Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Call and Response: Melinda Schwakhofer."

“One must not always think so much about what one should do,
but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us;
but we must ennoble our works.”

Meister Eckhart

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like, things you find interesting.


I am an artist who likes to put my personal signature on everything that I do. I may or may not be an artist in the conventional sense of the term, but I have a sense that my identity is, in some respect, my own creation. I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created. Some of my current work is about exploring persona via mask making - who do I show to the world and who/what is concealed behind my mask?


I make art from a wide range of media encompassing fibre, photographs and video, food. In the creative moment, I hope to bring something beautiful and good into existence. Not afraid to explore the darker side of life, I may endeavour to bring good out of evil, hope from hopelessness, meaning from absurdity, and to save what appeared to be lost; or at least make a darn good loaf of bread.


On a recent trip to Malvern, England, I came across a fountain, Malvhina by sculptor Rose Garrard. The design of the female figure, sculpted in stone and bronze, has a triple theme incorporating elements representing the three springs that supply the spout, the three roads that meet here and the three most important periods in Malvern`s history, - the ancient Celtic origins, the coming of Christianity and the growth of the town in Victorian times. Malvern spring water flows from a bronze disc where three circles interlink symbolising the sacred triple of the Celts and the Christian Holy Trinity.
Melinda Schwakhofer

Tomschulzartist responds: I first came across Melinda and her work in a circuitous fashion. I was surfing photographs of labyrinths on the web and was taken by a particularly lovely image. Playful shiftings of light and sheen across a delicately mottled pattern. Fascinated, I blew up the image and declared, "Hey, that's one of my labyrinths." I scooted to her blog ('my world' as she phrases it), Inspiraculum. Posted a note, and sure enough, it was the Myers Park Baptist Church labyrinth, completed in 2005. It's a darn good story.

I visit Melinda's world often.

I remain intrigued with Schwakhofer's ability to literally weave a tapestry of made and found objects and observations, and having not seen the evidence of her efforts in actuality have come to view her blog as a specifically coherent work of art. So when she shares with us that she may not
"be an artist in the conventional sense of the term", I had the thought, "Well, who among us is?" Convention is ephemeral. Convention is fashionable, or political. Art (especially when removed from the wall and pedestal) is communication. The drive to wind out a conceptual thread and share the great mystery of discovery.

Perusing the evidence of Melinda's response, I'm reminded of a wonderful defining statement from R. Buckminster Fuller (himself a most unconventional artist). Fuller said, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.” ”
Which (of course) is An Other way of saying,
"I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created."

And that's darned good living.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Melinda, for Responding to the Call.
That is a darn good-looking loaf of bread. Tom.

Above: "Alexandra", Oil on primed paper, Tom Schulz, 2001.

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