Monday, 14 December 2009


I was in my second year of Art College when World of Interiors magazine came out.
I bought it and fell in love with it. That was in 1984/5.
I was a “fine-art” student and therefore hid it under my desk but looked at it over and over again … I knew there was something relevant about environments on every level and in every case. There was an art to creating them and a mystery too as to why they communicated so strongly and their effect was so powerful.

My previous background had been in the performing arts and I was, aware of energy and its impact on a performance and the performance space.
I began creating environments a.k.a. installations in a spirit of enquiry.
· I wanted to know what made them “art”.
· What was the relationship between art and energy …
· was there an art of energy?

I created an environment comprising two huge wall- hung canvases one of a water jug and the other an enormous doorway using only linseed oil and charcoal. A line of black objects made of clay, modelled on something I owned because I felt that they held some symbolic meaning for me, that they stood for something, lay along the floor.
The line created by the objects was as black and as wide as the lines on the canvases. The objects were all made from the same amount of clay which meant that their scale was changed in every case, some were larger and others smaller than the original.

When the artist Paul Neagu came as a visiting tutor to critique the work he said of this installation “I don’t know why I like being in this space but I do…I can’t say any more I just like being here”. Paul had responded to the energy within the space. The energy was created by what was in that space and the “negative”(empty) space that existed between things.which is of course not empty at all but alive with energy.

I had breathed life and energy of the most honest authentic sort into the elements of the piece and together in a space they communicated at the deep level from which I had resourced them ; my authentic spiritual emotional and physical life . I had been been true also to the materials I had used . The work had integrity and it vibrated with love, resonating poeticaly across time and cultures . It was a mixed media drawing that spoke of many things … things I could not talk or write about but that had to be experienced ,felt.

What I knew in answer to the question I had been asking at the start of that project was. “What makes a space you want to be in, or not be in , for that matter. And the other big question …what is art?.

I’m not going to bang on too long on this philosophic vein but please do comment or ask questions if it interests you as it does me and we can converse ,dialogue, share.

Twenty-five years and a few rented studios later , I make paintings and drawings
working and living in an environment that is far from how I would like it to be but I do know that it is a reflection of where I am at the energetic level. It is not an unpleasant place to be and it has a certain beauty for all the paints that are spread over tables, canvasses stacked against walls and the paintbrushes that are forever drying by the kitchen sink and standing bouquet–like in the studio.

There is an order to the “chaos” and I rarely lose anything .
I have been in very many environments over the years domestic, institutional, corporate and sacred. The atmosphere in all of these is varied .
I have been in churches that I just want to get out of as fast as possible and one or two where I want to be for hours, and little sitting rooms that are a lovely place to be .It is the quality of the energy, how it feels, that which has gone into the creating of it that makes the difference.
ALL ruins regardless of their original purpose have a certain resonance in common as Simon Sharma testifies to in his wonderful book about landscape.

I can only take so much of palaces, though that said, different rooms communicate differently. A lot depends on what is in the spaces, the objects, the relationships between objects and of course colours which all have their own energy.
Paintings have a tremendous impact on interiors because of the nature of the vibrations of energy invested in the piece by its creator .I can sit for hours in some art galleries and others I find overwhelming depending on the energy of the work on show. This has nothing to do necessarily with any judgement of taste, ie: whether I like it or not. I am an admirer of Picasso and his work, yet I had to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona daily for some weeks, flying around very quickly on each visit .
The energy in the work was so powerful ,I felt exhausted and over stimulated at the same time in that space.
Feng Shui has become popular as a concept and a helpful one too in my view. Feng Shui is about moving the energy through and about space and creating a flow and balancing energy in order to affect the energy of the individual..

The quality of that energy however is everything. is it AUTHENTIC? Authentic energy will be felt and experienced at an authentic level. Is it pretending? To be …. Anything … clever… tasteful…interesting…..beautiful….. Is it just plain “soul-less”?

Interiors Magazine has recently changed editors and there are those who agree with me ,that it had done all its best shoots a long time ago. Whilst the rooms are still ...mmmm whatever.... the energy overall has definitely waned over the years

Rooms homes etc, like clothes and accessories are all aspirational. They are a potential expression of our internal being (our emotional psychological and spiritual energy)
My favourite ever Interiors feature was of the inside of house maids rooms in South Africa (where I spent formative adolescent years) .

I remember those rooms at the back of the house... spotless with pristine starched linen on the high raised iron bed; the clean scalloped newspaper hanging over the narrow dresser type shelf the enamel basin and jug and a couple of wall hooks with a change of clothes hanging there.
Yes these things are aspirational, clothes and homes ….. I aspired to this simplicity that was akin to the philosophy and practice of Shakers, Corbusier and William Morris .
Picassos, studio/home at Vaullaris is iconic, as was the man himself (of course as it was a reflection of his particular energy) Picasso said ” be wealthy and live a simple life”

My space is simple and it reflects my energy at all times. It is very light. It is always clean. Often though it is very untidy, I have trouble putting stuff away or getting rid of it. This is in conflict with my aspiration as “less stuff = more space” is definitely my preferred philosophy and I need space to dance. I don’t have a lot of personal “stuff” just a lot of art/work “stuff” and insufficient space to accommodate it satisfactorily.

Living and having a working studio in a three room apartment is tricky but I can manage with skill …. Yes there is an art to it . I just have to keep practising that art until I find myself in a different place, vibrating with a different energy (perhaps aspiring to something larger whilst remaining simple )..................... there is definitely an art of energy I am just slow to decide how much I NEED if anything....I mean what is ESSENTIAL

My living /work environment reflects my inner space and energy: creative; ordered; flexible;rich in many ways.
I would like however to expand my inner space beyond making and teaching ,to make room for friend & family meetings, fun ,games ,music and of course…. dancing (just as soon as I can walk again that is!)
Link to World of Interiors magazine ( more aspiration than inspiration but it does what it says on the can)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anne. Im so happy I found your blog. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts about space and energy. It was like you were in my head writing my thoughts. I feel like a kindred spirit. Also love your The First Blooms of Spring on your Saatchi site. I've clicked to follow so shall be back to visit again soon. Regards Angela


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