Reflecting on the making process.
In quiet moments of architectural light and shadow, buildings reveal themselves to us, they ‘breathe’, and invite us to be still and listen. During 2020 I began working on a series of drawings 'Drawing Breath' in response to these ideas, and this year I have been developing and refining the works.
Each artwork comprises two drawings, one cut out, presented in a double sided free standing frame. When placed in natural light, the drawings interact with each other, slowly changing character as they respond to the quality of light in the space over time. Reflecting on the making process, there are a couple of factors at play.
Firstly, the experience of drawing is primarily important; through the repetitive process of drawing, adding and subtracting graphite marks on translucent surface, pushing and pulling at form and tone, I am seeking to make connections. Working with both drawings (and technically, a third cut out drawing), I am interested in enabling and exploring a conversation between the two.
Secondly, the use of two drawings has emerged from video, a process I use when making sense of a new architectural site. After noting sensory responses to a space, I begin to gather material through photographs and drawings. I then work digitally in video software, layering images and motifs from the material gathered, experimenting with connections and transitions, to make video ‘sketches’. The construction of ‘Drawing Breath’ developed from this process and as a result, it felt a natural progression to work digitally to make the cut out drawings.
'Drawings we have lived'
A further extension is the recent work 'Drawings we have lived' that combines graphite drawings from the 'Drawing Breath' series with digital drawings and cut outs, digitally printed onto sheer fabric, installed in layers over a steel frame. Inspired by Gaston Bachelard's idea, 'Thus we cover the universe with drawings we have lived', I am exploring larger scale ways to facilitate a bodily experience of the drawings, while also enabling the work to interact with the space.
Drawing is the foundation of my practice; evidence of the felt experience of drawing is important to me, as traces made by the hand are revealing. For me, expanding drawing approaches to embrace digital technologies can be a useful part of the process that offers interesting opportunities.
'Definitions of Drawing'
These works are currently on show until 14 November at Sunny Bank Mills Gallery, as part of an exhibition that brings together the work of 15 artists who interrogate drawing in their practice.