPEATEDLY STITCHING BACK IN 2011 AFTER WALKING HER GRANDSON RUEBEN PAST A CHURCH IN SYDNEY, THAT HAD THESE WORDS EMBLAZONED ACROSS IT…

SEEKING ASYLUM IS A HUMAN RIGHT..

THEN NATURALLY CAME ‘WHAT THE FUCK’.. AND MANY OTHER SUCH MUSINGS IN HER MIND AS SHE EXPERIENCED, WITNESSED AND THOUGHT ABOUT THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION WE ALL FIND OURSELVES IN, ON THIS BIG BEAUTIFUL COLLECTIVELY INHABITED PLANET.

2.

SO PERHAPS LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT ART..     IN THE FIRST..

LET’S TALK ABOUT FLOWERS.. LETS TALK ABOUT PEOPLE..

BECAUSE LET’S NOT BE MISTAKEN, IF THIS EVENING IS ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL (AND IT MOST DEFINITELY IS) IT’S ABOUT FLOWERS AND IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE.. NOT FOOTBALLERS.. NOT LAWYERS, NOT PLUMBERS, NOT ARTISTS, NOT REFUGEES..

BUT PEOPLE.. ALL OF US..

MARY HAS BEEN PASSIONATELY PAINTING PEOPLE SINCE THE AGE OF 10, IN NEW YORK CITY, WHEN SHE WAS ENROLLED (BY HER PARENTS) IN THE FAMOUS ART STUDENTS LEAGUE OF NEW YORK..

A PLACE WHERE GREATS SUCH AS POLLOCK, O’KEEFE, ROTHKO AND MANY, MANY MORE THAT I DEFININITELY DON’T KNOW THE NAMES OF STUDIED AND CONTINUE TO STUDY..

OH BUT THAT’S RIGHT… SORRY, SORRY..

I SAID LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT ART..

TRICKY..

BECAUSE AS WE ALL KNOW..         “WHAT IS ART BUT LIFE..”

THE EXPRESSION OF LIFE THROUGH THE EYES, THE EXPERIENCE OF ONE PERSON, THEN SHARED WITH THE REST OF US..

SO ‘WHAT THE FUCK’..

LET’S… IN THAT CASE, TALK ABOUT ART.

 

3.

THROUGH DISCUSSIONS WITH MARY AND WATCHING HER BRING THESE WORKS TOGETHER, OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS. I WAS MOST STRUCK WITH HER PROCESS..

AND WHERE THE DECISION TO MOVE AWAY FROM PAINTING PREDOMINANTLY NUDES, AND MOVE IN TO WORKING WITH FLOWERS HAD COME FROM.

AND WHAT I FOUND OUT IS THAT IT WAS THE ROMANCE OF A WEDDING IN ITALY THAT PRECIPITATED THE SHIFT.

YES… MARY, FOR ALL DOWN THE LINE NEW YORK SWAGGER, IS IN FACT DEEP AT HER CORE, A ROMANTIC..

4.

MARY WAS STRUCK BY THE FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS AT THIS PARTICULAR WEDDING .. HER AND A FRIEND SAT AND DREW TENS OF TINY POSTCARDS OF THOSE ARRANGEMENTS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS..

NO DOUBT SIPPING ON A NEGRONI OR 7 AS WELL..

AND SO BEGAN MARY’S NEW LOVE AFFAIR WITH FLOWERS AND THEIR FORM..

A LOVE AFFAIR THAT TOOK HER THROUGH ALL THE SEASONS ON THREE DIFFERENT CONTINENTS ,

SOMEHOW CREATING STUDIOS OUT OF ANYTHING FROM A FOLDING CARD TABLE TO A LITTLE DESK NEXT TO MR SCHEPISI IN THEIR RENTED LOS ANGELES APARTMENT…

USING HER FINGERS, INKS, RAGS WHATEVER SHE FELT TO CREATE THE WORK.

5.

 

MARY IS SOMEONE WHO NOTICES THINGS.. THE TINY DETAILS..

NOT ONLY THE PHYSICAL, BUT THE EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, POETIC.. THE RHYTHMIC AND THE MELODIC ASPECTS OF LIFE.

ANYONE WHO KNOWS MARY..

AND FRED DEFINITELY KNOWS MARY AND MARRIED THIS QUALITY I’M ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT..

ANYONE WHO KNOWS MARY, KNOWS THAT HER HEART IS DEEPLY INVESTED ‘ALL THE WAY’ IN TO WHAT SHE DOES..

BUT NOT ONLY THIS.. HER HEART IS INVESTED IN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO.

SHE IS EXCITED BY UNIONS, BY THINGS THAT MOVE TOGETHER AND IN SOME CASES THINGS THAT ARE FORCED APART..

6.

MARY WHEN I COAXED HER

“I DIDN’T JUST WANT TO DO PRETTY THINGS.. I HAD SOMETHING TO SAY..

SEEKING ASYLUM IS A HUMAN RIGHT..

BUT SHE WOULDN’T VERBALLY COMMIT BEYOND THAT … THE MOUTHY NEW YORKER WAS PROFOUNDLY QUIET.. REFLECTIVE..

IT SEEMS TO ME A KIND OF MYSTICAL OCCURRENCE (ALTHOUGH THIS MAY BE A ROMANTIC FANTASY OF MINE) GRANT ME LENIANCY AND A TABLESPOON FULL OF ARTISTIC LICENCE..

BUT IT SEEMS TO ME A KIND OF MYSTICAL OCCURRENCE THAT MARY’S STITCHED MUSINGS WOULD END UP BEING MARRIED TO HER FLOWERS…

7.

PEOPLE ARE VERY MUCH LIKE FLOWERS .. THEY ARE EACH UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL,… COLOURFUL AND BROKEN, SO ALIVE AND YET PRECIOUSLY FALLING APART IN THE SAME MOMENT..

SO WHY WOULD WE CAGE THEM?

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

8.

AS THE GREAT MYTHOLOGIST JOSEPH CAMPBELL ONCE PUT IT..

NOT VERBATIM BUT…

THE SUBLIME IN ART IS THE FORTUNATE COMPOSITION OF RHYTHM, LIGHT, EMOTION AND FORM ALL SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF THE SINGULAR ARTIST AND THEN EXPRESSED SPONTANEOUSLY INTO THE WORLD IN A UNIVERSAL FORM..

A FORM THAT MAKES YOU GO AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

9.

 

SO PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO

BREATHE DEEPLY

SAY NOTHING

AND PERHAPS ALLOW ‘YOUR’ HEART TO SILENTLY GO..

AHHHHHHH!!!!

AS YOU LOOK AROUND AT EACH OF THESE PIECES THAT INITIALLY MADE ‘MARY SCHEPISI’S’ HEART SILENTLY GO

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!