Friday, December 31, 2010


A break in yesterday afternoon's drawing process for the making & taking of tea & accompanying sustenance resulted, subsequently, post-refreshments, in a return not to the work in hand but, rather, a digression & surprising departure into something of what might be considered to be object-centred narrative territory, the nature of which goes beyond the mere appearance of that which is depicted (in the moments of the particular immediate aftermath), in a multi-layered referencing manner. As such, the drawing also becomes another form of correspondence. An intriguing development, at least to self...

graphite & watercolour/20x30cm

At the more familiar level of process, this drawing is a a very rare instance of one featuring objects made under the source of an overhead artificial light, as one might notice,'obviously' given the nature of the sharply cast shadows, of a number of Euan Uglow's still life compositions, for example. Given the habitual personal preference for observing objects' form &, particularly, colour in natural light, however frustratingly fugitive & limited that might often prove to be, I've always marvelled at the subtlety of effect of colour & tone, the masterly control of such, Uglow managed to achieve under such conditions as artificial light.

A certain integrity in relation to the many previous drawings of 'roadkill' aluminium cans & also the few subsequent examples of those sourced from folded & crumpled sheets of paper might be claimed by the representation here of the folded-back tin foil covering of the halva container.


Pontone 'Spectral Cassette' #4

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's an Ad World #4

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Continuing the current sequence of drawings processed from the source material of archive print media advertisements, taking a step away from the subject matter-so-far of shoes here but, of course, featuring very much another object of consumer desire within the stylistic idiom of the Sixties (all very much the glamour of 'Mad Men' & Betty Draper, one might (re)contextualize, 'retro-contemporarily' if such a designation might exist).

Part of the re-mediation process on this particular occasion involved the draining of the image of its colour, not last the vivid red of the original's background, cooling things down to the monochrome of graphite & creating a more 'tactile, mark-made space'.

Consideration was given to combining another image into the composition, specifically as 'showing' on the TV screen, which is blank in the original, as some form of comment perhaps, but then it seemed most appropriate somehow that 'the medium is the message' - the medium in this instance being embodied by the (desirable) object, of course.


Jesus and Mary Chain 'Psychocandy'
She & Him 'Volume Two'
The Delgados 'The Great Eastern'

Sunday, December 26, 2010

'Opposite' Attracts...

The Boxing Day constitutional - mercifully at this stage nearing its conclusion, having, in the relentlessly enduring freezing temperatures, been taken 'by mistake' - brought a curious encounter with a most particular found object, a solitary tomato at rest upon the locally persisting snow (fortunately on the pavement, perhaps, rather than risk venturing out onto the road & ending as 'kill')...

captured also from the opposite side...

Most coincidentally peculiar, given the post of the 23rd's talk of Surrealism.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's an Ad World #3

graphite & erasers/30x20cm

A third drawing in the sequence as processed from the source material of 1960s' print media advertisements, again featuring the subject/object matter-of-desire of women's shoes, although on this occasion not manufactured by 'Palizzio' but, rather, 'Gamins'.

Whatever, the de-/re-contextualization of the re-mediating drawing process, erasing the textual content that 'explains' the composition, renders the image perhaps more surreal yet (the disembodied shod foot 'floating' in the black spatial 'void' recalling, possibly, the stocking-clad lower leg suspended within Joan Miro's 'Poetic Object' assemblage of 1936), a reciprocal comment, as by-product, on the tendency of advertising, historically, to appropriate or invent its own form of surreal imagery for its own ends of manufacturing desire in the potential consumer, in this instance suggested by the playful eroticism of the feather lightly coming into contact with, brushing, teasing, the area of sensitive, ticklish flesh (which response the original ad's 'copy' unsubtly, unimaginatively makes explicit), that erogenous zone, bared by the shoe's particular 'cut-out' design: such desire was very much an essential element of much Surrealist art, of course, making manifest those aspects of sexual desire, object-centred, hidden within the human subconscious, or unconscious.

By way of what might be a little 'seasonally-affected' departure, TOoT would like to dedicate this particular drawing to the transcendent 'Dotty', whose unfortunate footwear-related predicament, so entertainingly relayed over the course of a sequence of text messages, suffused the afternoon's subsequent drawing process with recurring thoughts of both the situation (which, happily &, one imagines, with considerable relief, resolved itself satisfactorily) &, more generally, the victim.


Moon Wiring Club 'A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding'

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's an Ad World Again

graphite & erasers/30x20cm

Following on from the previous example, this drawing was processed, re-mediated, from reference to the source of a second 1960s' print media advertisement for 'Palizzio' shoes...


Moon Wiring Club 'A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding'
Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
Rachel Unthank & the Winterset 'The Bairns'
Pontone Autumn Mix

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's an Ad World (a Reprise)

graphite & erasers/30x20cm

It's quite possible that 'Mad Men' withdrawal symptoms (the fourth season of the uber-stylish & compelling period drama recently having ended on BBC TV, as fellow aficionados will be sadly aware) have provided the inspiration & motivation for an otherwise random-seeming search for vintage advertising material which in turn has resulted in the processing of this particular drawing, otherwise I'm at somewhat of a loss to explain its existence.

With precedents occuring during 2008's Project of drawing from existing media image sources, one reason for a return to such is, of course, a strategy of side-stepping the 'seasonally affected disorder' of a lack of natural daylight in which to draw the familiar objects-as-described-by-light, the representationally-challenging play of light across their surfaces & forms, whatever subject/object matter that might at any particular time happen to be, the excuse offered for the falling-off of recent drawing activities.

Thus the drawing represents the intriguingly-composed visual content of a 1960s' magazine advertisement for Palizzio shoes - obviously a desirable item then &, it seems, rather collectible now - divested of any accompanying text, decontextualized & recontextualized within a re-mediated manual mark-making endeavour.

Such mark-making in this specific instance includes the inaugural use of one of the recently invested-in Tombow 'Mono Zero' eraser pens, rather stylish, Japanese manufactured objects as they in themselves are, brought to my attention via Marie Harnett's enthusiastic recommendation of such as essential elements of her materials in the realization of her exquisite & compelling drawings (which practice, as sourced from film stills, would perhaps provide suitable subject for consideration within the scope of the re-mediation explorations).


Moon Wiring Club 'A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding'
She & Him 'Volume Two'
Pontone Autumn Mix

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Another Year...

Given the recent lull in proceedings, what seems, alas, to have become a familiar ‘seasonally-affected disorder’ slowing down the drawing & blogging process at this time of year, it doesn’t seem necessarily to be appropriate to celebrate, but at least one might acknowledge the fact that today marks the fifth anniversary of contributing, through the medium of this particular resource, more unsolicited, unedited stuff & gubbins & general inconsequentiality to the vast caverns of cyberspace.

In the spirit of such occasions, it just so happens, by way of another of those serendipitous circularities, those hauntological ‘having-been-here-befores’, which seem to be something of a house speciality (& to an increasing extent) hereabouts at TOoT, that we’re able to affect a reminiscent return to the very first post & a particular aspect of the eclectic range of its content, in the form of another encounter, at Liverpool’s fine Walker Art Gallery, with the work of The Little Artists, or at least a pair of examples of, which, for whatever reason, were/are included amongst the work & supporting archive material (fascinating photographs from the 50s & 60s of selection panels & openings, for example) in the ‘historical’ exhibition accompanying the main John Moores Painting Prize 2010 show.

Here, as mentioned previously back in those fresh-faced, pioneering days, are The Little Artists’ witty Lego representations of Tracey Emin’s (in)famous bed & Damien Hirst’s vitrined shark, pictured together & then in a little more individual detail: what larks, Pip - that also, of course, transport one further back in time, to memories of one’s own childhood creative investigations into the potential of those inspirational plastic bricks.

This being the second occasion upon which tentative mention has been made of the 2010 Moores but with the intended extended musing-upon destined once again not to materialize yet (well, we still have until the new year whilst the exhibition remains current), it might be appropriate to mention, at least, the first-prize-winning-worthiness of Keith Coventry’s ‘Spectrum Christ’, an object that extends the possibilities of painting & certainly achieves its stated aim of slowing down the viewing process, the ‘consumption’ of the image.
Housed within a glass-fronted simple box frame, this reflective surface &, obviously, the manner in which it is lit, provides a significant amount of ‘interference’ between the spectator & their reception of the image, the icon, which only gradually & with no little effort reveals itself to be a lusciously oil-painted blue monochrome of a heavy-lidded & pensive, melancholic Christ (which the website & catalogue reproduction - thus a poor substitute for the actual empirical experience - shows clearly, instantly): before one sees this, one is confronted by one’s own image reflected in the glass, superimposed upon the elusive subject beneath, & then observes the activity of other gallery-goers & the space itself, the vaulted ceiling of which might suggest something ecclesiastical in architectural terms & also subsequently creates a visual dialogue, through the ages, with the interior space depicted within such an historical painting as Hendrik Cornelisz van Vliet’s ‘The New Church at Delft’, as may be observed in one of the galleries leading off from the main Moores exhibition space.
Further & more localized dialogue exists with other of the Moores’ exhibits displaying reflective surfaces (a minor sub-theme), but, of all such examples, Coventry’s provides the most complex & compelling perceptual experience through its successful resolution of a painting-as-image/object strategy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Drawing a Blank #6

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

Being the latest in the slowly-evolving sequence of drawings representing, on an exact, measured 1:1 scale, the subject/object matter of folded, creased & crumpled sheets of A4 paper.

On this particular occasion, the object was subjected to a light crumpling in its folded state, resulting, when subsequently unfolded, in the formation of something of the nature of repeating & 'mirrored' patterns occurring upon & across the textured surface, within & in addition to the regular cells of the grid into which the folded paper becomes creased, an inadvertent 'decorative' element further compromising, as described tonally by the action of observed natural light, the 'blankness' of the white sheet.

This accidental complexity of the low-relief surface resulted in a most laboriously- & slowly-processed drawing, realised during the course of the sessions on the 6 available working days within an extended, 'compromised' total of 13, due to the prevailing available natural light conditions of the season: such a working process seems untenable, & therefore thought is required as to exactly what might now be feasible in terms of continuing work at this dark & 'inefficient' time of year - the 'blanks', one fears, are very much on hold as the days draw inexorably in yet further...


Moon Wiring Club 'An Audience of Art Deco Eyes', 'Shoes Off and Chairs Away', 'Striped Paint for the Last Post', 'A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding' & 'A Field Full of Sunken Horses'
Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
She & Him 'Volume Two'
Leonard Cohen 'The Essential..'
Pontone Autumn Mix

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Drawing a Blank #5

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

Being the latest in the sequence of watercolour drawings processed from the subject-object matter of folded, creased & lightly crumpled blank sheets of standard A4 paper, represented on exact 1:1 scale (laboriously plotted), the image, with its all-over surface of non-hierarchical incidental visual detail, thus coinciding with the physical limits of the picture plane.
Once again, there’s that play, the employment of the device, of the flat representation of what was originally a flat plane subsequently transformed into something of a low-relief three-dimensional object, the drawing being a record of the fugitive action of natural light upon the undulations of its surface, of the subtle tonal gradations of the marks made upon the once uninflected sheet by the folding & crumpling process.

Becoming more deeply involved in this particular body of work, as it seems to be in the process of becoming, however slowly-evolving (taking into account specific seasonal factors, pertaining to the limited availability of natural daylight in which to work) & thus far production-light, certain art-historical correspondences emerge in which context(s) the drawings might be situated, even if only coincidentally &, not unusually, superficially.
In the interests of a certain integrity, at least of overriding personal aesthetics, all such artists & their work have featured previously, either specifically ‘in relation’ or otherwise as being of interest.

Other than an aforementioned similarity, at least, particularly, at the outset of the project, to some of Vija Celmins' wonderful drawings, of enveloped letters, photographs & images torn from magazines, & the historical tradition of the realistic representation of fabrics folded & draped, the first such example with which to consider something of an affinity is that of Kees Goudzwaard, & the artist’s paintings based on the subject-object matter of various paper & masking tape constructions of a variety of dimensions, all of which are represented, in oil on canvas, on a 1:1 scale, & include numerous subtly modulated grey & ‘white’ examples of.
Many of Goudwaard’s images, which maintain a compelling tension between trompe l’oeil realism & abstract design, also feature something of a grid structure, to whatever fairly rigorous or looser degree, by virtue of the use of the linear element of the strips of tape, another compositional device which links them in some manner to the drawings of creased & crumpled paper, the original objects upon which such are based are initially folded into such a formal pattern, of course.

The horizontal & vertical structure provide by the purposeful creases, & other accidental incidental diagonals & ‘facets’ of the crumple-inflected surfaces, might be considered as being not-too distant from aspects of archetypal Cubist composition, of course, a feature which generally haunts proceeding here, whilst the use of paper as subject-object matter also bears a relation to collage.

Obviously there’s something about any work utilizing the grid & surface modulations of whites & greys that might recall, generally & a number of particular examples of, the work of the familiar figure of Jasper Johns & also Robert Ryman’s ‘white paintings’ (although both are more usually associated with the palpable physicality & sensuousness of their surfaces, even Ryman's smooth ones) but, it occurred, ‘riffingly’, that there also might be something of a distant echo of Vilhelm Hammershoi, whose contemplative compositions are characterized by an habitual, exquisitely-realised muted tonality & overall ‘greyness’, & frequently include the cell-like details of domestic interior architectural features such as windows, doors, etc.

As ever, there’s such a richness to & wealth of art history that the occurrence of contextualizing correspondences are inevitable & unavoidable, but such are always welcome & more often than not informative & instructive.


She & Him 'Volume Two'
Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
Moon Wiring Club 'A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding'
Sparklehorse 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Jesca Hoop 'Hunting My Dress'

And so the new Moon Wiring Club release - the CD but one aspect of the 'Tabby bundle' that constitutes its whole - arrived, ahead of expectations, to be discovered sheltering, by something of a spooky coincidence although not, perhaps, particularly unusually for something of a feline nature, underneath the car...

More will surely follow upon the subject of the richness of the sonic & visual wonders to experienced within this cornucopia of delights, suffice for now to report that the first hearing of the CD during a misty, damp & darkening autumn afternoon provided much of the anticipated entertainment & more developments besides...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drawing Another Blank...

Today the opposite of tomato is 'a schism with an ism'

graphite & watercolour/20x30cm

Once again a sheet of A4 paper, purposely folded & creased into a grid format & lightly, randomly crumpled (the subsequent top left corner, indeed, being already so, upon finding-choosing the sheet), drawn from life, in as-habitual natural light conditions, on 1:1 scale, the 'allover' image thus coinciding with the limits of the flat picture plane, this time observed & processed in landscape format, as presented.

During a break in the proceedings of the course of the drawing, a trip to Liverpool to visit the John Moores Painting Prize 2010 exhibition also afforded the opportunity to have a welcome potter amongst some of the Walker Art Gallery's other rooms, of paintings, sculpture, furniture & other objets d'art, to indulge oneself in time travel back through the history of art, from the twentieth century to medieval times, a privilege indeed, not least when encountering, for example, in the Late Italian Renaissance room, a Titian such as this illustrated:

Titian 'Supper at Emmaus'
oil on wood panel, c.1531-33

Under the circumstances of the drawings being processed at present, & the particular subject-object matter of, my attention was not unsurprisingly captured by a certain feature of the painting - an unfolded, sharply-creased, 'grid-formatted' white cloth draped over the supper table at which the figures are present, projected to the front of the scene, into the spectator's imaginative space, towards, indeed, the flatness of the picture plane, where there its apparent tactility might engage in contradictory visual dialogue with...

One of the many compelling features of any number of the historical paintings on view is, of course, the attention lavished upon the convincingly 'realistic' depiction of drapery & cloths, the rendering in paint of the surface qualities & textures of various fabrics, as might be appreciated from this second illustrated example (occupying a corner across from a wall featuring, amongst others, an early Rembrandt self portrait), from the 17th century Dutch tradition (thus traversing also considerable geographical distance in one's amblings from room to room):

detail from 'Portrait of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia' Studio of Van Dyck
oil on canvas, c.1630-33

Obviously, it is the area of white cloth, & the subtle tonal variations upon the creases, crumples & undulations of, tucked-in at the throat & flowing down over the bosom of Isabella, 'The Governess of the Netherlands', which was & is my particular focus in the picture, but admire also the gold thread woven into & highlighting the sombre drapery to the left of the portrait.


K-Punk 'The Metaphysics of Crackle'
She & Him 'Volume Two'
Moon Wiring Club 'Shoes Off and Chairs Away'
Mark Mulcahy 'Fathering'

Enjoyed the delights of the easy, Sixties-inflected, countrified pop charms of She & Him regularly & a great deal over the course of processing this particular drawing, such lovely songs well sung (by Zooey Deschanel, also their author, more familiar as an actress, not least as appearing in 'Weeds'), arranged & played, chanced-upon & loaned from the local public 'li-berry' (& how much quieter & civilized the environment there, properly in keeping with the finest traditions of such institutions, than prevails at the site of the day job, one might note...), having some time ago been informed of the album's existence via a suitably intriguing Guardian review of.

Also, & most appropriate to the approach of Hallowe'en, almost upon us, rumours emanate, like autumn mist, from Clinkskell of the impending threat of more bumps-in-the-night issuing forth from the collective efforts of the various mysterious members of the Moon Wiring Club...the anticipation is tremendous - indeed, tremulous, & palpable.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seeing the Blues...

It's been something of a blue/grey/blue/grey week so far around these parts, presenting all manner of fluctuating natural light conditions & challenges in which to indulge in the drawing process.

Monday tended rather gloriously towards the blue, & wonderfully clear, & a potter outdoors for the purposes of taking the fresh air resulted in a most aesthetic find, of the view from the local 'top field' over the rooftops of the town across the Dee estuary to the Wirral beyond. With the tide to a greater extent up & in, & the river surface calm, the blue sky thus reflected from this natural mirror &, in tandem with the length of quite similarly blue-painted (& toned) wooden panel fence, its hue intensified in the direct sunlight, providing the nearmost boundary of the scene, formed a pair of parallel horizontal bands across its width as pictorially framed, a most striking coincidental occurrence of design:

The double blue lines, as noticed & pictured, might, of course, be claimed to relate somewhat to the local occurrences of 'double black lines' road markings as regularly featured hereabouts...

Pictured also is a composite panorama of the wider scene, taking in the entire length of the fence:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drawing a Blank Again...

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

After the photographically-sourced image presented on the previous occasion, this latest drawing based on the subject matter of folded & lightly crumpled blank sheets of paper returns to the act of processing from direct observation of the object itself, the 'decisive' marks made in response to the play of the natural light source across the textured, low-relief three-dimensional surface.

Representing the object on a direct 1:1 scale, on an A4 page, allows image & picture plane to coincide, with thus the achievement of an all-over surface, the non-hierarchical nature of which (counter to, perhaps, the traditional notion of still life composition) is further enhanced by the presence of the grid structure - each cell of which displays its own particular accumulation of incidental details - created by the folding & creasing of the original sheet, which thus transfers to & recurs within the represented image.


Morrissey 'Vauxhall and I'
Moon Wiring Club 'An Audience of Art Deco Eyes'
& 'Striped Paint for the Last Post'
She & Him 'Volume Two'

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Drawing a Photograph

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

Another 'blank' sheet of paper - folded & lightly crumpled to provide its surface with texture & a wealth of incidental detail for the purposes of contemplation & active study - serves as the obvious subject for this drawing, but not as the actual thing to be represented, which image-object, rather, is an A4 print of a photograph of the original object, taken in early morning light.

The drawing as processed, then, is thus a representation of a representation, a re-mediation (possessed of Bracewell's "dense aesthetic values", perhaps?), & appears to betray its photographic origins in the depth of its tonal values, the particular intensity of, which clearly differ from those of the object itself as observed empirically, from life.

However, as ever, the evidence of the drawing process is intended to be explicit, as a mark-making endeavour, the resulting image being the cumulative effect of such, allowing the drawing, as image as well as object, to display an autonomous, aesthetic distance from source.


Belle & Sebastian 'Tigermilk' & 'If You're Feeling Sinister'
Throwing Muses 'In a Doghouse'
disc 1
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 'Best of'
Lambchop 'OH(Ohio)'

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Drawing a Blank...

Being the product of an epiphany occurring midway through the processing of the previous drawing, this example represents ‘nothing’ but a blank sheet of paper, folded-over numerous times & being lightly crumpled, such still life object considered to be of sufficient interest to warrant active scrutiny without the addition of any surface image content.

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

Of course, such a representation of such an object returns us to the familiar subjects of the white monochrome & the good old modernist grid, thoughts particularly of the work of Robert Ryman, & also another reference to a pair of Martin Creed’s ‘Works’, Nos. 340 & 384, as mentioned here back during the early summer when we were previously engaged with thoughts & deeds involving crumpled sheets of paper.

Obviously, considering the textured surfaces of a good many of Ryman’s painting-objects, especially those featuring some form of grid structure in the manufacture of, the drawing here is, by way of contrast, smooth & flat as it two-dimensionally represents the textured, three-dimensional, creased & crumpled paper object, in such a way establishing something of a dialogue with, a suggestion of, perhaps, the flat object of the sheet as it originally existed before such integrity was compromised by the action & process of folding, etc.

Considering, more generally, crumpled objects displaying blank surfaces – other than subtle tonal variations, as activated by the play of light, of course – reminded me, also, as a blast from the past, of Alex Landrum’s panel ‘Perfect Accident No. 5 of 5’, as encountered at the John Moores 20 exhibition back in 1997, a seminal & epiphanic event indeed.
Here’s a representation, taken from the as-ever essentially collectable catalogue, although 2D fails to properly communicate the overall complexity of either surface or object (as might be claimed of the watercolour drawing, of course, which exists as something ‘other’, a distanced simulacrum):

Alex Landrum 'Perfect Accident No.5 of 5'
cellulose paint on polyester resin/123x123cm


The Birthday Party homemade compilation
Jesca Hoop 'Hunting My Dress'
Hanne Hukkelberg 'Rykestrasse 68'

Rufus Wainwright eponymous
Belle & Sebastian 'The Boy With the Arab Strap'
Sparklehorse 'Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain'

Sunday, October 10, 2010

If the Can Fits...

As has become quite a regular occurrence, a Sunday morning stroll presented an encounter with more 'roadkill' along a stretch of road marked with the local phenomenon of the 'double black lines', found just so & thus pictorially framed for reference purposes.

In the first particular instance, one might note a scene that appears very much as though the object has been subject to a process of two-way compression - downwards, compactly folded, flat onto the road surface, as is habitual, but also seemingly squeezed between the two parallel lines of the painted road markings, being held perfectly, exactly, within the intervening space, as though clamped, held captive, for just the very purpose of being photographed, which opportunity of course proved irresistible...

One really couldn't arrange such a composition more...'fittingly'.

Then, a matter of mere yards further 'downtown' (in fact, but the other side of the revealed patch of originally-marked yellow paint as featured in proximity to the 'Strongbow'-branded flattened can as found & photographically pictorialized last Friday, to establish bearings), the discovery of another suitably flattened object, very much in keeping with the nature of the road surface & its applied markings, positioned at an appropriate angle to the horizontality of such to add a certain dynamism to the composition, again presenting quite a 'readymade' picture requiring but a simple framing.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Objects of the Exercise...

Returning to the point immediately prior to that at which the presence of the pears assumed & demanded all-consuming attention, once more to the ‘roadkill’ cans as the familiar & ongoing subject of exploration & representation, but more specifically as a photocopied image of such appears upon/within the physical object matter of a folded-unfolded, thus creased, & lightly crumpled sheet of paper, which object itself thus establishes a relational visual dialogue with the folded & surface-crumpled nature of the object-as-image reproduced, depicted, upon it.
There occurs also something of a tension between flatness & texture, at least as represented, although this, of course, is ultimately resolved in favour of the former via the medium of the smooth-surfaced watercolour.

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

As with the previous example, as the watercolour drawing represents the sheet of paper, so it re-mediates its image content, adding another layer to the representational process (in the manner of 2008’s project of drawings sourced from print media photographic reproductions).

By way of something of a contrast with the flat reproduction of the photocopied can as it appears in the subsequent print - absolutely stilled, its appearance fixed - & then the resulting drawing of this, below is presented a photograph of the object itself, thus only once mediated, removed, from source, altogether more vivid & palpable, the inconsistencies of its surface alive to the play of light upon it...

Also, certain colour changes occur discernibly between the object itself & the printed reproduction of its image (the photocopier used in this instance gives something of a slight yellow-green cast to its prints, for example), which becomes something altogether 'other than', again reflected in the re-mediated watercolour, further distancing itself from source as the process deepens, intensifies.
The watercolour itself undergoes alterations in colour as it is scanned, by another mechanical process, another level of mediation, thus complicating the whole representational process still further.

Aside from the obvious reference, as previously noted, to certain of the work of Vija Celmins, to establish something other of an art historical link, however playful & tenuous, & on a purely surface level, one might relate such an image as featured in the drawing to a device to which painters have frequently made recourse throughout the noble & compelling tradition of the still life composition, with objects set upon & against a white tablecloth rumpled, arranged, into a sequence of incidental details of aesthetically pleasing & technically challenging creases, peaks & depressions, offering the exploration of a range of tonal subtleties, such as following details extracted from, firstly, Pieter Claesz’s ‘Breakfast Piece’, which might reasonably be termed a ‘typically Dutch’ example of the genre, & then Cezanne’s ‘Basket of Apples’, but one of numerous instances featured within the scope of the artist’s work.

[detail of Pieter Claesz 'Breakfast Piece', oil on wood, 1646]

[detail of Paul Cezanne 'Basket of Apples', oil on canvas, c.1895]


Jesca Hoop 'Kismet'
Portishead 'Three'
Belle & Sebastian 'The Life Pursuit'
& 'Push Barman to Open Old Wounds'
Tuung 'Good Arrows'

Friday, October 08, 2010

Surface Depth

Back out into the fresh air of the big, wide world (albeit ignoring the sights in favour of a spot of shoegazing) after the studied intensity of the fruit-scented environment of the still life arena &, on the local mean streets, more ‘roadkill’ objects to be found, not least this example, just so, photographically framed, upon a section of the double black lines exhibiting quite extensive evidence of wear & tear, the surface deterioration of the more recently-applied markings allowing ‘archaeological’ access to the underlying, original yellow paint, in its turn breaking up the otherwise grey monochrome of the overall picture plane of the tarmac & superimposed painted lines, also relating in terms of colour to the gold on the surface of the flattened can…

A little further along the course of the homeward perambulations, along the same stretch of road markings, more evidence of significant, noteworthy surface disintegration could be observed, again disrupting the integrity of the monochrome & adding a little colour to the pictorial whole as framed…

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Comings-and-Goings

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Another ‘allover’ surface & spatial continuum from which a pair of objects are extracted, described tonally, mostly by a process of erasure, by & from the fading source of available natural light as dusk once again approached & encroached apace. Although they might appear to touch, the pears do so only visually, within the constructed artifice of the picture plane (the only relevant truth here, of course) with, physically, the object to the right being positioned slightly before the other on the horizontal plane upon which they rest in the real space of the compositional arena.
In this example, the edges of the forms take on a particularly diffuse, glowing quality as observed through the ‘granular’, fugitive light as this itself comes into contact with the changing nature of the ageing pears’ skins, now of a more ‘satiny’, less reflective finish, empirically imbuing the objects with something of a ‘spectral’ appearance in contrast to the ‘known’ palpable physicality of their three-dimensional form, which endures even as the pears’ sense of absolute opaque solidity softens & they take on something of a translucent quality, & physical alterations also manifest themselves in various localized details.

Rather serendipitously related, at least on a superficial visual level, one might claim, to the appearance of this in particular of the sequence of the pear drawings, is a certain recent discovery, found in the October issue of ‘Art Review’, of a still image captured from Rodney Graham’s video film ‘Rheinmetall/Victoria-8’, featuring as it does a flour-covered old-style typewriter:

As one might appreciate, the substantial coating of flour creates a distinctive physical transformation & a palpable atmosphere, as would a fall of snow, seeming to still the still life object yet more profoundly, muting both the object (& by imaginative association, the clatter of its keys &, indeed, the language their action produces) & the overall atmosphere, communicating both the physical presence of the obviously transformed object yet also at the same time something of a ghostly nature, an ‘otherness’, as it softens the hard edges & surface of the machine.

One is also reminded of Morandi’s compositions of dusty-surfaced objects & the subdued, mute simplicity of such as they feature in his compelling, beautiful paintings.


Lambchop 'What Another Man Spills'
& 'Aw, C'mon'/'No, You C'mon'

Monday, September 27, 2010

Out of the Darkness...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Following on from the formal example of the previous watercolour, this drawing employs a more 'allover' approach to the spatial continuum from which the pair of pears, & the horizontal plane upon which they sit, are extracted by a process of lighter & darker tonal manipulations.

Again, the objects are observed contre jour & the drawing processed as dusk encroaches upon the source of natural daylight, leaving the objects' form to be described by their lingering, diminishing highlights, clinging tenaciously to their outlines & occasional textural features, & the areas of indistinct shadow into which they increasingly fall.

Under such prevailing environmental circumstances, one endeavours to communicate something of the granular quality of the light as it interposes itself - as something of a barrier, to be overcome - between the viewer & the objects of study, of the physicality of such an experience, where the space is palpable & very much part of the continuum.


Wire 'The A-List'

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Catching Some Rays...

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

A sunny Sunday morning offered the opportunity, for once, to represent a pair of pears as described by a direct source of light, thus providing broader areas of illumination than usual, the challenge being to respond to the fugitive nature of such as the sun moved around the sky during the course of the drawing & painting process, constantly reforming the objects & recasting the shadows & reflections - & the (inter)play of – as it did so.

As ever, one is engaged in The Struggle with the passage of time & the changing nature of the light source, even more so under such circumstances than with the fading light of dusk, the resulting watercolour being the record, a sum, of the sequence of decisions taken & revisions made during the process of observation & responsive mark-making in the endeavour to (re)present a cohesive, & coherent, study.

As might be expected, with the light flooding in to the scene & reflecting from various surfaces, the picture appears, at least in general, somewhat tonally lighter than the habitual results of such compositions.
The pale blue upper half of the picture plane (for once completed) acknowledges – celebrates! - the presence of the bright sky & thus, atypically, might suggest the existence of something, perhaps a sense of space, beyond the hermetic arena of the still life arrangement as habitually depicted: alternatively, as this wash ‘fills in’ the void that usually appears above the ‘spatial continuum’ of objects & grounds as drawn & painted, at least in this seasonal sequence of still lifes of the pears, thus forming a more familiar pictorial rectangle, it might build up the ‘wall’ behind the objects & consequently serve to close off any sense of recession into deeper & imaginative space!
Nothing is fixed or stable, either prevailing environmental conditions or meaning…


Lambchop 'Is a Woman'
& 'Damaged'

Another pair, this time of magnificent albums, perfect accompaniment to the Sunday morning drawing & painting process.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Light and Shade

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

Another watercolour that became increasingly dark in tone as the drawing & painting process extended into the waning of the day & thus the natural light, reacting to such changes & revising accordingly, the luminosity mostly lingering around the outlines of the objects & highlighting incidental textural details of, & also reflected from the surface of the pear onto a patch of the PVC-coated plane immediately behind, illuminating that which is seen contre jour & thus cast in shade, the observation of which provided the catalyst for the spatial composition as such, in an effort to represent the effect, The Struggle to preserve & give some form of permanence to that which is insubstantial, intangible, to capture light.


K-Punk 'The Metaphysics Of Crackle'
Low 'Secret Name'

There's something about 'The Metaphysics of Crackle', both as an experience itself & the concept generally, that inspires recourse to other music featuring the incorporation of such a sonic texture, as with the recent soundtrack appearance of Portishead & in this particular instance, & 'I Remember' opening 'Secret Name' in suitably crunchy fashion, before bursting into the enduring glory that is 'Starfire'.