Visions from Albion
Peter Hugo McClure
Artist Statement / Open letter
Can there be aesthetics
The questions / problems that come to mind include the delusion of certain so called democracies, the multi-nationals that prey on the naive and gullible, the press Barons that appear to know the news before it happens, the league of hyper-rich that finance wars as if some parlour game, the seeming reluctance of many western countries to tackle the problems of pollution, the anomalies that disfranchise citizens of human rights... ad-nauseam.
Back in the city a complex game is played by the ambitions and well healed in which the fate of countries can be thrown into turmoil, though the Taniwha eludes them.
In the precincts of "Walden - Pond" Thoreaux's spirit searches for like minded beings to create his utopia, unfortunately missed by the eco-tourist with cameras poised to capture the quaint primitivism of the past. Pity he's not alive today to embrace "Nga Kaitiaka - o-te taonga" (guardians of the treasure), a group of well motivated artisan/eco warriors committed to preservation of old traditions and the natural environment. He would also be able to experience "Koha" (giving of gifts unconditionally). His message and mantra of simplicity, simplicity, simplicity still nourishes the labourer and philosopher alike.
Forget the political evangelism live simply, grow organic food, build your own house, pray for rain, meditate all day, chase rainbows and be silly at least once a week. By doing this the problems of the world will disappear.
"Living-with-in-tent" - No.2 (a continuum)
A warning to all with a weak constitution, read no further... the truth can be very uncomfortable.
Further into the quagmire of intrigue of "Zen and the art of selling pictures"; an intricate game that can be mastered by anybody with lots and lots of money and a very high I.Q; as both of these are mutually exclusive (with rare exceptions) it is mastered by very few. There for, the Art-Market is controlled by these few individuals; who by and sell at a whim creating the "flavour of the month".
As an artist you are either in the "Art Market" or you are not. If you are in there is a surfeit of buyers all knowing prices will inevitably rise and if you are out you can not sell at any price. Art has become just another commodity. So to all you True Artists, forget this folly of becoming a Professional and get a proper job. To quote T.H.Huxley: "Oh Devil! Truth is better then much profit. I have searched the grounds of my beliefs; and if wife and child and name and fame were all to be lost to me as the penalty, still I will not lie."
Again from a poem by William Cowper:
And the following poem by Phillip James Bailey (U.S.)
Virtue in deeds, not words.
So the commercial world is full of pit falls it's better to be uncompromising and free...
Back to serious business; Picasso created over 100,000 images. Assuming that each image is valued at $100,000 (U.S.); how much is his life's work worth? A Melevich sold recently for 70 million in New York; The painting in question was "borrowed" by a local museum for 60 years and returned to it's rightful owners. Van Gogh sold one painting in his life time for $50 which is valued today at 50 million dollars. A Warhole print sold recently sold for $4 Million (U.S.); a product from his "factory".
It is obvious with such inflated prices for "Art" that prices will go down ( a law of gravity dictates that) and where is the morality when a picture by some hyped-up artist is valued more than the annual gross-national-product of a small country.
It would be interesting to "speculate" as to which the almighty would bestow favour in the "Art-World". A painting by a child? A primitive cave painting? Possibly a gesture made by a creature other than human-kind? And how would the "Names" (the blue chips of the Art-World) reckon? There are many unknown Artists whose work has the potential of exponential appreciation.
This banter may sound a bit like a build up to a sales pitch which I guess it is; it is possible to buy an original McClure for less than the price of a print by most "established" Artists. A forth-coming exhibition entitled "Gathering water in a straw hat" allows you to view/ purchase recent work by myself.
Kiora, Peter Hugo McClure.
Living with in-tent: No:36…a continuum.
Not withstanding the campaign for electoral
reform in countries with anomalous systems eg. “the up-hill Landslide”
of Tony Blair’s last election; a 60% poll; 40% of the vote; 23%
of the electorate; and with a whopping 160+seat majority in the House
....So let’s escape and go back
in time; to Japan 1000 years ago (approx.) a Japanese poet named Fujiwara
Nokinto (966 -1041) organised a poetry competition of living and deceased
poets; the winners being published in a book entitled “A Selection
of 36 Poets” that later became known as “The 36 Immortal
Here is another Waka written over 500 years earlier:
This was composed by the Japanese emperor
(Kammu 737 - 806) in the Heian period (790 - 1185) and written to a
suitor who declined to write a poem at the emperor’s request.
Presumably she felt unable to impress one so eminent.
200=200: Is the title of a collection
of Haikus that
The following are a few poems / writings from China
going back up to 1000 yrs.
Artists should never compromise their idealism and
retain freedom of expression.
Living-with-in-tent: No. 37...a continuum.
Let us start with the "The First Gatha" (enlightened song) by Nui Neng...the 6th. Chan Buddhist Patriarch:
In essence the Bodhi has no tree
Followed by the famous poem (Haiku) by Matsua Basho:
Then we come the the serious matter of art...Life and Every-Thing
Art , Life and Everything
There are 64 codons in life's genetic code which is the maximum number of 3 'letter' words that can be made from the 4 bases or letters (A, C, T, G) i.e. adenine, cystosine, thymine and guamine. A long string of these codons (eg AAG, ACT, CTG, CTT, GTA ...) make up genes…the basis of the D.N.A. double helix…the blueprint for all living things. R.N.A. (the messenger from the blueprint) is transcribed from D.N.A. and is made up of anticodons. A becomes U (uracil), C becomes G, G becomes C and T becomes A. Thousands of codons make a gene and hundreds of thousands of genes make a chromosome. Between a few and just under one hundred chromosomes are needed for every species of life. This mathematical coding system is the basis of all living things and, with the advance of genetic mapping, it is possible to see how closely related we are to all living things ... which gives us more reason to have empathy with all the creatures and plants that inhabit the earth ... and possibly places beyond.
By using a binary system based on the hydrogen bonds of the 64 codon/anticodon pairs, it is possible to create a 8 x 8 magic square.
The game of chess is played on an 8 x 8 board, which many mathematicians have used as a starting point into arithmetical/geometrical enquiry. It is possible to traverse the 64 squares of a chessboard once only by making a series of knight moves…There are thousands of ways to do it and a small number of these 'tours' are closed i.e. the last move is a knight's move from the first. Additionally there are hundreds of million magic squares that can be created from a 8 x 8 square. A magic square is made up of a grid of smaller squares i.e. 3 x 3, 4 x 4,5 x 5,6 x 6... with the numbers starting from 1 to the squared number e.g. 9,16,25,36... arranged in such a way that the sum of numbers in any row, column or diagonal all add up to the same number (the magic number). The following 4 x 4 square with the magic number: 34 is one of an infinite number of magic squares.
The 3 x 3 has just one solution (discovered by the Chinese about 3,000 years ago), the 4 x 4 has 880 solutions, the 5 x 5 has over 20 million…The numbers start shooting up-astronomically ... Then there are magic cubes, hypercubes and multi-dimensional cubes that need thousands of computer days to find solutions.
Back to 8 x 8 magic squares... Just a few of these can be generated from a knight's tour but none are perfect magic squares (the diagonals do not have the magic number). The following are 2 examples:
A closed semi-magic knight's tour by Wenzelides
Magic sum 260
Magic sum 260
Note 32 to 33 is not a knight's move but slides 3 squares but the square has amazing - properties. Opposite sides of a vertical mirror plane the numbers always add up to 65, e.g. 5 + 60, 55 + 10, 27 + 38 ...
Now we come to the I-Ching, the ancient Chinese method of divining... Using 64 hexagrams ... A binary system consisting of 6 broken or continuous lines. The following are a few examples:
Again it is possible to transpose the 64 codons from D.N.A. to the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching ... Is this all by chance or design?
The most profound ratio in the universe can be expressed with just the number one ... Take one away from it and it equals itself divided into one, i.e. x-1 = 1/x, a very simple formula and it follows: x2-x-1 =0 a quadratic equation where x = (v5+1)/2=1.61803398 ... This is the 'Golden Ratio' and the 'Golden Rectangle' has sides of (v5+1) and 2. This ratio can also be expressed using the fibonacci series of numbers 1/1,2/1,3/2,5/3,8/5, 13/8,21/13 - As the numbers of the ratios get bigger, the closer they get to expressing the golden ratio but this series of numbers can go on to infinity. The ratio can only be expressed accurately using geometry.
What follows is truly profound but can be understood by a 5 year old: Draw an equilateral triangle and on its base a square and circumscribe the square with a circle ... Draw a vertical line through the center and, using this line as an axis, rotate the 3 shapes through 180 degrees. The following forms are created: cone, cylinder and sphere and their volumes are in the ratio of 1, 2, 3. That is absolutely amazing but simple.
I must just add the following:
Is that cubism?
A myriad of mathematical/geometric concepts are awaiting to be discovered ... Further enriching our present knowledge of "sacred geometry".
Kiora, Peter Hugo McClure.
Living with-in-tent: No. 144 ... a continuum
Why No. 144? Because it's the first Fibonacci No. that's also a square (pure self indulgence on my part).
As an Independent and Itinerant Artist I have for many years traveled the globe often living in a tent or staying in back-packers, with friends and relatives and occasionally staying in 3&4 star hotels (by bartering with my Art-Work).
I own 2 acres of Land in Cornwall, U.K. & stay there from time to time in the summer while working there and for the past 6 yrs. have cultivated the Land for the growing of fruit, vegetables and herbs (organically) ... this has been a labour of love and hundreds of tons of granite have been moved to create terraces steps and footpaths ... in addition, various in-site Art-Work has been created...including a Shrine to Hiroshima/Nagasaki which I started on the 60th anniversary of the use of the Atomic Bombs against civilians .. it has been created from dedritus found on the 2 acres.
Like H.D. Thoreau of Walden Pond fame: I have a stream which is like a dream... He had a pond which he was fond... Four years ago I erected a small garden shed (10 x 8 ft.) on this land in this quiet leafy coastal village in Cornwall which has become the heart & soul of the land from which spiritual energy emanates and has now become a Mandala.
The local council in their wisdom have recently given me notice to remove this Mandala Shed which they regard as an affront to middle class bucolic respectability... though they give carte-blanche to mega-developments in the area and positively swoon at the sight of troughs full of money... so to all reasonable minded people in cyber-space I ask: "Is this a violation of Basic Human Rights"... I made an Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for the right to retain the Mandala Shed and await the saber-rattling of the "buro-bunnies".
This plot of land is my only asset on this planet apart from my Art-Work.
Like a migrating bird I have for many years enjoyed 2 summers per year ("watari dori") In Japanese and in quieter moments reflect on "mono no aware" of this "Floating World" from which words and images are propagated...
Lighten'd from fasting
Socrates said there is no knowledge in books and committed suicide rather than compromise his quest for truth and Independent Thought... he inspired Plato who inspired Aristotle... who inspired Alexander The Great... and now to the modern world and this summer/autumn to be precise... I had an exhibition entitled: "Blast from the Past" but because of events beyond my control was unable to promote/advertise... so the info regarding the show is given in retrospect and is now History...
N.B. The last twelve images in the Art-Work section
were on show.
The title of the exhibition was inspired by BLAST the magazine/Voice of the Vorticist Movement the most avant-garde art movement ever in Britain... founded in 1913 it included such luminaries as: Wyndham Lewis, Edward Wadsworth, Henri Gandier-Brzeska and Ezra Pound. At the outset of WWI the movement was in abeyance held though it's ideas and spirit lives on and has inspired many artists since.
Back to Basics...
We live in a very pluralistic world and it is a great joy finding the threads that link all of humanity.
Here is a mathematical diversion:
As William Blake so succinctly put it, so lets end with a question:
"What is special about the number...
The answer can be found at: http://primes.utm.edu/curious/page.php/7427466391.htm
Have a nice day... Pete McClure, Cornwall, Autumn 2007
After planning permission was rejected the Council infortunatley advised me that the Mandala Shed would have to be demolished. Under duress, I decided to sell the land to someone in Penzance with a sympathetic ear and placed a number of personal items in storage, packed my essentials and headed for London and then to parts unknown. Currently I am traveling through the United States looking for another place to continue my painting and photographic works.... and a place to once again hang my hat.
“ Living-with-in-tent: No.145…a continuum.”
Having just returned from a visit to China one cannot ignore such an important and ancient culture and the enormous changes that have taken place in the last 50 yrs and that are still taking place there…and yet with all the hussle and bussle taking place it is still possible to find a quiet place to repose amongst…
The grand and modest
In The People’s Parks where the traditional arts still flourish and becoming enamoured by the Tai Chi, the traditional music/singing and the pure joy of socialising in a public place…
Standing out a mile
On the Island of Hainan there are few Europeans which makes a pleasant change…the Chinese are proud of their “culture” and rightfully so…there is very little contemporary art out-side the Major Cities but with such a rich history do they need it? It would be a great pity if if they started to emulate the very worst of Western Culture.
A scrawny cat peers
I am now back in Cornwall living-with-in-tent and for the past week have watched the sun set on the Atlantic every evening…God is merciful…
I have just moved into a small former miner's cottage
that will become my studio/home and for the duration of the summer I
will have an Open Studio every wedensday from mid-day till 7pm...it
is situated on the north Penwith coast between Lands End and St. Ives
and not very far from where D.H. Lawrence wrote "Women in Love"
in a cottage similar to mine.
Best wishes to all…Pete McClure, Cornwall, July 2008
The latest ground-breaking
news (for those into number theory): The largest sequence (in this case
23) of prime numbers that are in Arithmetical Progression was recently
found by the trio: Marcus Frind, Paul Jobling & Paul Underwood.... Man was made for Joy & Woe
Man was made for Joy & Woe
download a printable PDF version of the invitation