Hummadruz

When I grew up I wanted to be, and believed I would be, an artist. I think it was natural to believe this; I have always been surrounded by art. My immediate family have been artists, variously for pleasure or professionally. As a small child I delighted in climbing the staircases on all fours to reach the top floor of my parent’s home which housed my uncle’s occasional studio and musical social smoking/drinking space for Siouxse and the Bansheesesque punks. I took the strange sculptures as playhouses, although not very sturdily built – I was able to demolish them from within. I was fascinated by my father’s ability to create with oil paints, and seeming effortlessness, the most tranquil and ‘realistic’ waterscape, my mother’s intricate work with pen and ink, and the way my grandmother captured at once the lighting of both stage/man and sky/nature in a depiction of the Minnack Theatre, sold with her other paintings of that time in 1980s Hayle.

When I did ‘grow up’, my predictions appeared to be coming true as I found myself working in Cornish art galleries, including the then new Tate St Ives. For a time I even had a gallery in Penzance, but working in galleries, and having the time to paint do not always go hand in hand. When I did feel moved to paint, it was for pleasure, sometimes representational, sometimes entirely abstract, but often somewhere in between. Always however my painting drew upon my love for the landsape, my magical relationship with it, and my fascination with its liminal places.

Of course, life very rarely goes in the direction one expects. I did not want, nor expect at all to become an author, and that this should be the area in which things would ‘take off’ was as much a surprise for me as it was for anyone. I would still love to be a painter, yet perhaps I have not deviated very far away from art after all? Like other occultists my work involves the making and use of magical items, often using components gathered in the landscape. Like art, magical objects, and indeed magic itself, convey meaning, often symbolic, and are designed to create change in the world. Many of my magical objects are an embodiment of my working relationship with certain magical aspects of the landscape, and the Otherworld running parallel to it, or convergent with it, and there have been many artists whose work could be described in similar ways. Indeed the line betwixt art and magic could be seen to be very thin, if it even exists at all. I write and perform ritual; where does ritual end and performance art begin?

Magic, ritual and art blend together seamlessly in the current Newlyn Gallery exhibition; Hummadruz, named after the mysterious and haunting ‘humming’ sound many have experienced in the landscape, particularly in and around ancient monuments, and what Cecil Williamson would call ‘pulse spots’.

Curated by Fieldnotes, the exhibition highlights women artists whose work encompasses a lived experience of nature, the landscape and the occult. I first heard about the exhibition some time ago in its initial planning by Rupert White of artcornwall.org. Alongside the work of artists such as Ithell Colquhoun and Monica Sjöö, both having an important place in my magical/ritual background, magical items would also be displayed, and I was kindly asked if items from my own collection could be included. Of course I was honoured and delighted by the idea, especially as my first visit to Newlyn Gallery had been for an unsuccessful job interview many years ago!

A selection of working magical and ritual items can now be seen in Newlyn Gallery, as well as examples of Jane’s ritual/magical photography, nestled amongst important artworks from Ithell Colquhoun, Mary Beth Edelson, Byzantia Harlow, Amy Lawrence, Susan MacWilliam, Niamh O’Malley, Silke Otto-Knapp, Beth Emily Richards, Monica Sjöö, Jill Smith, Lucy Stein, Linda Stupart, Gitte Villesen, Anne-Marie Watson, and various artefacts and documents from the collection of The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic.

Hummadruz will run to June 2nd 2018.

For More information visit:
www.newlynartgallery.co.uk/activities/hummadruz/

Images from the exhibition can be found here:
www.artcornwall.org/exhibitions/Newlyn_Gallery/Hummadruz.htm

An article written for the exhibition by Rupert White can be found here:
www.artcornwall.org/features/Sword_of_Wisdom3.htm

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