Monday, 21 July 2014

Jim Maunder is the Wind Beneath My Wings

Orange an encaustic and metal work for the wall by Jim Maunder.
So much for the slow days of summer.  It has been another week stuck on fast forward for me:  balancing assignments, curatorial projects and there is always something that pops up unexpectedly.  To my pleasure, the most recent one was a request from artist Jim Maunder to write a piece for an upcoming exhibit he has in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

August 8 - Sept 5. Opening Aug 10 2pm - 4 pm
The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
247 Ricardo St, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Phone:(905) 468-5455

 The following is an excerpt from our e-interview, which was followed by a phone conversation and multiple drafts as we whittled down the words together.

GH•Colour has such strong emotional appeal - we need to talk about colour.  Meanings, moods, associations for you?
JM: Not a lot of subtlety here. A lot of strong happy colours; reflects where I am in my life now.

GH•Your work has at times had a strong narrative.  What about this body of work?
JM: Quite a few are based on space, with rockets, meteors, stars (Xs) and planets (Os). These pieces are all inspired by watching the space race in the 60's with my father and looking at the moon and stars through my older brother's telescope. On close examination of Re-entry, one can see references to Van Gogh's Starry Night, with the same number and position of stars, the swirls in the night sky, and the shape of VG's foreground trees in the bronze flames of the space capsule. This piece represents my father in another way. My father was very cautious and anxious, some of which rubbed off on me, and my memory of the return of the space capsules was always a mixture of awe and anxiety as I understood as a kid, how the capsule could burn up if it entered the atmosphere or bounce off the atmosphere into space if it entered the atmosphere at the wrong angle
Re-entry by Jim Maunder.  Images used with permission of the artist.
GH•I think I should say something about the viewer feeling free to bring their own associations to the work.
JM:Yes and certainly the ones that are not space related are completely abstract and require interpretation.

GH•Influences…Miro?  Talk to me about influences please.
JM: Definitely Miro, particularly in Driftnet. The image you sent is my favorite Miro. Van Gogh as I mentioned above and less obvious perhaps is Robert Motherwell particularly his use of colour. The initial inspiration for this body of work was the cover of a Newfoundland Quarterly of a few years back of a rocketship with an astronaut reaching out the window to catch a star. It was done by the 4 year-old nephew of Joan Sullivan. I will see if I can find it to send you. I have long thought that the best or at least most honest artwork is done by 4 year olds who are skilled enough to draw or paint what the imagine, but young enough and uninhibited enough not to filter their work. I think a goal is to overcome my inhibitions and get back to the 4 year old spontaneity and simplicity. 
Drift Net by Jim Maunder.  We agreed that Miro was the influence.
GH•I enjoy the playful sense of movement in these works.  Movement reads as flying, swimming, cascading, fluid, dancing…I wonder if that is part of the musical analogy.

JM: I often explain abstract to people who don't get it, that it is like classical music. You can listen to classical music (or jazz or any instrumental) without knowing what it is about, but it has mood and movement and colour and action and makes you feel,  just like abstract work. I say the same about modern dance

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