Saturday, June 03, 2006

"The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and
the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage
through a series of thoughts. The creates an odd consonance between
internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is
also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.
A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was
there all along, as though thinking were traveling rather than making."

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
“The life of a region depends ultimately on its geologic substratum for this sets up a chain reaction which passes, determining their character, in turn through its streams and wells, its vegetation and the animal life that feeds on this, and finally through the type of human attracted to live there. In a profound sense also the structure of its rocks gives rise to the psychic life of the land: granite, serpentine, slate, sandstone,limestone, chalk and the rest each have their special personality dependant on the age in which they were laid down, each being co-existent with a special phase of the earth-spirit’s manifestation”

Ithell Colquhoun 'The Living Stones: Cornwall'
For Colquhoun, automatism was not simply the adoption of a state of mind which suspended conscious control. Whilst disconnecting herself from her conscious self, she was also connecting herself with a larger whole. Colquhoun aimed to lay herself open to internal, unconscious, forces as well as external spiritual ones. Inspiration could come from any source, internal or external. All that was necessary was some degree of dissociation in the operator, although, for her, ‘this seldom reaches the stage of trance’.

R. Shillitoe
An alchemist transforms materials; an artist transforms experiences. Both are, at once, part of yet detached from, the process. Colquhoun was particularly drawn to those moments where a change of state is occurring; the moment of transformation and metamorphosis. Moments such as these occur in the material world, the human world and the realm of the spirit.

Richard Shillitoe on Ithell Colquhoun


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