Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Conversation between Mark Adair and Jane Lowbeer

A crankee by Jane Lowbeer
Mark: What is a crankee?

Jane:  It is a medieval tv (that is something we have in common --the medieval part) in that it is an early form of story telling that originally was accompanied with song.  It consists of a box with a scroll inside that can be turned by hand. The scrolls in these wall mounted crankees are monoprints on Japanese paper.

Mark:  Having spent some time with your work I have some thoughts and feelings to share.  It seems that the work is only nominally about the passage of time. Shelf life denotes the limits of usefulness before things should be discarded.

Jane: As long as something is on a shelf then it has a life and if it is thrown away than it is gone. For sure some of the pieces speak more about time than others. ie, -the one with the birds, Rendez-vous. In my mind, drawing the unfurling ribbon is about the unraveling of a day, or a year or a life time . And when all three birds line up in the drawing,  it represents a moment of time of connection  like when you notice the bird outside singing and  feel okay.

Mark: The scroll format harkens back to antiquity. Using it as well as you have places your work in an ongoing tradition which removes it from the mental list of things to be discarded.

Jane: What were traditional scrolls used for? Contemplation?  Isn't contemplation about the passage of time. "Shelf Life " is also about my own time line--  referring to my theatre days as the artistic director of the 'Crankee Consort'.

Mark: There is a wonderful quality to the manipulation of materials in the scrolls that does not 'gel' with the objects on the the shelves. I doubt if there is any specific inference you wish to make but there is clearly a reason for the juxtaposition. Would you care to comment?

Jane: A couple of people observed  that when turning the drawings it felt like  looking at music. Maybe the objects are riffing on a theme. It was a challenge to have the objects interact with the drawing at all moments. 

 Mark: There is a difference between narrative and poetry. The scrolls seem to be entirely poetic. No story specifically, just the skilled notation of things experienced.

Jane: I do agree these are visual poems more than stories .The person turning the crankee can stop the at any moment  creating their own composition

This conversation will be continued  on Sunday, December 4 at 1 pm. Join Mark Adair and Jane Lowbeer on December 4th at Loop Gallery to hear more.