"i think monkey mind is our ordinary mind, it's when we can't really settle our mind. looking or searching for ground, "trying" to understand...like a process of developing....it is an experience of chaos.
"sky-like" is our natural state of mind, without chaos, without clouds, just that. like space, quiet and limitless; clear, calm, without questions and needs.
i'm not sure...is this really what it is? but i like the idea of working with both concepts, knowing both states and accepting them as human experience."
( an email from melania lynch to tess leak and george pados, regarding the exhibition, april 2011.)
exhibiting her work alongside chilean artist melania lynch and australian born george pados, tess leak’s works are delicate, pensive pieces inquiring into the solitary, nebulous nature of our own interior landscape. inspired by rauchenburg’s idea of 'the generosity of finding surprises' the english born, irish based artist uses a fusion of collage, charcoal and cardboard to create arrangements that left us lurching and longing after encountering images of faint figures emerging from bleak, blurry landscapes. or the resounding melancholy of stumbling across a character who races home to try out her new ‘resurrection machine’, only to realise ‘after the unveiling of my secret resurrection machine i could not shake the feeling that perhaps there were things in life that should be left alone’. equally, much of her work leaves the viewer light and delighting with carefully selected text’s that carry all the brilliance of a becekttian incongruity, ‘let’s go out into the garden and expect nothing together’.
but what could be more beautiful than a cardboard construction of a compass with the words ‘an inner turbulence error dropped us silently earth bound’!? her works are pieces of poetry in themselves, that found us ruminating that nothing is to be feared, only understood. or, at the very least, as tess illustrates, explored.
poxymash: tell us a little about your most recent exhibition?
tess: my work in the 'sky-like and the monkey minds' ( which sounds like a band, which is a good thing because i have secretly always wanted to be in a really loud band which is a bit interesting because people often say how 'quiet' my work is) show was inspired by, among other things, the disappearance of the pilot amelia aerhart, bad landings and victorian inventions. i found this amazing book on victorian inventions in a charity shop and it's so funny, this mixture of extreme eccentricity and stiff upper lip. also, my friend sharon gave me this old book she found called 'the book of happiness' by bo yin ra, what a treasure! he's very bossy about what humanity needs to do to be happy but the translation makes it all a bit confusing ... you wouldn't want to be counting on it! i cut up text from both these books to use in my collages and mixed them up...
pm: what do you wish for your art?
tess: i want to surprise myself when i am making things and i want visitors to the gallery to be surprised, to discover things. for instance, a little cardboard resurrection machine 'in which nothing or no one is ever really lost' on a shelf in a corner. i want the experience of the visitor to be a rich and engaging one... i want people to feel they have found some little thing for themselves.
pm: whose work are you feeling particularly drawn to at the moment?
tess: today my favourite is this piece i just saw in the crawford art gallery, cork, by dorothy cross called "whale". it's in the middle of the gallery's permanent collection of sculpture, some works are over 200years old and they are all made of either marble or plaster so they are all white. cross’s piece is a whale skeleton, scrubbed white, suspended from the ceiling, nose-diving into a rusty bucket of sea water. it’s amazing and so at home there that i almost walked right past it.....
pm: what is the scariest thing about being an artist?
tess: the scariest thing about being an artist...interesting question. actually i think for me making art make things LESS scary. instead of being someone who is only reacting... i am creating things too. this helps.
to see more of tess leak's work, please visit, http://tessleakdrawings.blogspot.com/
sky like and the monkey minds takes place at the sarah walker gallery, Castletownbere, Co. Cork, Ireland.