Exhibition opening 24th November 2017
What a fabulous night at Mundaring Arts Centre for the opening of my first gallery solo exhibition - DRAWN. Good friend, Mikaela Castledine, made a wonderful speech and I'm so grateful to her for adding a touch of sophistication. Her beautiful words touched everyone, most of all me.
Opening Speech by Mikaela Castledine 24/11/17
I first met Karen about 15 years ago when we both belonged to the same archery club where we shot every week. When you are an archer you spend a lot of time standing in a line with a bunch of other people all facing the same way, but I am left handed so when I shoot I stand facing the other way so Karen and I spent many many hours standing facing each other about a metre apart and if that isn’t a solid basis for a friendship I don't know what is.
I would like to tell you a little about archery. When you are getting ready to shoot your arrows the first thing you do is ground yourself. You place your feet carefully, about shoulder width apart, you centre your weight and then you tip it ever so slightly forward like you are getting ready to spring, like you are preparing for something to happen. Next you take your equipment, equipment you have carefully chosen and meticulously looked after and lovingly prepared and you pull it back until you have a big curve of energy, a literal arc of potential between your two hands. Then you relax, keeping the tension only in the bow you allow it to leave your muscles, you settle yourself, you breathe and then you let go.
So let’s take someone who knows how to do this and put her in an art studio –where she grounds herself and centres her weight just a little bit forward as if something is about to happen and she takes up her carefully chosen implements and she holds between her hands a beautiful curve of energy and she relaxes and breathes and lets go. Most people think that the point of archery is to get your arrows in the gold but that isn’t the point at all. Archery is not about what happens over there at the target it is about what happens here, within you, here where you have stood yourself on the earth, controlling all the controllable things, breathing, stilling yourself and opening up and letting go. If your arrow lands in the gold then it is simply a demonstration that you have done everything right here. (indicates the heart)
Art is kind of the same, it is preparing yourself and focussing then letting go and seeing what happens. The work you end up with is a demonstration of your ability to both hold a big idea at full stretch and to relax and trust that it will go in the direction you are aiming at.
I guess, looking around this room, I don't need to tell you that Karen is a pretty good archer, that she hits the gold pretty often.Karen is strong and grounded, prepared and open, willing to learn and to trust. She is a wonderful artist and a magnificent friend and I am so proud of her setting her sights at
this her first major solo exhibition and hitting the target bang in the middle. The title of this exhibition is Drawn. You know that this word has many meanings beyond the one you might imagine in an art gallery but in archery the word draw refers to the act of pulling back the string of your bow, it is the very point at which you invest the bow with power, the fuelling of an action with an energy that is about to be released.
It is this meaning of the word draw that I want to apply to the work in this exhibition, these pictures are like batteries, capturing and storing all of Karen’s vast potential energy just at the point it is converted into action. So when you buy one of these beautiful works, and I encourage you to do just that, you are purchasing more than just something to look at, you are buying something powerful, something animated and alive, something to sustain you.
Karen I congratulate you on a beautiful exhibition and wish you such joy and satisfaction in all your endeavours at art and archery and everything in between.