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…