Saturday, 5 May 2018

Cat of the Heavens







concept, film, & music
composed, performed & produced by
© ℗ Gaynor Perry

Still from Cat Of The Heavens film featuring Amanda Hull as 'Fidella'.
***

Since I was a bird I made a nest
I took my light from the stars lying in the snow
I drew my soul from the aquifer below
since I was a bird

All the garages are besieged by vines
ruthless winter speaks to the worms with an icy tongue

The world and her moon are a theatre for you
so take a spider bite with good grace and spin in space

Cat of the heavens
strange harmony in the hearth light
a watcher in the woods - what are you thinking about?
Fold me into your little paws
I promise not to fly away

Open up, open up, open up
the doors of the sky

The world and her moon are a theatre for you
so take a spider bite with good grace and spin in space

Cat of the heavens
strange harmony in the hearth light
a watcher in the woods - what are you thinking about?
Fold me into your little paws
I promise not to fly away

***

Cat of the Heavens is the final piece for my album, which is called A CHILD'S RUMOUR. I have loved the adventure of creating this body of work. Each song is a real-time audio export of my personal circumstances over the past 5 years ‎intertwined with memories. Losing myself in creating these sounds is invaluable to being self-defined and expression in this field seems to be a vital component of my daily human life. Yet, ultimately, I am a woman wishing to become a bird.‎‎ :-)




Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Spy & Other Stories



“Often uncanny and verging on unnerving, these beautifully selected black and white shots are rich with a mythical quality all of their own. Perry invites you to share her wonder in the mysteries of nature and folklore, revealing the underlying narratives that she feels so strongly to be true.” – Eleanor Pearce, artist

“The bright shadows left by future dreams once remembered.” – Andrew Back, artist


Imagine telling an epic story about 
yourself and the world through your eyes 
that isn't a lie. 

I had some really vivid dreams last night that highlighted to me the power of being inspired by and appreciating nature; how that sense of awe can feel like being lifted into the air, akin to flight. I think wildness came through very strongly and spoke to the wildness in me. 

In one of the dreams, I met a stag and somehow I knew this: If you meet a stag in the heather, and he bows to you, be sure to step to the side before you return a low bow so he will know you revere him in greeting. Otherwise, he will crush your skull with his antlers.

This world is not what it seems, 
and it is certainly not what we are told it is. 
In truth, there is no sense of order here,
 so our little hearts crave stories that glue us together.

Sentinel, St Anne's Well, East Yorkshire

***

a solo exhibition by Gaynor Perry
featuring black & white photography
at the Peggy Jay Gallery
Burgh House, New End Square, London NW3 1LT

Wednesday 16 to Sunday 27 May, 2018
Preview: Wednesday 16 May 6.30pm-8.30pm

The exhibition is open 12-5pm
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Sundays
(nearest tube Hampstead)



The Spy (main image)
Portrait of Bourne, Senescent Tree (main images)
Portrait of Bert (main image)
The Dawn has a lot to Offer (main image)
Mädchen - mixed media, hand-made puppet

Monday, 5 February 2018

Goodwood Lambs


Welcome to the world.










Beautiful ewes with their newborn lambs at the Goodwood Estate, West Sussex.  Some of the lambs had just arrived that morning. Above is a distinctive Southdown ewe.


Couldn't ignore this striking couple.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

St Anne's Well

There is little known about St Anne's Well – an ancient holy well, originally called Wealletune after the place-name (Welton, East Yorkshire), adopted by Christianity and re-named St Anne's Well in c.1080. Prior to that it is believed to have been a place of pagan ritual, the well being a portal to the Otherworld. It's particularly meaningful to me as I played around the site of the well as a child. Unaware of the history beneath my feet at that time, I continue to be drawn back there in dreams.

"... the holy well stands before a long, if tiny and ill-lit, corridor of history with doors leading off into many unexpected and little-visited rooms..." James Rattue, author of The Living Stream.

The well has been covered with stone slabs for a long time, a tree has tried to grow over it.  It has been sheltered here over the years in the grounds of Welton House, a large estate which was demolished in 1952.

An archeological report made of an area near the well recovered early prehistoric, Iron Age, Roman and early medieval pottery from a  layer of ‘hillwash’ above the natural chalk; the presence of these pottery fragments testifies to early settlement in the vicinity of the site, including some which could date to the late 11th century, when the well came into being.  

Welton House 1923
I was fortunate to be granted access to the site recently and was delighted to discover the well and natural spring which is still seeping from the ground. It is awe inspiring to imagine the people gravitating to this water-source with their fears and desires over the years. For at least a thousand years, this ancient spring has served a multitude of needs. I hope to convey a sense of this timeless promise in the photographs below. 


The water is trickling into here. The well itself is about 3 metres to the right.
St Anne's Well (covered)





There are deer who have been on this plot of land for decades, they eat these leaves, a neat fringe.
Ganoderma Applanatum 
White Holly


This is an excerpt from my 40 minute immersive soundscape, incorporating CymaScope imagery by John Stuart Reid. It was first shown at Islington Arts Factory in April 2017 on the opening night of my solo exhibition How Shall I Get Elephants To Stay, accompanied by an improvised performance from Estelle Riviere as The Owl. Within the Cymascope instrument the surface of pure water offers a kind of super-sensitive membrane and by imprinting sounds onto the liquid surface, unique patterns of sound energy are created for every unique sound.

The heron is an enigmatic being richly featured in mythology and folklore. For me, herons can be the most beautiful creatures to grace our skies, and whenever I see one I instinctively feel it is a 'good omen'; somehow they chime with me.  In St Anne's Well, the heron may be both guardian or oracle, but always an enduring presence in our subconscious landscapes.


Ganoderma Applanatum

Ganoderma Applanatum, otherwise known as The Artist’s Conk. I found this one growing on a tree next to the well, I didn’t know its name at the time but thought it looked interesting, so I took it as a memento. It was fed by St Anne’s Well, Wealletune. So, apart from dreams where I roam these grounds and sleep in the water, wrapping it around me like a blanket, it is now tangible, I can hold it in my hand.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A Child's Rumour


We were gifted with an unexpected visit by a beautiful falcon whilst making this film. We could see from the tags on her legs that her name was Ruby. She arrived in a very timely manner, a bell sounding her arrival; I had just asked the little girl in the film to run around an oak tree, as if to make a spell.

Ruby stayed for a while on the ground, and performing low swoops over our heads. Her raptorial presence amazed and inspired us. She then followed us from above as we walked home through the old, wooded pathways by the fields.

Perhaps our imaginations exist beyond ourselves, reaching out for the things we love – and maybe all of nature is listening, waiting for a chance to reach back.





The photograph above is of a mysterious copse I knew as a child. There's a stone trough in the middle and someone said they used to put foxes in it, which is strange, and unlikely. At the time, however, our young brains imagined this to be true. I would love to know more about the copse and who planted it. The trees are like gnarly-limbed old ladies, boughs tangled together in their old age. It is quite something to step into their midst and wonder. 




In the sky beyond power lines, hulking ash clouds
the old tree, a colossus, leans backwards as if to catch the stars

I'm susceptible to ancient springs, melodious landscape
I'm pregnant with the child I was, still exploring branches

underground, a portal, all comfort denied
underneath a table, hard labour – Will Usher relayed the crime

I'm susceptible to mysteries, just like my sister
I'm pregnant with the child I was, still exploring rumour

rumour, a child's rumour
until our lives reveal the mess
our flesh grows around the rumour

caught up in the vast terrain of unanswered questions
jumping over the rose bush, laughing in the pouring rain.


This song is set in Welton, where I grew up. The second verse, "underground, a portal, all comfort denied, underneath a table, hard labour – Will Usher relayed the crime" refers to the sentence of Elizabeth Thompson who lived there. 

"Elizabeth Thompson on the twenty seventh day of October last, 1867, at Welton Wold, in the Parish of Welton, the said Riding, one table cloth, two sheets, two pillow cases and certain flannel of the goods and chattels of William Usher then and there being did feloniously steal, take and carry away contrary to the statute in such case made and provided. We adjudge the said Eizabeth Thompson for her said offence, to be imprisoned in the House of Correction at Beverley, the said Riding, and there kept hard labour for the space of three calendar months."




The truth is stranger than fiction ... gyr falcon x saker - Ruby





Before the falcon appeared, I had been making a puppet to be in this film for A Child's Rumour – she's called Mädchen. Her name, a nod to my German blood. Whilst I was making her, the following phrase played around and around in my head – we carry with us the shells of our grandmother's hearts.


Mädchen
Mädchen

Ruby
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


concept, film & music
composed, performed & produced
by © ℗ Gaynor Perry