Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Empty Vessels

A slight departure here, in using watercolour more for the rendering of the sort of effects of light & transparency to which it more naturally lends itself as a medium.
In terms of subject matter, we find ourselves taking a break from road surfaces & 'roadkill' too, although in the case of the latter it's still a still life composition of objects which also, of course, happen to be empty product packaging, gradually relieved of their contents during the course of yesterday evening, their pleasingly colourful potential for being pressed into modelling service then appreciated this morning (in those moments whilst waiting for the kettle to boil for the first cup of tea of the day), lined up ready for the recycling boxes.

graphite & watercolour/20x30cm


Elliott Smith 'From a Basement on the Hill'
Galaxie 500 'On Fire'
Sigur Ros 'Takk'

...& the mighty Mark Mulcahy's lovely 'Fathering' whilst blogging, via Last FM.

On the Road Again #5 (with Roadkill)

watercolour & torn paper collage/30x20cm

In common with the previous example, this watercolour representation/re-mediation* of photographic evidence of local tarmac road surfaces with their ‘double black lines’ markings (‘correctively’ repainted over original yellow, then subsequently repainted again) attempts to construct as dense a surface as possible whilst maintaining a sense &, indeed, physical record of the process of that surface’s facture, of the individual brushstrokes that have gone into its making, touch by touch, layer by layer (multiple ones of Ivory Black & Payne’s Grey, then finished with tints of various greens, & turquoise over the lines), in the interests of establishing some form of surface/depth formal dialogue: this resultingly appears as the most solid construction yet, its depths less watery than previously, less ambiguous somehow, which might not necessarily be for the best. The lines themselves are collaged torn strips of paper, applied in layers in keeping with the nature of the actual road surface as found & photographed (i.e. the 3 layers of yellow then black over black), serving to both provide an element of linear 'drawing' & physical texture, a low-relief 'object quality' to the painting-image.

* I remain greatly intrigued by Michael Bracewell's catalogue essay notion of Richard Forster's drawings of the sea, made from original photographic sources, "own(ing) the dense aesthetic values of re-mediation", & wonder if there might one day be any mileage in exploring the matter theoretically, in an appropriately academic, supportive environment, relating to my own practice.
(Note: this idea & matter was first mentioned on March 1st last year...glacially slow is how we do things - or rather, consider doing things, possibly - around here).

A post-painting trip outdoors subsequently resulted in a fabulous couple of finds, duly photographed, of TOoT's familiar subject/object matter 'roadkill' occurring just so, upon, alongside, a pair of instances of the now legendary local 'double black lines', indeed one following the other sequentially in close proximity.
In suitably art-historical fashion, note the discarded cigarette butt, a la Jackson Pollock, adjacent to the flattened can, (embedded) within this particular 'all-over' mostly-monochrome picture plane...(are the photographs themselves 'art'? Well, if one sees them, &/or what they, framed as an image & mechanically captured as such, depict, then perhaps so, or at least the possibility might exist that such could be considered within the context of art..Is the 'work' of art sufficient to have perceived the potential for something - some scene, some combination of formal elements that relate 'art-historically', & then clicked a shutter button to illustrate such potential - to be, or considered as being?)...

A second such example was then to be found but yards further along, literally on the way around the corner, an interesting occurrence of curves (& also other painted road markings, for a more complex pictorial composition)...

There were also a fine couple of physically 'litter-picked' finds in the 'roadkill' cans department, too, suitably reformed for being processed into drawing: a most purposeful Sunday morning's potter...


Scritti Politti 'White Bread Black Beer'
Belle & Sebastian 'Tigermilk'
The Beatles 'Revolver'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jeremy & Me...

Now here's a little something that caught my (magpie) eye in today's Guardian G2 section, as well it might given the image the article is illustrated with, being by no means a million miles away from the familiar 'roadkill' subject/object matter as processed into numerous drawings over the past year...

Whilst the 'roadkill' diptych series of drawings seeks to promote no especial agenda or critically comment upon 'The Litter Problem' as raised in Mr Paxman's article, still some form of unspoken dialogue might occur between the work & the viewer if consideration is made of the source of such 'found' subject/object matter, the instances of which - discerningly chosen ('litter-picked', in a form of self-serving civic duty) from the wealth of discarded items of packaging available as encountered as a matter of course when- & wherever one might be walking - thus constitute the merest tip of a vast & all-too-visible (& ever-mounting) iceberg of evidence of generally anti-social public behaviour (which yet, of course, provides me with tangible grist to the creative mill...).

Interesting to note that Coca-Cola is the percentage 'market leader' in this issue, as I suspect it's the brand to have featured most often in the drawings, although this might have at least as much to do with the art-historical references the name readily provides as incidence of 'findings'.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Surface/Depth (On the Road Again #4)

watercolour & torn paper collage/30x20cm

In the manner of the previous example, this 'black', 'antithetical' watercolour endeavours to construct a denser surface yet, deeper in tone, but one that still allows an appreciation of the complexity of its facture & the process of such through the preservation as much as possible of the individual marks & layers of its making, in order that such a surface/depth formal dialogue might be set up & encourage a more intense study.

Again referencing & representing (thus 'remediating') photographs of local tarmac road surfaces & their double black line (over yellow) markings, the ground of the painting on this occasion began with layers of Ivory Black, then overlaid with numerous ones of Payne's Grey (the tendency towards blue of which brings out the complementary brown in the black) before final surface touches of mossy Olive Green, Veridian, Prussian Blue & Raw Umber, a range of tints discernible to varying degrees upon & in the tarmac as observed & photographed. The collaged strips of the lines are multi-layered Payne's Grey with a surface wash of turquoise.


Moon Wiring Club 'Striped Paint for the Last Post' & 'A Field Full of Sunken Horses'
Jesus & Mary Chain 'Darklands'

Impossible not to submit to the urge to give 'Darklands' a spin under the circs...

Monday, February 22, 2010

'Found Drawings'

A glance out of the window at 7.50ish a.m. gave cause to disrupt the finely-calibrated getting-out-to-work routine (a monstrously uncivilized & soul-corroding activity) this morning, but the drawing of vapour trails to be observed in the cool blue sky was simply too good an example not to capture, thus...

then tracking the progress of one of the lines-in-motion, the drawing further unfurling before one's eyes/camera lens...

More examples of such 'found drawings' as networks of vapour trails can be observed on Page 1 of the found drawings resource on Loughborough University's TRACEY contemporary drawing research website.
Jazz Green, as mentioned previously, also has photographic work, in the manner of her 'found paintings', featured at this very same location.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the Road Again #3

watercolour & torn paper collage/30x20cm

This third recent example of images processed from the source material of photographs of local road surfaces & their ‘double black lines’ markings features a foray into the medium of watercolour.
There might appear to be a certain perverse irony in using watercolour – perhaps more often associated with luminosity & effects of atmospheric airiness – to create a dense ‘black’ (it’s actually Payne’s Grey) overall surface (seemingly something of a negation, as the double black painted lines are a corrective negation of the originally-applied double yellows: but then consider some of Cezanne's watercolours & the richness of the colours & tones created through repeated overlaid strokes to construct some of the forms therein), but the medium lends itself particularly well to a (quick-drying) layering technique composed of individual touches-marks from which it becomes possible to achieve such an explicitly built-up result, to be subsequently overlaid with further glazes of colour which themselves afford a representation of the numerous subtle colour inflections to be found upon/within such apparently monochrome subject matter as the road surface with its double black lines.

This latter aspect also allows one to recall a first-hand study of Ad Reinhardt’s ‘Abstract Painting’ of 1960-66 (as featured in an exhibition of Abstract Expressionist painting at Tate Liverpool in the earlier 90s), apparently essentially a black square upon initial approach & engagement with, but then gradually revealing itself & its design to be subtly composed of also the deepest red, blue & green.


Moon Wiring Club 'Striped Paint for the Last Post'
Hanne Hukkelberg 'Rykestrasse 68'

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On the Road Again #2

graphite & torn paper collage/30x20cm

Being the second drawing sourced from the photographic evidence of local road surfaces, the graphite mark-making representing the tarmac texture in this instance being on a smaller scale than the previous example. Again, the collaged torn paper strips representing the ‘double black lines’ (over original yellow) markings add an element of linear ‘drawing’.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the Road Again #1

graphite & torn paper collage/30x20cm

Expanding the field of vision from the focus & intense concentration upon the subject matter of the ‘roadkill’ cans, this particular drawing is based on a return to the source at which such objects are found, i.e. the tarmac road surfaces &, more particularly, those local examples that feature the ‘double black lines’ markings, captured in photographic form & posted on various occasions over the past four years (including a few recent examples, featuring ‘roadkill’ as found in situ).
Rather than reference a specific photograph(s) as a model (as might the desert or lunar surface drawings of Vija Celmins, for instance), the drawing serves as a more general exploration of the road surfaces, also featuring such physical aspects as occur in the form of other painted marks & drainage grids, for example.

Employing the familiar form of overlaid broad mark-making to the ground, the torn edges of the collaged paper strips – which also provide an element of three-dimensional, low relief texture to the picture surface, themselves being overlaid in the manner of the correctively-painted black-over-yellow of the source – supply an additional aspect of linear ‘drawing’.


Jesca Hoop 'Kismet'

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Boddies Transformed...

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour/30x20cm

This drawing-as-processed features as its subject/object matter the flipside of the found 'roadkill' can drawn immediately previously.

There's something about the overall grey & distressed, degraded off-yellow (with accents of rust) colour scheme of the object-within-the drawing-plane that particularly recalls many an example of 'Hermetic' Cubist painting, this then reinforced by the triangular form (although inverted from the archetypal predominant Cubist design), the folded, overlapping planes (with, too, the occasional curve sensualizing the 'intellectual' hard-edged geometry) & the incidence of synechdochal fragments of branded lettering & design (see Braque's 'Le Portugais', as used to contextualize the drawing a couple of posts previously, physically down the page or linked here).


Moon Wiring Club
'Asda: the Music'
, 'A Field Full of Sunken Horses' EP,
'An Audience of Art Deco Eyes' & 'Shoes Off and Chairs Away'

A veritable Moon Wiring Club extravaganza to accompany the drawing process over the course of this particular instance, inspired by blissblog's flagging of & links to the generous freebies available via The Wire, in the form of a new MWC 4-track MP3 EP & a fabulous 'mix tape' featuring all manner of electronica & found 'nostalgic' sound clips, wonderfully creatively juxtaposed, the latter of which comes accompanied by its very own expertly-realised 'period' artwork. If all this weren't enough, further evidence of Mr Ian Hodgson's (for it is he) all-encompassing aesthetic & all-round genius is provided by a picture gallery featuring a short series of new book cover illustrated designs, with written explanation, in the finest traditions of this area of the artist's activity: treat yourself to & treasure these delightful gifts without further ado.

By way of one of those strange but deliciously serendipitous coincidences, following on but barely a week after the posting of the Moon Wiring Club 'ASDA' music mix, what should lead the 12th Feb edition of The Guardian's 'Film & Music' section but this article on the subject of the phenomenon of 'supermarket radio' stations, with particular reference to none other than Asda FM (in-store & also available online - how appropriate & convenient is that to expand the cyber-shopping experience)!
How wonderful might it be to shop along to MWC's mix, though...(with thoughts that the sometimes unsettling nature of events &, indeed, the generally spooky air of proceedings, might be likely to curdle the dairy products, or something!).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Silver and Gold...

Well, almost...& albeit of a rather tarnished nature, too.

Another rather slowly-processed drawing from the familiar subject/object matter of found aluminium can 'roadkill', this example of 'Readymade Cubism' again compressed, folded & shaped into a reformed planar condition that allows various individual 'sides' of the original, more familiarly three-dimensional object to be viewed simultaneously...

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour/30x20cm


The Magnetic Fields '69 Love Songs'
The Smiths 'Meat is Murder'
Luna 'Best of'

Well of course the week leading up to Valentine's Day is rather appropriate as an excuse for the purpose of excavating The Magnetic Fields' many-splendored, all-encompassing '69 Love Songs' for a long overdue listen, a veritable variety show indeed, a musical & lyrical feast, where many stylistic (archly knowing) homages-pastiches stand up as wonderful songs in their own right: an indispensible classic.

Speaking of which, an article in The Times yesterday confirmed a recent vague suspicion that the mighty & magnificent (enduringly: confirmed) 'Meat is Murder' must have been approaching somewhere near 25 years old, sooner this year rather than later (released, it transpires, rather deliciously, on Valentine's Day)...bloomin' 'eck, where did all that time go?!
Noteworthy also that even a brief perusal of a selection of the online comments posted in response to the article reveals the familiar polarization of opinion that The Smiths, & Mr Morrissey, never fail to inspire, continuing to generate debate as, indeed, great art should.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

'Roadkill' in the Slow Lane...

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour/30x20cm

'Slow' being the operative word this past week, with this particular drawing having been processed over an unintentionally extended period of eight days (four of which were 'actively involved'), given the constraints of time, the available portion of which was compromised further & considerably by the dismal conditions of the seasonal gloom, which could seldom be described as anything approaching the clarity of (natural, day-)'light': let it be over soon, please...

The found, 'Readymade Cubist' object/subject matter itself, kindly & irresistibly offering a neat, branded summation of & critical commentary upon the usual art-ramblings herein, rather suggested, when inverted, formal associations with numerous 'Hermetic' Cubist compositions, discernibly tending towards the dominant triangular, such as in the following example:

Georges Braque 'Le Portugais'
oil on canvas, 117x82cm/1911

(note the purely coincidental - but most serendipitous - visual & phonic echoes of Braque's synechdochal fragment of stencilled lettering 'BAL' with the word 'Bull' branded upon the object in the drawing, which reads as the latter half of its named, familiar identity.
Also how the nature of the marks forming the ground of the drawing - half of them erased as far as possible to the physical state of remaining traces, in the now-habitual manner of such diptychs, of course - might be said/seen to echo Braque's graphic sign to represent the idea of 'guitar strings' in his composition.
Furthermore, the darker tonal areas of the design upon the surface of the object might suggest similarities with such in the painting, as indeed might the incidence of silvery surface highlights...)


Low 'The Great Destroyer'
Jesca Hoop 'Kismet'
Manitoba 'Up in Flames'
& 'Start Breaking My Heart'
Mazzy Star 'So Tonight That I Might See'
Sparklehorse 'Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot'