Ready For Something New In Your Life? I Sure Am! (New Blog Post)

Prayer Machine 251. In My Dreams All The Places Are Bigger - Wire Sculpture by James Paterson, Ontario, Canada

My emotions have been swirling since returning from the Art San Diego show 3 weeks ago, with my wife Lynn, and daughter, Sorche. “What am I doing as an artist?” I’ve been asking myself. My spirit says I’ve come to the end of a season with the Prayer Machine creations and am about to start into a new one. Am I ready?

So far I see the journey with the Prayer Machines in three phases; the first part being our move to Germany from 2008 – 2011 where the Prayer Machines were conceived.

The second phase has taken place over the past 6 years, from the time we arrived back in Canada in July 2011 to the first showing at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in July 2012, through this past Art San Diego show at the end of September, 2017. This phase allowed us to introduce the Prayer Machines to the public, establish prices and value, and form relationships with a number of different galleries now carrying the work.

That means the third phase is beginning now, anticipating a return to the Spectrum Miami show in December for the fourth time, during Art Week Miami, arguably the largest collective art fair in the world.

The Prayer Machines have evolved. Initially, they came out of an experience I had in Germany when I couldn’t find words to use in prayer. In my distress I wondered what my prayers would look visually, rather than sound like with words. Intuitively I started playing with wire, twisting it into ambiguous machine-like looking objects. My prayer life returned and I ended up calling these little creations “Prayer Machines”.

Since my first experimental constructions, the Prayer Machines have changed as I’ve added colour, kinetic movement and more complexity.   Now I find I want to take them beyond being reminders of that experience back in Germany and have them talk about things going forward as well. They’ve made me curious. I’m curious about what machines are, where they’ve come from and where they are going. I’m curious about the intermingling and identification we have with machines. I’m curious about how that relationship will develop and further define us. In culture we are often seen to be pitted against “the machine” but I wonder why the relationship continues to be so dependant and why it’s so often  personalized?

I’m not sure anymore if what I’m doing is art, or if I’m even an artist. What I know is that I make things, objects, hopefully beautiful objects, and I deal in imagination. Entering this third phase with the Prayer Machines I’d like to look further into our entanglements with machines and the impact of technoculture on how we live, think, make decisions and view who we are. My imagination will be the road, the Prayer Machines the vehicles my curiosity uses to travel, as I explore our growing relationship with the machines we are creating.

Prayer Machines in Outer Space?

Written by guest writer, Lynn Paterson

Prayer Machines in Outer Space?  Well, not really. They haven’t flown out there yet. But James did have an opportunity to show his whimsical creations on the TV show, “InnerSpace” which airs on, what else, the Space Channel.

James was invited to participate in an interview with InnerSpace host, Teddy Wilson. The event took place at the Petroff Gallery where the Prayer Machines were being featured in the window during a two week period in July. Teddy asked probing questions about how the idea of these wire sculptures began, while Petroff rep Ellen Hlozan and I listened in from behind the partition. Eavesdropping, we were. But fascinating to hear how Teddy was able to draw out of James the “why” behind the wire pieces and explore his spiritual crisis that lead to the first twist of wire. Then James showed him the “how”.  It really is a miracle how in TV time, a masterpiece can be created in a matter of minutes, or seconds.

The whole shoot took about 3 hours and ran quite smoothly, and then it was a matter of waiting until the editor and producer told us when the segment would be airing on the Space Channel.  And as they say, “A good time was had by all!”

Thanks are in order to the Petroff Gallery for their gracious hosting of the event and to Michelle Melles, Senior Segment Producer for Space/CTV and Bell Media for arranging the proceedings.  And if you think of the internet and TV as this mysterious, magical method of sharing moving pictures that I do, then the Prayer machines really are now in Outer Space!

Lynn Paterson, Observer of art and mystery.