Saturday, June 13, 2009

Charlotte and Agnes

Charlotte Cain Kautilya #20

There was a woman sitting at the other end of the table Thursday night that I never got to talk to. Her name is Charlotte Cain. Her husband was sitting beside me and mentioned her paintings. They've recently moved to this area and she already has a show set up at room for painting/room for paper (49 Geary) for January.

Today he sent me a link to her site. I've spent all morning looking at her paintings.

There's one series called 16 Kolams. I wondered what a kolam was, so I googled it:

Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to homes. Every morning in Southern India millions of women draw kolams on the ground with white rice powder. Through the day, the drawings get walked on, rained out, or blown around in the wind; new ones are made the next day.

Decoration was not the sole purpose of a Kolam. In olden days, kolams used to be drawn in coarse rice flour, so that the ants didn't have to work so hard for a meal. The rice powder is said to invite birds and other small critters to eat it, thus inviting other beings into one's home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. It is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home, not the least of whom is Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity.

The patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings around a matrix of dots to free form art work and closed shapes. Folklore has evolved to mandate that the lines must be completed so as to symbolically prevent evil spirits from entering the inside of the shapes, and thus are they prevented from entering the inside of the home.

Charlotte said she was inspired by a friend of hers named Agnes Martin, so I had to google Agnes.

GASP!!!! Another whole new world opened up. Here's a magnificent 8-minute interview with Agnes, who died in 2004.

Agnes Martin, Stars