Statement on Drawings 2013-5.
Series; Sea Change, Merge, Echo, Time Being.
In 2013, I made some fundamental decisions about what I wanted to be involved with in my work and these drawings represent a fundamental change in attitude. After many years of engrossment with the challenges, delights and skills of what I would call picture-making, my priorities shifted towards a desire to register, unadorned, primary experiences of time. A kind of starting again.
Markings on the wall. A time map. Rudimentary signs or notations for, quite simply, just being here, “now”. It was necessary to jettison all references outside the mark itself. Smudges, touches, scribbles and rubbing lead to movement and rhythms, emphases and syncopations and this lead to layers and obliterations, repetitions and erasures. Along the way, sensation and thinking collided and verbal thoughts found their way into this “being-here” dance. Words access memory and so evidence of all kinds of other time, space and place enter the mix.
The guiding constructs as the activity inevitably gains complexity, are, that the space and light that accrues are primarily time and process driven, (not bound by aesthetic decision making,) and that no one thing, (incident or accumulation of marks,) is more important than another. My intention is that the mark-making does not reflect self or particularly personal expression but in fact hopes to be in a “no-self” place, more of energy or movement; of time; like waves rolling in over sand or leaves moving in the breeze. The aim being to arrive at a sense of time, which can encompass the myriad quirks and niggles of experience while holding all of this within itself, a “now” time balancing act.
“Sea-Change” series deals with accumulation of rhythmic movements of a fine line and the interruptions of erasures, building up a now-time place which from a distance is simply a glimmering light but which requires one to move towards it and along it, becoming at close range, quite busy and intimate. The graphite/charcoal “Merge” series deals with the barely discernible; with coaxing something gently out of an amorphous mass, grey clouds from a distance, yet from closer, allowing the emergence and fading of mirage/memory experience. All these drawings, structured by a horizontal, narrative format, require one to journey to and fro, backwards and forwards, to engage with and read rhythms in real time.
The “Time Being” series moves to a human scaled, portrait format and by doing so, changes this journey and the kind of time encapsulated. The vertical format does not demand movement from the viewer but allows one to stand still and engage with the experience of just being here. This highlights the all-important relationship with materials, surfaces and making processes and embodies the desire for a complete focus on what is actually here, now.
A fundamental concern is to find a structure and process, conceptually and practically, which signals the commitment to this open-ended, episodic time, something that contains but does not bully the growth of a language which embraces both the notional and the direct, which structurally encourages and contains an unfolding of moment by moment thoughts, perceptions, questions and doubts.
The chosen materials and processes of making are rudimentary, often look provisional and need to allow for the development of the work out of a piecemeal, non-hierarchical attitude to decision making. Bits and pieces, studio debris, notes one's written to oneself; the direct transference of real, haphazard everyday things into this evolving, open-ended place/light.
The work needs to be a rumination, a slow growing deliberation on the value of small but focused moments. The particularity of how something is made, however basic, needs to concentrate attention on this bit now. Is this something or nothing? Each mark needs to have the now focus of a fly crawling across a window pane…and yet to question the possibilities, (or not,) of being able to make connections between systems and meaning, to encounter the dilemmas of signs of something, (or nothing,) through just being and looking, in real time.
Work Statement, May 2012
I want a painting to be a place to roam, where experience is layered, like thinking and looking on a walk. The immediacy of particular experience breaks through, triggering a vivid mix-up of time, thoughts, images and sensations. My work aims is to engender this fertile land where the observed, the imagined, the concrete, the ephemeral, can all mingle but remain discrete.
I look a lot at growing things. Seedpods, bits of bark, fruits and flowers, seasonal changes of particular plants-from bud to dry leaf. I notice and enjoy the residual phenomena of chance and time. I’m interested in a relationship between the accidental and the intentional and like to juxtapose the “real”, the incidental and the ornamental.
The conventions of still life are never far away; with its crucial placing and relationships between things, on a table, imbued with a sense of the inherent metaphorical “stage” for life. I work with visual and psychological relationships that build among images and between linguistic elements. I use the rectangle as the container for a balancing act, a psychodrama that plays out tensions between equilibrium and precariousness, or orchestrates a love song or a dance. I like the sense of laying out your cards; be they images, decorative motifs, or elemental pictorial building bricks such as squares, triangles or rudimentary marks. Part of the challenge is to maintain the separate and valued autonomy of each mode of reference. I like to try to persuade these disparate linguistic parts and passages to speak to each other, to cross territories of behaviour, and co-habit in a new place, where transference, physical sensation and feeling, take precedence over fixity of meaning or reference.
This mixture-place is one that has flexibility and gives room to offer up a variety of thinking and experience, accessing a psychology of displacement and transformation, ranging from the hesitant and ephemeral, through to the concrete and fulsomely sensual.
This desire for an elastic vocabulary of reference has necessitated an eclectic, and mutable relationship with images and materials. The quest is for a grammar of sensations that accumulates like a map, additive, symbolic, and indexical of touch, feeling and time.