Garage Residency Artists

Penny Simons

August 8-13 2022


Endings and Beginnings
My gut feeling was to use this week to look, think and consider, at a time of heat and upheaval.
I’m about to move away from what I know, socially and geographically. It’s a wrench to leave the familiar and with no studio I’m contemplating what this will be and how it’s going to work. How will it enhance my life and work? Will it enhance my life and work? Why do it? Well I suppose a nagging feeling of wanting something new, a challenge which is at the same time restorative.
Literally a new horizon, acknowledging the fact that there is absolutely nothing to stop me (except myself).

That was quite a lot to bring into the space. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I brought in some work in progress: a series of hanging objects- strange shapes which moved in the breeze to their own rhythm. Each had its momentum. Some were ponderous and cumbersome and moved slowly, others jerkily in odd almost-but-not-quite circles. One in particular took on a complex slow unfolding movement. I had not had the space to see them all together before and was mesmerised.

These objects were always to be ephemeral. Made of different weight fabrics they hold pigments derived from the earth. Each piece has a personal resonance of some sort, either through the previous owner of the fabric or the geographical location. There is an inherent contradiction in them: the weighty earth lightly and gently moving in a tiny gust of wind on a scorching day.

But they are part of this life- the one I’m leaving- so they have to end. I was going to destroy them by ripping and cutting but that didn’t somehow feel right, and anyway they defeated me. As with this whole spontaneous process of making, the answer presented itself. As I cut them down, stepping and lying on them to flatten them, they shifted and arranged themselves into a series of collage pieces Not quite 2D to 3D to 2D, but almost (if you discount the lumps and bumps, the
sharp edges and sticky-out bits of their inherent resistance).

I think it’s a fitting end. Perhaps I will show them to an audience somewhere with photos of the making process, videos of the movement and the final pieces up on the wall. Who knows? More
importantly they have given me more to explore, more to develop, more to try out, and the time and space to look and think.

I am so grateful to Helen for the use of the room, without which none of this would be possible. It’s a very special space, lending itself perfectly to reflective experience. Thanks too for the conversations and messages from those of you who gave me feedback, and the lift which saved me from another long walk in 33c heat. Much appreciated, and hopefully we can keep those conversations going.
It is a beginning, after all.