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Nothing ventured, nothing gained!


Out and about once again in Manhattan, and walking between the chiropractor (Dr Joe Cucci) on the Upper East Side (Ouch! Argh! … Ahhhh that feels lighter), a church (St Mary the Virgin) where I took a quiet break (breathe, settle, mmmmh … “yes “ … to this silence as well as to the noise again in a moment when I step back outside), and a gift shop (Domus) on West 44th where I’m angling for a part time job (Hi Luisa, it’s me again (Lois and I discovered this characterful treasure trove of a boutique-y gift shop just after Christmas); I still don’t have a work permit but I would love to work here, perhaps a day a week. “That would be great, I’ll mull it over and see what we can do”).

Nothing ventured, nothing gained?

A chunky, comfortable man is standing on the pavement outside the large glass windows of an imposing modern building, and he waves at me – well no, he didn’t really, but he did take my attention because he looked so nice; he was a larger-than-life bronze sculpture, holding up his hand because he was cupping a mini model of himself, which made me smile. Having stopped for that moment to admire this chappy, I took a brave breath and stepped through the grand doors, and asked permission to view the rest of this exhibition gallery.

“Of course, you are welcome”.

(I said brave, because it was one of those hushed spaces, a completely empty room apart from the lady at the desk, and I felt like a less-than-worthy visitor, especially if I would find price tags attached to the pieces and I might be supposed to be a serious purchaser if I place my foot inside the grand doors. Or I might be supposed to be an intelligent artsie kind of viewer who spends the ‘right’ amount of time on each piece, proving my deeeeep sensitivity to the superior elements of True Art. Anyone else ever feel like that? Huh. These silly self-negating attitudes just are not helpful and not necessary, and if the answer had been “no” I would not have lost out by having asked, would I?)

Nothing ventured, nothing gained …

The outside man’s giant uncle was standing

patiently and solidly in the middle of the

exhibition space in the warm inside, his arms

folded on his chest as he waited for something

or someone to turn up; he towered over my

head like a daddy over a 2 year old, and it was

easy to like him (and I kinda felt he liked me too).

But this mini-people version - above - drew my eye the

most, because of the relationship of the people

to the shadows on the wall.

Something about shadows and silhouettes always always attracts the attention of my eye and my heart. There is a not-quite-defined and happily-not-definable

mysteriousness about what is cast by physical forms by the presence of light and the un-presence of darkness (or is it a presence too?) (or somehow both at the same time?) and I like to live with both juxtaposed.

As well as these sculptures there were all sorts of paintings in the room, but the only ones that interested me were those that were not too literal, not exact and not photographic in detail. I have tried painting with acrylics and with watercolours with great frustration at my inability to express what I want to with a paintbrush in my hand; and I am always fascinated by how splodgily some of the best artists manage to say everything that beauty or truth require. I don’t like this picture at all really, but isn’t it extraordinary how a few simple scrubbed splotches across the paper communicate so much about the world in which we live? (I mean, the dark distance in this view could have been scraped off the bottom of a burnt saucepan, couldn’t it, only it wasn’t and that is where the skill of the artist lies).

This next one I stared at for the longest from

all angles. The fabric of her dress … again,

just a few splashes and sprawls of colour

have made beauty shimmer from the canvas.

Marvellous. Genius. If only I …

And here you are folks, just to prove I have not actually forgotten that I am on an apple

adventure this year: a sculpture (if that is what you call it) made entirely of pieces of red junk. Clever. Ugly. No more to say on that one.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained?

Just to say, I still feel I am at the ‘venture’ stage of our US year, and have not yet established friendships or activities that will make the year thoroughly fulfilling. It is a fantastic privilege and a super delight to explore and discover so much life in these days and weeks. And I know that you know that I know that seeds have to be spread widely and given a chance to take root before they can grow up and bring fruit. I have done a lot of sowing since arriving here 2 months ago. But I do look forward to some less momentary ‘gains’ as time goes on.


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