Sunday, June 28, 2020

Breakout - nature escaping confinement

During the last few months, due to the restrictions caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus,  everyone's attention has been redirected inward. Our travel, our plans, our expectations have all been reduced along with our horizons. With my own attention being focused more upon what lay around me, close by, I found myself discovering surprising and wonderful situations that had previously gone almost unnoticed. I was driven to record some of the situations I was noticing and the results of these observations are beginning to accumulate and as they do I can take an overview and assess this growing body of data.

For the moment I see these as photographic notes but there is a possibility that I may rework each of the themes into a book / ebook in the future. 
I began collecting observations according to various themes: nature breaking free, fallen leaves, my own shadow...

The first theme I would like to present here I have called 'Breakout'. Nature is all-powerful, unstoppable and knows no bounds. For our own pleasure we habitually attempt to harness and control nature, but this control is short-lived. As I walked around the city I noticed many examples of nature breaking free from the artificial shackles that have held it temporarily secure. I tried to capture the moments when plants, trees or bushes decided enough was enough and broke out from their imprisonment. The examples you see below are the first few I captured photographically. I will continue the collection, posting on my Instagram account and post again here later once the book / ebook has been created.

Friday, June 19, 2020

International Drawing Dialogue Phase 3 - 2019-20 (Third Stage)

The third stage of the drawing dialogue project now draws to a close. This is the final exchange of the current iteration of the project and the four drawings I have just completed will head off to Europe, to the eventual exhibition venue(s).

For this stage I was responding to drawings initiated by Skye Williams in the UK and subsequently worked on by Andrea Thoma. As the third partner of this project it was my role to find a way to respond to what was happening within the drawings and to provide some kind of resolution as I would be the last artist to work on them. 

I had laid out the drawings so they could unroll and begin to suggest the way forward. The two layers worked well together but I could sense that something was needed to 'thread' the two approaches together. This plan became literal as I used gold pained paper thread to stitch the patches of black ink into the composition. To prevent the paper tearing I attached card 'washers' to the back surface and the paper thread was then inserted through these and glued to the paper support. 

Once I had stitched a number of these inked areas I felt that something else was required, similar in nature but not so physical. In this case I decided upon virtual threads of gold paint that performed a similar function to the main ones but in a lighter, more reserved way. The combination of real and virtual threads worked well I thought.

Work on the drawings had been held up for some time as Ho Chi Minh City entered a lock-down due to the COVID-19 situation. I had previously collected a variety of materials with which to experiment and, unfortunately, once I had worked out which combination of technique and material would be the most successful I discovered that the shops supplying these items had already closed. Public transport also ceased, meaning I had to bide my time until things started moving again in the city before resuming work. 

The drawings will now be sent to the UK to join all the other assembled work in this year's drawing dialogue project. Together with the other artists participating in the project I am hopeful that an exhibition venue can be found soon. Despite the interruptions to the creative process, I enjoyed working on these drawings very much and I look forward to seeing what the other participants have come up with.

Drawing 1: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick

Drawing 2: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick

Drawing 3: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick 

Drawing 4: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick

Once the exhibition venues have been confirmed I will post again with details of these and I also plan to post an overview of the entire Drawing Dialogue 3 project.