Sunday, January 1, 2012

Art & Magic: First you see it, now you don't?

Houdini: Art & Magic is an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco until 16 January. While I didn't make get to see the exhibit during my recent sojourn in the US, I was intrigued to see the publicity poster highlighting Houdini's famous Metamorphosis illusion in which the magician, bound in handcuffs and ropes, and assistant seemingly swap places.
Houdini: Metamorphosis
Interestingly, the definition of metamorphosis given by Gerrie when announcing this challenge also refers to magic - a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic.

The thing about magic is that it is illusory.  First you see it, now you don't.  No doubt the Houdini stage act was preceded by countless hours of experimentation and practice make it look so breath taking and effortless.  The same can be said for artistic metamorphosis - start with basic materials of fabric and threads and you can transform them into something that is more than the sum of its parts but only with time and practice comes mastery (often complemented by an element of serendipity!).

I have been travelling for the best part of two months and there have been many moments when I have wished for a Houdini-esque moment to put me back in the studio in seconds.   Instead I have contented myself with gathering inspiration and doodling some compositions in our new 20x12in format.  If, like me, you find it impossible to draw a decent rectangle to scale on graph paper, let alone a blank page, you might like to download this 2012 grid sheet (69KB PDF) which looks something like this:
 Now it's time to work your magic!


ANNA said...

How do you use this grid?

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Hi Anna
The rectangles on this grid sheet are sized in the same 20:12 (length x width) ratio as our selected format for 2012. I am using the gridsheet to sketch out some composition ideas. Quick doodles in the smaller rectangles and more considered placement of elements in the larger rectangle.

I usually work more improvisationally at the sewing machine and design wall but, since I have had an enforced absence from the studio, I have jotted down some ideas that I may, or may not, pursue.