Saturday, August 17, 2019

Layer Drawing Project

The development of work can be a logical process, progressing in a methodical linear way as ideas are unraveled and understood. This would continue in a similar fashion if attention is focused on the journey and what the direction of the next step should be.

My own experience, however, is a lot more chaotic, messy and unruly but no less enjoyable or, importantly, productive.

I have developed an approach in which, at almost every stage, there are multiple possibilities, possible directions, appropriate decisions and therefore solutions. There is, of course, a central element that does progress, develop and arrive a resolution but in addition to these multiple starting points or as I see them, possible 'threads' that can be returned to in the future and then investigated more thoroughly.

The most efficient way to keep track of all these possible threads is to have notebooks around in which to record the alternative ideas so that they may be taken up later. Without these notes many of the additional ideas may be forgotten and never taken up. What waste that is.

When initiating a series of drawings as participation in the Drawing Dialogue 2 project, I started 4 drawings by covering part of a sheet off paper in marks that resembled either 'scribbles' or unknown calligraphic characters, depending on one's attitude. Theses drawings of mine were then worked on by two other partners in the project until a final resolution was reached.

Later, I thought back to these initiatory drawings as I wished to investigate the method a little further than I had at the time. I began laying down these proto calligraphic marks using a light HB pencil and then worked on top of them with a darker pencil, B or perhaps 2B. I was attracted to the effect of having multiple layers of marks of varying intensity and boldness. The resulting image resembled a kind of palimpsest in which marks from the different layers could be read intermittently through the various layers. I tried making some drawings in one of my notebooks, initially as a solid block of marks but then trying leave part of the drawing with some of the marks but with not all the layers superimposed one on another. With each drawing the section that was not covered by all the layers was laid out formally so the number of layers put down could be easily detected simply by counting them as they were revealed in the more open section. For convenience, and for want of a better term I simply called these works 'Layer Drawings'.

It is important to remember that this was not my primary project and so the work on the drawings was done sporadically, whenever I had some free time and whenever I remembered to return to the drawings. I was also working on a journal article, a conference poster, several performances, a photographic project and a sculpture. I juggled these projects according to relevant deadlines and so some of these projects are still unfinished (especially the ones without a firm deadline).

Up to this moment (17 August 2019) there are 5 configurations of the 'Layer Drawing' approach recorded in my notebooks and one that has been realised on a slightly larger sheet of paper that was made to investigate how the drawn marks, and the experience of making them, change as the scale is increased.

In future I shall post further updates to this project which runs in the background to my other work.

First, the 5 A5 notebook images:

July 2018

August 2018

September 2018

September 2018

August 2019

...and here is the slightly larger (43cm(h) x 32.5cm(w)) experiment:

October 2018

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