After five months of contemplation and silence since finishing a masters, I decided to continue the Transart tradition of a monthly blog post. A digital visual diary that not only follows the development of my work but also acts as a platform to articulate ideas and thoughts as they arise throughout the process.
Since finishing the MFA in August(2018) I have completed a few new works and also spent much time filling in applications to various organisations, potential residencies and competitions.
I was not entirely happy with the work I presented in Berlin, for many different reasons. However, this has given me an opportunity to reflect on the entire process of the MFA and the outcomes that developed over the two years rather than focusing on the conclusion. I was happy with the experimentation of drawing and some of the work that came out of the exploration. Regarding how this work is presented needs requires deeper reflection.
What I have been contemplating is the idea of bringing together the drawing techniques of light and charcoal that I explored during the MFA with my metalsmith background. There have been many people, both past and present, who draw directly onto metal which is not something that I am interested in. I am more interested in incorporating metal into the drawing rather than the other way around. An artist that has done something along these lines is Manfred Bischoff - a German metalsmith who sadly passed away in 2015.
There are similarities with Cy Twombly in Bischofff’s work. However, Bischoff is figurative in his approach whereas I plan on being more abstract, especially with the metal component of the drawing. Also, all of Bischoff’s work is wearable which I am not entirely concerned with unless it somehow adds to the work by taking it off the drawing and onto the body. I am glad that I spent two years of the MFA exploring drawing as a single process and now it feels right to bring the two areas of knowledge together. I am contemplating pouring molten metal onto paper which will burn the paper but may lead to something interesting. We will see…
In the meantime, the following works are a series of drawings I finished just before leaving for Berlin. They are charcoal drawings capturing the last glimpse of light before 18 hours of darkness. This was something that became very familiar during my time in Iceland. I have since started a large scale version of this subject matter which is still in progress.
During the Residency in Berlin I attended a walking workshop with Herman Mendolicchio -WALKING PRACTICES AND CYCLIC JOURNEYS: ENTERING THE WOOD. I started thinking about the pinhole light drawings and the idea of having more paper removed than what is left behind. Like a leaf decomposing on the forest floor. This idea led to the following work:
After a mindful walk through the Grunewald Forest on the outskirts of Berlin, we were asked to document the walk. The drawing above was completed while still in the forest. During the walk, I was thinking about perspective and imagining the aerial view while looking at the decomposing ground cover.
This is the aerial view from memory; an attempt to recall the paths that traversed the forest as we moved through the space.
While walking, I started thinking about the pinhole light drawings and the idea of removing more paper than what is left behind. When I got home after the walk, I started to play with this idea. However, when I tried to push as many holes as I could into the paper, I found that the paper could be moved and manipulated into a 3dimensional form of drawing - like an undulating landscape (above).
I was working on the thick watercolour paper as that was all I had on me for the walk. I had not thought to use this type of paper for a light drawing before, and the quality in the paper that allowed it to be manipulated in this way was an interesting surprise.
The two drawings side by side
These drawings lead to the following drawing that I completed once back in the studio. The larger scale along with the white tones and shadows of the drawing takes me back to frozen Icelandic landscapes.