I made a series of work Moments, about time spent in the garden last year based on the times of the Divine Office and have been revisiting these ideas - contemplating this particular space. I took some photographs thinking of time, changing light and the intensity, sensuality and perspective of flowers, with random rather than controlled images, taken haphazardly from underneath the plants. I suppose I wanted to get that sense of the brief life of flowers - blossom, blooming and scattering/dying - what is left at the end? - a lingering essence, perhaps a faint perfume, a return to the earth. Rilke writes beautifully of flowers, particularly roses.
Living in silence, endlessly unfolding,
using space without space being taken
from a space even trinkets diminish;
scarcely the hint there of outline or ground
they are so utterly in, so strangely delicate
and self-lit—to the very edge:
it possible we know anything like this?
(R M Rilke The Bowl of Roses - William H Gass Reading Rilke)
Recently I have been reading 'The Ecstatic Quotidian' by Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei who seems to sum up what I was thinking about - an ecstatic moment that can be re-experienced through the garden (or perhaps a painting), but which was probably first experienced very early in the mother/child relationship - a sense of longing or desire and a satiated moment. Something elusive and paradoxical - something in a state of becoming - moving towards perhaps the divine/sublime through the ordinary or everyday. The acknowledged moment becomes suspended in time.
I recently came across 'Fenautrigues' by Jean Luc Moulene - which is a photographic study of a French landscape in the Lot, where he reveals the aesthetics of a particular place through the everyday and recording over time. His images of abandonment and nature taking over - becoming - a greenness but with roses still blooming, I found resonant and moving - there is a poetry of time and space. An accompanying essay by Thierry Guichard makes very interesting reading too - memory bound up with experience of place, an endless journey from the end to the beginning replayed and layered with meaning.
Last weekend in the sheeting rain, my garden possessed this same spirit - a greenness only broken momentarily by the pink of two roses, more vibrantly expressed in reality than the photograph captures. Is this what I wanted in my paintings? Moments of experience - flashes of recognised emotion. I have now bought 3 slightly larger oak panels to return to another series trying to explore this idea a little more.