“These Things”

Because of its history as a testing ground drawing is always about possibility.  It embodies the idea that it will lead to something else even when it is the end product; in a sense it is always in motion.  The things in my work lie in what Jacques Derrida (the French philosopher most associated with Deconstruction) might call a space of “difference.”  They occupy an unstable space with an unstable meaning which could also be said to be a space of possibility and the idea of meaning.

The subject of my work is constructing the subject. The lines relate to mimicking the world because certain arrangements of lines can suggest a space illusion of three dimensions yet these things do not make sense in relation to objects in the world.  Some hint at something we know but they are not them. They deal with the question of representation and are also object-like because they have their own internal structure. Their purpose is to be a construction of an idea of a thing rather than the thing itself.

These things bear a relationship to the question of meaning rather than needing to have a certain meaning. They ask: How does meaning get made? What makes a thing a thing?  Is its thingness related to its meaning?  Can something have meaning if we do not recognize it?  They question the world of symbols that cultures use to create meaning.

These drawings are an index of my hand.  Drawing is about evidence, the hand shows the evidence of the working out.  All of my work insists on the author’s hand.  In these current drawings I am interrogating it over and over again putting the marks into question despite not knowing what the object is.  Putting the ‘things’ into sentences (on the huge paper) and reworking them: the difference that makes a difference is what language is based on.  I am working with language as a writer works with sentence structure, from parts to whole.  The drawings are conceptual as they bear an intimate relationship with language, and the language helps to deconstruct the drawing.

In these current drawings (since 2014) I am extracting objects from a group of drawings from 2007-8 where I wanted to undermine my own vocabulary to find something new. While drawing I crossed out any shape which looked representational so as to move beyond a language that I knew.  I then further undermined the original drawings by copying some of the things over and over yet again, on the large paper and the small; copying it to make it original. My work continues to be a constant undermining, questioning and interrogating of what I know.

My work is also about the relationship between viewer and artwork. It has an associative read, which brings out the basic human need to identify and name something one sees.  The line between representation and non-representation gets murky and causes the viewer to question what is going on. One shape looks like a perfume bottle but not exactly.  A viewer said “That sure looks like a bra, I keep trying to figure it out, but why do I care?”  This reciprocal relationship, created as one navigates through the drawing, is integral to the work.

Drawing is about edges.  There is an edge created when the utensil hits the paper.  The pencil acts on the paper and the paper acts on the pencil.  The edge is where pen and paper meet, the moment when definition can be made and each material becomes something else.

There is an edge of representation, the images can look like something at the same time that they are ambiguous.  This is the abstraction of art making.  These images can keep the act of perceiving, keep one going between abstraction and representation while never losing the edge of the pen to paper so there is the edge of idea and the edge of presence.  One is never sure if the drawing is ended, so they leave open the space to perceive.  There is the potential to ask what drawing is.

This is the edge of comprehension.  The paper keeps a voice in drawing in relationship with its surface.  One cannot tell if the image is one thing or another but one can tell that there is an edge.